International Student Resources and Experience

Becoming an International Student in the USA

The United States has the world's largest international student population.1 Over one million students have chosen to further their education and life experience at a U.S. college or university.2 Grand Canyon University (GCU) has grown with Phoenix to become one of the nation's premier private universities.

We understand adjusting to a new culture, language and academic system can be emotionally challenging for international students. Therefore, GCU is prepared to walk side-by-side with you as you overcome possible cultural shock, manage new expectations and find your sense of belonging, all of which can impact your emotional well-being.

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Arizona is positioned among the leading 20 university locations preferred by international students.3

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Start Your International Student Journey at GCU

GCU has been embracing different cultures for over 70 years. We encourage and motivate our students to share their individual perspectives, so they can become global contributors. GCU international students come from many countries such as Nigeria, Canada, India, Turkey, Australia, China, Spain, Taiwan, Japan, Sri Lanka, United Kingdom and Vietnam.1 The college is allowed by federal law to accept nonimmigrant students with an F-1 Student Visa.

An analysis of student visa data indicates that 1,159,798 international students were studying at American colleges and universities in 2020.1 Studying abroad is a great way to expand your horizons and gain life experiences. GCU offers an international student program that can help you achieve these goals.

GCU offers full-time F-1 Visa student options. Our International Student Office and university counselors can help guide you through the enrollment process. Here is some helpful information:



To attend college as an international student in the U.S., you must obtain an F-1 Visa prior to arriving in this country. For more information about applying for a visa, visit the U.S. Department of State website. Be sure to inform GCU when your visa has arrived.

When you enter this country as an international student, you must have your passport and F-1 Visa (Canadian students excepted). For more information about entering the U.S., visit the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement website.

If you are currently an F-1 student at another U.S. educational institution, GCU university counselors can assist you with the transfer process in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) following your acceptance at GCU.

At GCU, a private education is also an affordable one. We are also pleased to offer meal plans and housing for GCU international students. Learn more about financing options for tuition and costs of attendance for international students.

Students With Foreign Credentials

As part of our initiative to academically prepare global contributors, GCU invites qualified students, who have completed their prior education outside of the U.S., to apply to GCU. When you enroll, you join our community of students who value relevant degree programs that emphasize Christian ethics.

If you have completed secondary school, or if you have attended college, university or technical school outside the U.S. or U.S. protectorate (Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, Northern Marianas Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia), you may be qualified to attend GCU as a student with foreign credentials.

GCU serves thousands of students from numerous countries in a variety of degree programs. To serve them, we have student services counselors dedicated to understanding the needs of students with foreign credentials, as well as pre-established services to ensure that all non-U.S. students’ past educational experiences integrate into our academic environment.



Foreign Credentials Services of America (FCSA) performs professional evaluations to determine if students’ educational experience meets GCU’s enrollment standards. The evaluation request must originate from GCU.

Foundation for International Services (FIS) performs evaluation and translation services for students. In order for test results to be accepted as enrollment credentials, the service request must originate from GCU.

Berlitz Language Evaluation or Duolingo for students who must pass an English as a foreign language test.

Berlitz courses are available for undergraduate students who need to fulfill lower division credits.

Learn about your opportunities to study in an online or evening program at GCU if you have completed education outside the U.S.

Requirements for GCU International Students

As an international student planning to study in the USA, it’s important to familiarize yourself with specific health and safety requirements that will assist you in maintaining good health during your academic journey. Understanding health requirements and reviewing health-related considerations as an international student is an essential part of the admissions process.

In addition to a completed application, most colleges for international students require you to include an International Student Sheet, an official document that serves as evidence of English proficiency, educational transcripts and more. If you are a foreign student who would like to enroll at GCU, learn more about our admissions requirements.

GCU requires you to provide verification of two measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) immunizations, or documented evidence of immunization against or immunity to measles, mumps and rubella, before being allowed to register for classes. International students often find it is more convenient and less expensive to have these immunizations before departing for the U.S.

We also require you to carry health insurance. If you require healthcare services when you arrive on our campus, our Canyon Health and Wellness Clinic serves GCU students and faculty.

GCU Experience for International Students

As you embark on this exciting journey, GCU is committed to providing you with a personalized and inclusive educational experience that caters to your unique needs and aspirations. From fostering meaningful connections with fellow students from around the world to empowering you to explore new cultures and broaden your horizons, our program is dedicated to nurturing your academic, cultural and personal growth.

We are proud to offer a range of scholarship opportunities exclusively for GCU international students. These scholarships are designed to recognize your academic achievements, leadership potential and diverse talents. With our commitment to making education accessible, we strive to provide financial support that can help you pursue your academic dreams and make the most of your GCU experience.

GCU understands the importance of providing welcoming housing for international students. With on-campus residence halls and apartments, we strive to provide a variety of housing options and meal plans to suit your preferences. Our housing services are designed to offer a safe and supportive environment.

As an international student at GCU, you are eligible to apply for a variety of student work opportunities on campus. These opportunities can provide you with valuable work experience, help you build your resume and develop important skills while you pursue your studies. With guidance and support from our career services team, you can explore part-time job options that align with your interests and career goals, allowing you to make the most of your time at GCU.

At GCU, we celebrate diversity and promote inclusivity through our multicultural clubs and events, which are open to all international students. Our campus offers a wide range of student-led clubs and organizations that represent various cultures, providing opportunities to connect with peers who share similar interests and backgrounds. From cultural festivals and performances to workshops and social events, our multicultural office and Native American tribal connections foster cross-cultural understanding, promote diversity and create a sense of community among our student population.

GCU Students at GCU Unity Walk with One Lope Sign

FAQs for International Students in the USA

Are you an international student studying or preparing to study in the USA? Navigating the intricacies of studying and living in a foreign country can be overwhelming. Here are some frequently asked questions that may address common concerns and provide helpful information if you’re looking for colleges for international students who wish to study in the USA.

International students may choose to study in the U.S. for several reasons including the quality of education, diverse study options, career opportunities, cultural diversity, research opportunities, flexibility in the education system or scholarships and funding opportunities. However, it’s important to note that individual motivations may vary for each student. For example, studying in the U.S. can provide international students with an opportunity to build a global network of friends, colleagues and alumni, which can be valuable for their future careers.

Colleges for international students, like GCU, may require the following to qualify as an international student:

  • Meet academic requirements
  • Demonstrate English language proficiency through accepted tests or waivers
  • Provide proof of financial capability
  • Obtain an appropriate student visa
  • Submit a complete admissions application

Be sure to contact the international admissions office for the most up-to-date and accurate information on the specific requirements and process for international students.

Securing education loans for international students can be a challenging task due to various eligibility criteria and documentation requirements set by lenders. According to the Federal Student Aid website, the general eligibility requirements to apply for FAFSA include the following:4

  • You must have a financial need.
  • You are a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen.
  • You are enrolled in an eligible degree or certificate program at your college or career school.

To learn more about eligibility requirements and what qualifies as an eligible noncitizen, be sure to review the requirements listed on the official U.S. website for federal student aid loans for international students. When researching loans for international students, be sure to check with your school’s tuition, student loan and financial aid office as policies and programs may change over time.

If you live outside the United States and want to work here, you typically must apply for a visa from the U.S. Department of State (DOS).5 Students in the U.S. (including international students) are usually allowed to work on-campus for up to 20 hours per week during the academic year and full-time during school breaks. It’s important for international students in the USA to comply with regulations set by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for guidance on employment opportunities and eligibility.

If you are a traditional, undergraduate on-campus international student, you can apply for scholarships by submitting your application along with your unofficial transcripts. Visit our international student scholarship page for more details or speak to a university counselor. Remember to be cautious of scholarship scams and never pay for scholarship applications. It’s also essential to carefully review and understand the terms and conditions of any scholarship offer before accepting it.

Get ready to study abroad and gain life experiences as an international student at GCU. Take the first step toward becoming an international student in the U.S. by requesting more information today.

1 College Factual (n.d.). Grand Canyon University International Student Report. Retrieved April 21, 2023.

2 International Student (n.d.). Study in the USA. Retrieved April 20, 2023.

3 International Student (n.d.). Grand Canyon University. Retrieved April 21, 2023.

4 Federal Student Aid (n.d.). Eligibility Requirements. Retrieved April 20, 2023.

5 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (n.d.). Working in the United States. Retrieved April 21, 2023.