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International Students

International Admissions FAQs

International students frequently ask these questions about admission to Mercer County Community College. To read the answer, simply click on the question.

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What does Mercer County Community College offer?

Mercer County Community College (MCCC) is a two-year co-educational college located in central New Jersey. The school is approved by the United States Department of Education. It is fully accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and authorized by the New Jersey Board of Higher Education to award the associate degree. The college is authorized by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to enroll F-1 international students.

Academic programs include both transfer and career programs. Transfer programs offer the Associate in Arts, Associate in Science or Associate in Fine Arts degrees and prepare graduates for entry into programs of study at four-year colleges. Career programs offer the Associate in Applied Science degree and prepare graduates for employment in professional fields.

The academic calendar consists of two 15-week semesters and two 6-week summer sessions. The College has nearly 1200 course offerings each semester in more than 80 degree and credit certificate programs of study.

Mercer operates an urban and suburban campus. The James Kerney Campus is located in the center of Trenton, the capital city of New Jersey. The 292-acre West Windsor Campus, adjacent to a beautiful public park, is located six and one-half miles north of Trenton.

Mercer's student population of about 11,000 represents a wide range of ages, nationalities and ethnic groups. A growing international enrollment has brought hundreds of students from different countries to the college in recent years. Two hundred F-1 international students study at Mercer each semester. These students enrich the cultural diversity of the college and add an international dimension to campus life. Our international students excel in their studies, participate in campus activities and clubs and contribute to the success of our championship athletic teams!

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How do I apply for admission?

As an international student, you must satisfy specific requirements to be considered for admission to Mercer County Community College. The required documents should be submitted to the International Student Services Office with a minimum of 10 weeks before each semester begins.

This time allows us to process the I-20 form and gives you sufficient time for the visa application, travel plans and arrival in the United States. Upon successful completion of all the admissions requirements, a letter of acceptance to the college, your I-20 and pre-arrival information will be mailed to you.

All documents must be in English. While we are aware of the difficulties you may encounter in providing certain information, we urge you to cooperate in sending all credentials as soon as possible.

It is your responsibility to read and understand this information prior to admission. Where appropriate, the requirements must be fulfilled and documented by you. We recommend that you photocopy for your personal files all papers sent the college.

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How will I be notified if I am accepted to Mercer?

International applicants who fulfill all of the admissions requirements will receive a letter of acceptance, an I-20 form, and pre-arrival information. You must take Form I-20 to the American embassy or consulate when you apply for an F-1 (student) visa.

If you are transferring to Mercer from another college in the U.S., you are required by the USCIS to notify your international student advisor of your departure and to report to the International Student Services office at MCCC prior to registering for classes.

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How can I transfer credits from another college or university?

If you have completed college or university courses in another college in the United States or in your home country, the courses and credits may apply to your degree program at Mercer County Community College (MCCC). Courses taken in your home country must be evaluated before they can be transferred to MCCC.

For more information contact the International Student Services office at international@mccc.edu.

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What immigration regulations affect F-1 students?

The USCIS issues strict guidelines to be followed by F-1 international students studying in the United States. It is the student's responsibility to be aware of and abide by these regulations. In accordance with these regulations, all F-1 students must meet certain obligations in order to maintain status. The student must:

  • attend the school he/she was authorized to attend
  • continue to carry a full course of study (12 or more credits each semester)
  • refrain from off-campus employment without authorization
  • limit on-campus employment to 20 hours per week while school is in session
  • follow certain procedures for filing an extension of program of study
  • have a passport that is kept valid at all times
  • not enroll in more than one online or distant education course per semester.

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When do I receive my visa, and when can I travel to the U.S.?

Detailed instructions on obtaining an F-1 (student) visa and traveling to the United States will be sent to all accepted international students.

Do not enter the U.S. without a visa. Although citizens of certain countries are allowed to enter the U.S. for a short visit under the Visa Waiver Pilot Program, entry without a visa restricts you to staying in the U.S. for 90 days only.

You cannot change to F-1 student status when you have entered the U.S. without a visa.

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How do I change my immigration status?

When your original purpose for remaining in the U.S. has changed to studying full-time for a degree, you will need to request a change to F-1 status from the USCIS. The International Student Services office can assist you in the change of status application, but the USCIS makes the decision to approve or not approve your request.

For more information contact the International Student Services office at international@mccc.edu.

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What tuition do I qualify for? Can I apply for scholarships or financial aid?

All F-1 visa holders are admitted to the United States in a temporary, non-resident status. They are required by the USCIS to maintain a permanent residence abroad as a condition of entering and studying in the United States. They are not eligible to establish a permanent residence in New Jersey and are, therefore, charged the out-of-state tuition.

Financial aid is not available to F-1 visa status holders.

The Finaid (www.finaid.org) and Fastweb (www.fastweb.com) websites provide information on sources of funding or scholarships for international students.

Most grants, scholarships and loans from public and private sources are restricted to U.S. citizens. Some countries provide financial assistance to their citizens for study in the United States. There may also be private organizations in your country that provide support for study in the U.S.

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Can I bring my spouse and children?

If you are married and plan to bring dependents with you to the United States, you must be able to support them fully. You must submit financial certification for your spouse and each child. The spouse and children of an F-1 student are not permitted to pursue any degree program during their entire stay in the United States. They may enroll in English classes. See detailed instructions on submitting financial certification in the International Admissions Application packet.

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Can I seek employment while I study?

In making the financial arrangements for your stay at Mercer, you must also realize that you cannot expect to work after your arrival. Employment is severely restricted for non-immigrants.

As an F-1 student, you are not eligible for off-campus employment authorization during your first academic year (two regular semesters). After one academic year, eligible F-1 students can apply to the USCIS for off-campus employment authorization with the guidance and assistance of the Coordinator of International Student Services.

Employment in the U.S. may not be intended as a means for financial support. Unauthorized employment is grounds for deportation.

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Must I have health insurance?

The United States does not have socialized medicine. International students are required to purchase medical insurance at the time of registration and to maintain coverage throughout their enrollment at Mercer. Applications for medical insurance plans for international visitors offered by several U.S. insurance companies are available from the Coordinator of International Student Services. It is strongly recommended, however, that students purchase health insurance in their home countries before traveling to Mercer that will provide initial coverage upon arrival.

Here are some companies that offer comprehensive insurance:

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How can the International Student Services office help me?

The International Student Services office at Mercer assists students with immigration, academic, cultural adjustment or personal concerns and serves as a referral source to other college services and community resources. Special events, workshops, and programs are planned for international students. For more information contact the International Student Services office at 609-586-4800 ext. 3531 or e-mail international@mccc.edu.

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How can I order the course catalog?

The Mercer County Community College (MCCC) course catalog is mailed overseas for a $15 mailing fee. Send a check or money order payable to MCCC to the International Student Services office at this address. International students can also obtain the catalog upon arrival at the college. You may also view and download the college catalog from this website.

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What must I do when I arrive at the college?

When you arrive in the United States, please make these two calls.

  1. Call to arrange an appointment with the International Student advisor. The telephone number is 609-586-4800, ext. 3531. The fax number is 609-890-0471.
  2. Call to ask about the schedule for on-campus English placement tests.
    • If English is your native language, check the schedule for the college skills placement test, or call the Testing Center at 609-586-4800 ext. 3295.
    • If English is your second language (ESL), call the International Student Services office to schedule your ESL placement test, at 609-586-4800 ext. 3531.

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What will I learn during the orientation?

An orientation program to introduce new international students to the college is held during the week before classes begin each semester. During the orientation program you will meet faculty and staff members who provide special services for international students, members of the International Student Organization and fellow international students. An invitation to this program is sent with your acceptance letter and I-20.

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Where can I live?

Mercer County Community College does not have housing on campus. The Student Activities Office can provide you with a list of available room and apartment rentals near the college, but you will be responsible for obtaining your own accommodations.

Call the Student Acitivities office at 609-586-4800 ext. 3435 for current information on the college's housing bulletin board.

To get an idea about the monthly rent and availability of housing, check the classified advertisements for apartment rentals in the Mercer County area at this website: www.nj.com

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