ELI Future Students


Welcome Future Students

Welcome to the ELI at
The University of Alabama!

Our faculty and staff welcome you to the ELI. We are here to provide you with top quality English instruction and orient you to U.S. culture.

The information on this page will help you prepare for your travel, life in the U.S., and study at the ELI.

Important Dates

Item Summer 1, 2024    Summer 2, 2024    Fall 1, 2024    Fall 2, 2024   
Official arrival day

May 5
June 19
August 18
October 14
Placement exam and orientation   

May 6
June 20
August 19
October 15
Registration and payment

May 7
June 21
August 20
October 16
Classes begin

May 8
June 24
August 21
October 17

There are no classes for beginners. The ELI does not have Level 1.

The ELI offers classes from elementary to high advanced.

Level Student
Skill Level
Level 1     (Not offered)   A1
Level 2 elementary A2
Level 3 intermediate A2/B1
Level 4 intermediate B1
Level 5 low advanced B1/B2
Level 6 high advanced     B2/C1

Pre-Arrival Documents/Forms

Pre-Arrival and Arrival information

Airport arrival in Birmingham

Most students choose to arrive in Alabama through the Birmingham Airport (BHM), which is the closest airport to Tuscaloosa and The University of Alabama (one hour by car). There are two types of pick-up services from the Birmingham Airport:

Prestige Limousine offers private cars and shuttles.
Crown Transportation offers private and shared rides.
Groome Transportation offers shuttles.

Although it is more expensive than the shuttle service, taxi service is also available from the Birmingham Airport to Tuscaloosa. The cost is approximately $100-120 (plus tip).
Uber Airport Shuttle
Lyft for Birmingham Airport

Birmingham Hotels

If you need to stay in Birmingham overnight, you may choose one of the following hotels which are located near the airport. All of these hotels provide free transportation to and from the Birmingham Airport. There are free courtesy telephones located near the baggage claim area so that you can call the hotel to ask for the free shuttle service.

Holiday Inn Airport/Birmingham
5000 10th Avenue, North
Birmingham, Alabama 35212
Phone: (205) 591-6900
Cost: Approximately $100
The Ramada Inn
Airport Highway
Birmingham, Alabama 35212
Phone: (205) 591-7900
Cost: Approximately $100

Taxi service in Tuscaloosa
If you need transportation in Tuscaloosa when the ELI pick-up service is not available, you may contact the taxi service listed below. The approximate cost from Super 8 Hotel to the UA campus is $10 (plus tip).

Alpha & Omega Taxi Service, Phone: (205) 242-8936
Everett’s Cab Company, Phone: (205) 233-1777
Radio Cab Service, Phone: (205) 758 – 2831

Living and Studying at The University of Alabama

On-campus housing
Students at the English Language Institute are eligible to live in on-campus housing at UA. Living on campus is a great way to start at The University of Alabama. When you live on campus, you become part of the campus life, where you will interact with a diverse community of people and benefit from the support structure of the residential staff that will help you transition from your home country to the United States.

There are 15 residence halls on campus that house mostly undergraduate and graduate students. However, certain residence halls are reserved for the English Language Institute. International students, while living on-campus, have the ability to not only meet other students from all over the world, but meet with their fellow UA students and possibly make life long friendships. Another advantage of living on campus is that you can walk to classes and have easy access to on-campus dining. By working with the housing office, we try to make every effort to accommodate your housing wishes.

ELI students will be placed in Burke Hall during the Spring sessions. ELI students will be placed in England Hall during the Summer sessions. Please note: residents will need to bring their own bed linens or buy them once they arrive for use in their room. During breaks or holidays the campus will close; certain residence halls will remain open for the benefit of the students who wish to stay on campus. Exploring the state and nearby cities is a great way to learn about and understand more of Southern Hospitality and Southern Charm. The residence hall staff and the housing office will notify the students of any upcoming changes.

Please contact Ms. Vicky Wyatt for more information about and applying to UA on-campus housing. We strongly recommend that you complete the housing application before you arrive (information will be sent to you from the Housing Office), although you may still live in on-campus housing if you do not apply before arriving at UA.

One important thing to remember is that the housing application is also a contract. Dormitory contracts cover the time a student is enrolled for each session. This means that students who sign the contract agree to live in the dormitory by the number of sessions, from the beginning of the session until the end of the session(s) as stated in the contract.

Payment/contract information for students who begin:

  • Fall 1: Students sign the contract to begin in the middle of August and end around the middle of October. Students who plan to study both Fall 1 and Fall 2 will need to pay for the full semester (both sessions) of housing with their Fall 1 tuition payment.
  • Fall 2: Students sign the contract to begin in the middle of October and end around the second week of December.
  • Spring 1: Students sign the contract to begin around the first week of January and end around the last week of February. Students who plan to study both Spring 1 and Spring 2 will need to pay for the full semester (both sessions) of housing with their Spring 1 tuition payment.
  • Spring 2: Students sign the contract for the Spring 2 session only. A new application and contract will need to be completed for the summer.
  • Summer 1: Students sign the contract to begin in the beginning of May and end around the third week of June. Students who plan to study both Summer 1 and Summer 2 will need to pay for the full semester (both sessions) of housing with their Summer 1 tuition payment.
  • Summer 2: Students sign the contract to begin around the third week in June and end the first week of August. Students who plan to study both Summer 1 and Summer 2 will need to pay for the full semester (both sessions) of housing with their Summer 1 tuition payment.

NOTE: Students are released from the contract if they are no longer enrolled at the ELI or UA.

All students are required to pay a $35 application fee when they complete the online application for on-campus housing. The application fee can be paid by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, or Discover).

Meal Plans
A meal plan can be purchased through the ELI office. You may choose to purchase a meal plan for the session or simply pay for your meals when you go to the dining hall. NOTE: There are no campus dining halls open during the first half of the Summer 1 session. During the second half of Summer 1 and during Summer 2, only limited on-campus meal options are available.

If you have a food allergy and plan to eat on campus, please complete a Special Diet Accommodation Form. More information about visit Bama Dining’s Food Allergies page.

Bama Cash
Another option is to apply money to your Action Card called Bama Cash, which can be used like a debit card at dining halls, restaurant locations on and off campus, and grocery stores.

You may also choose to prepare some or all of your own meals if you have access to kitchen facilities. If you live on campus, your access to kitchen facilities depends on your housing assignment. Rooms contain at least a small refrigerator and microwave oven if there isn’t a full kitchen. A supermarket is located near campus (walking distance) and UA offers weekly shuttle service to a local shopping center.


The University of Alabama requires all new students to have had 2 doses of a measles containing vaccine (rubella, MR, MMR) and a menengitis immunization. If you are bringing an immunization record from your home country, documentation of the following vaccinations is required:

  • Meningitis
  • MMR = Measles, Mumps & Rubella

The ELI strongly recommends that students receive these immunizations before arrival to the United States. Adults studying at universities need two doses of the MMR immunization. The doses must be separated by at least 28 days.

See the Student Health Center’s Required Immunizations page for more details.

After you arrive, you will submit your immunization record to the Student Health Center for approval. If your immunization records do not indicate that these requirements have been met, you must be vaccinated upon your arrival to The University of Alabama. This immunization is available on campus at the Student Health Center.

Tuberculosis Screening: All new students admitted to UA must be screened for tuberculosis (TB). Please note that in the case of TB testing, only United States (US) test results are valid. This testing can be provided upon your arrival on campus at the Student Health Center. International students will have a PPD skin test unless they have had a positive PPD skin test in the past. In that case, a chest x-ray is required.

Note: You will be responsible for all immunization costs not covered by your medical insurance.

Medical insurance

The University of Alabama requires that students have medical and hospitalization insurance. Students who do not have evidence of sufficient health insurance for the United States must purchase this insurance at registration.

An envelope labeled “IMPORTANT: Medical Insurance Information” is included with your admission packet. Please read this information carefully. If you want to be covered by your own insurance company, you must have the insurance company complete and fax the Insurance Waiver Form (available from the Forms Page) to ELI prior to the beginning of the session.

Insurance and Medical Care: Click here for an overview of the US healthcare system for international students.

Beginning the Session: Placement Exam & Orientation

You must report to the ELI office (room 101 BB Comer Hall) at 8:15 am on the first day of the session. It is very important that you be there on time and that you bring your passport, your I-20 form, and your I-94 card with you. A $75 Late Testing Fee is charged to new ELI students who do not take the ELI Placement Exam at the designated time (8:15 am on Day 1 of each session).

In the morning, you will take the ELI Placement Exam; in the afternoon, we will assist you with campus housing (if you need it). The standard schedule is as follows:

Placement Exam: 8:15 am to 11:45 am
Orientation: 1:00 pm
Assistance with Housing: 1:45 pm

An exact schedule with times and places will be handed out during the placement exam. Please be prepared to follow the schedule and arrive on time for each of your meetings. It is very important for you to be on time!

Registration, Payment, Action Cards, and VISA Check-in
You must report to room 109 BB Comer Hall on the second day of the session at 8:15AM for registration. Please bring the following items with you:

  • tuition & fee payment
  • completed medical insurance waiver form or payment for UA insurance
  • housing payment (if you will live on campus)

After registering and making your payments, you will receive a class schedule with information for your class levels, times and rooms.

Contact Us
Please contact us if you have any questions. We hope you have a pleasant trip to Alabama, and we look forward to having you as a student at the English Language Institute!

The English Language Institute
The University of Alabama
Box 870250 / 101 BB Comer
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0250

Telephone: (205) 348-7413
Fax: (205) 348-9266
Cell: (205) 454-8066
Email: info@eli.ua.edu

What to Bring

Money: In addition to the funds you bring with you for your required expenses, we suggest that you have access to at least $300 more to cover the cost of one or two nights in a hotel (approximately $40 per night) and other personal items that you may need.

We advise students to get a check card or debit card that can be used at ATMs (Automatic Teller Machines) in the U.S. This will give you easy access to your funds without having to bring large amounts of cash with you. If you choose to open a bank account after you arrive in Tuscaloosa, your family will be able to transfer money directly to your account by bank wire.

Personal Items: The items listed below are not included with campus housing. You should plan to bring them with you or buy them in Tuscaloosa after you arrive.

  • pillow and pillowcase
  • thick blanket or comforter (there may be significant changes in the outdoor & indoor temperatures
  • sheets for a twin XL (single) bed
  • soap and shampoo
  • bath towels and wash cloths
  • housecleaning supplies
  • clothes hangers
  • electric adapter
  • alarm clock
  • computer

NOTE: For a $30 fee the ELI will loan the following items to students living on campus: 1 pillow, 1 pillowcase, twin XL sheet set, 1 blanket, 2 towels, and 2 wash cloths.

For more room details, refer to the residence hall information page for Burke Hall or Parham Hall.

Clothing: Tuscaloosa has a warm, temperate climate. The list below shows average temperature ranges in Celsius:

  • Summer (June-August): 20° – 38°
  • Fall (September-November): 10° – 30°
  • Winter (December-February): 0° – 20°
  • Spring (March-May): 5° – 27°

Cool, lightweight clothing is needed for summer, although when you are inside you may need a sweater because almost all buildings use air-conditioning. Sweaters and jackets are occasionally needed in the fall and spring, and a heavy coat will be necessary in the winter. Student clothing is casual; it is common for both men and women to wear blue jeans to class.

Other: You may want to bring some small items with you that are typical from your country. For example, typical clothing, some photographs or postcards, a map, and other materials or souvenirs that you could show to U.S. citizens to help them understand more about your country. Sometimes ELI students are given the opportunity to speak with elementary, high school, and university students about their countries and these items would help you to be prepared.

Tuscaloosa is a city in western Alabama. Visit the About Tuscaloosa page to learn more about the city.

There are many activities, organizations, trips, and things to do. Visit the Student Life page to learn more.

See photos of the buildings, classrooms, libraries, and campus. Visit the Accommodations and Facilities page.

ELI Student from Jordan

“I studied intensive English courses for approximately two months, and it was an excellent experience. I am now using English more confidently with my job and social life. I recommend The University of Alabama’s English Language Institute to anyone who really wants to improve international relationships or to improve conversational English language skills. One more thing, Roll Tide!”

Muath M., Jordan

ELI student from Thailand

“During my time in ELI, I was immersed in different aspects of American culture through various activities, on- and off-campus. After graduating from ELI, I felt more confident to communicate in English, and I was able to get a high TOEFL score and university admission.”

Yupawadee G., Thailand

See what other ELI students are saying by visiting the ELI Student Testimonials page.