The Intensive English Institute (IEI) is a nationally accredited English language program designed to help international students meet English language proficiency and gain knowledge of US culture necessary for success in academic coursework at Ball State. The IEI has taught English to non-native speakers for more than 25 years. This page answers frequently asked questions about the IEI. The IEI will be happy to answer any questions you have.



If you are interested in improving their English language proficiency without continuing onto undergraduate or graduate programs, you can apply to the IEI only. Here are the instructions for applying to IEI only (PDF).

Conditional admission at Ball State is granted to international students who do not meet the university’s English language proficiency requirement. It is designed for students who have not taken an accepted English language proficiency exam but would still like to apply. Conditional admission is also available for students who have taken these tests but do not have scores that meet the minimum admission requirements. If students are offered conditional admission, they will be required to complete the Intensive English Institute program or meet the English language proficiency requirements before receiving full admission and attending academic courses. Please note that not all programs of study at Ball State offer conditional admission.

The IEI Academic Bridge Program allows international students who have English proficiency scores slightly lower than the minimum requirement to begin taking academic classes while studying part time in the final level of the IEI. Students must have conditional admission to an academic program in order to qualify for admission into the IEI Academic Bridge Program. See English language proficiency policies for current English language proficiency scores. See the IEI Student handbook (PDF) for more information about Academic Bridge policies. When you apply for conditional admission, the admission team will evaluate your English language proficiency test scores to determine if you are eligible for the Academic Bridge Program.

To apply for conditional admission, complete the online application for undergraduate or graduate programs and submit scores from an accepted English language proficiency test. If your scores do not meet our minimum requirements or if you do not submit scores, we will automatically consider you for conditional admission. Not all programs of study allow for conditional admission. Please check with your program of interest to confirm if they allow for conditional admission (PDF).

Conditional admission letters are issued by International Admissions or the Graduate School. The letter will include your prospective major or graduate program at Ball State and the conditions that must be met before receiving full admission.

Yes. Students offered IEI-only admission or conditional admission will be issued an I-20 form to attend the Intensive English Institute. The level of education on the I-20 will be listed as “Language Training” and the major as “Second Language Learning.” Information about conditional admission will be noted in the SEVIS system and in the remarks section of the I-20 form.

When you meet Ball State’s English proficiency requirement by either completing level 6 of the Intensive English Institute or submitting an acceptable English language proficiency score from an accepted test, you will be issued an updated letter of admission. You will also receive an updated I-20 form based upon your change of academic level from language training to your undergraduate or graduate program of study.

You must begin your academic program at the next available start term as listed on your letter of full admission, which must be within 5 months of completing your full-time IEI courses. If you are unable to begin your study within 5 months of receiving full admission, you should meet with an International Student Advisor in the Rinker Center for Global Affairs to speak about how this may impact your F-1 student visa status.

This is possible, but students need to contact the Rinker Center for Global Affairs in order to ensure that they maintain their visa status. If a student misses two consecutive sessions (except during summer), the student will be required to take the IEI placement exam again.

After being admitted into the IEI, students will take a placement test. After assessing students’ language skills, they are placed in an appropriate level in the IEI. During the first week of class, faculty may recommend changes to a student’s placement depending on further evaluation.

Yes, the IEI Student Handbook (PDF) outlines the processes for change of level and grade appeal.

No. Class lists are carefully put together after considering a number of pedagogical factors, so requests for changing sections are not considered.

The IEI program provides intensive English instruction for non-native speakers of English. It includes an innovative project-based curriculum taught by world-class teachers who have at least a master’s degree in English as a second language or equivalent. The program focuses on immersion in American culture and provides an opportunity to interact and communicate with Ball State students. All IEI classes are located at Ball State, and IEI students are full members of the Ball State community. The program provides seven-week sessions of instruction for all levels of English proficiency. The length of the IEI program is different for each student based upon their current English language proficiency as well as the speed of the student’s progression. New students can start August, October, January, or March. Every new student takes a placement exam and is placed into one of IEI’s six levels. The beginning level is level 1, and the final level is level 6.

Compared to universities in large metropolitan cities, the Ball State IEI provides a world-class education at an affordable cost. The cost of attending IEI courses at Ball State is less than the cost of attending academic courses. According to, Muncie, Indiana's cost of living is 28 percent lower than the national average.

Costs are estimated and are subject to change without notice:

Costs Academic Year One Semester
Tuition and Fees $19,126 $9,563
Living Expenses $7,538 $3,769
Books/Insurance $5,598  $2,799
TOTAL $32,262 $16,131

The IEI’s primary goal is to prepare students for academic success in the United States. As a result, each course is designed to teach students a set of learning outcomes which build the language and strategic and cultural competencies necessary to succeed in the American university setting. Instructors utilize a variety of methodologies and technologies to design interesting and effective classroom interactions.

Most classes in the IEI have about 10-15 students. We intentionally keep the class size small to enhance student participation and classroom interaction.

Everything a student does in and with English is preparation for performing well in the American university setting. This should translate into higher scores on the TOEFL or IELTS. It is important to note, however, that success on the TOEFL or IELTS requires additional understanding of the test design and effective test taking strategies. The IEI is not designed to prepare students for those components of the TOEFL or IELTS exam.

The IEI offers six levels of English language instruction. Students can enter the program at any level, 1 through 6, depending on their English language proficiency. Also, they can move at any rate through these levels, or even skip levels, depending on how their English proficiency develops. It should be noted that students who do not pass a level will have to repeat that level. As a result, if students do not pass one or more levels, it will take them longer to finish, and this fact may affect whether their scholarships continue (if they are scholarship students). For example, if a student places into level 3 and passes all his courses, he can finish the program in 4 sessions, or 2 semesters. However, if a student places into level 1, does not skip a level and does not fail, the student will need to study in the IEI for a year and a half. Generally, it takes one to two years to complete IEI studies. Serious and hard-working students who participate fully in class work and the broader university community improve their English language proficiency quickly.

BSU has a specific procedure for missing class due to a religious holiday. Students must contact each instructor to explain the reason for missing class and to receive information that they might miss during their absence. Instructors in the IEI are sensitive to the diverse cultural and religious backgrounds of their students and may accommodate special circumstances that might arise.

Yes, you may. However, in the United States the educational records of an individual cannot legally be shared with anyone else without that individual’s signed consent. This law is called “FERPA”. Educational records include information about that person’s coursework, grades, and general academic progress. If you would like a relative or friend to accompany you to any academic meeting with an advisor, instructor, or administrator, you will both be asked to sign a FERPA form. This form indicates that you give this person permission to know about the subject being discussed. This is also necessary if you are being aided by a translator or if you would like someone to pick up your grade report on your behalf.

Learn more about FERPA

Yes. International students may live in residence halls (dormitories). Note that married students are not eligible to live in residence halls. Conditionally admitted international students who apply for the residence halls (dormitories) would automatically be eligible for double rooms. Housing for international students is located in Studebaker East, and it is open during university break periods (Thanksgiving break, semester break, and spring break). International students may have an opportunity to upgrade their room at a higher price based on availability.


Yes. As the Intensive English Institute is a unit of Ball State, you will be offered all of the privileges of being a Ball State student. This includes access to university events, the library, Recreation and Health Centers, and all of the dining facilities on campus. You will experience the full Ball State campus life while attending the Intensive English Institute.

Have Questions?

Contact the Intensive English Institute so we can help.