Frequently Asked Questions – Future Students

Programs & Applying

Our classes have an average of 16 students in them.

All students are expected to be present on the first day of the program. You should make every effort to arrive on time. If for some reason you cannot arrive for the first day, please notify ELI Registration immediately. If you do not notify us, you may lose your place in the program.

At ELI you are always encouraged and supported to speak English in order to benefit from being in an English immersion environment. The English policy, initiated and supported by ELI students and staff, requires that you speak English when you are in the main ELI building, in all campus classrooms used for ELI programs, and during ELI programs and events.

We recommend you apply as far in advance as possible, because we register students on a first-come, first-served basis. This will also give you enough time to make the necessary arrangements to come and study with us (e.g., obtain permits or visas).

We will continue to accept applications until the program is full, and to the start of the program. Contact us to find out if there is still space available. If the program is not full, you may still apply. However, if you are applying for a program less than one month before the start date of the program, you must pay all fees in full (application fee, tuition fee, and medical insurance fee) to guarantee your place in the program. Before registering for the program, check Canadian visa requirements.

Students often underestimate the amount of time it will take to significantly improve their language skills. It can be difficult to predict how much time you will need to spend studying English. If you register for less than six months of study, you will not need a study permit to enter Canada. However, if you think you may want to extend your studies to more than six months after you arrive in Canada, it is a good idea to apply for a study permit. Please consult Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada for more information.

You do not need to know what your current level of English is. All ELI students are given placement tests before the start of their program to determine the most appropriate level for them.

Yes. You receive regular assessment, grades and certificates with an online program. More information on assessment is provided by your instructors.

Yes. Instructors are continuing to cover the curriculum and administer all exams online.

Payment & Fees

The non-refundable application fee and non-refundable program deposit are due when you first apply to the ELI. The deposit guarantees you a place in the program until one month before the start date. Only tuition paid in full guarantees you a place after this date. You should pay the remainder of the tuition fee in Canadian dollars one month before the start date.

You may make your payment by credit card (Visa or Mastercard only), bank draft or wire transfer. You will get payment instructions once your application has been received.

We do not offer any scholarships or financial assistance at this time.

ELI fees are the same for everyone. We do not offer preferential prices to Canadian citizens or local residents.

The English for Academic Purposes program and the Vancouver English Experience Program require textbooks. Textbooks for the on-campus programs are available in the UBC Bookstore and students will receive instructions on how to purchase e-texts for the online programs. Students should budget approximately CAN $150 - $300 per session for textbooks.

All ELI students must have medical insurance from iMed offered through UBC. The insurance will cover you for a few days before and after your program but it is your responsibility to ensure you have medical insurance coverage outside of the coverage dates. For coverage dates, prices and policy information, please refer to the Mandatory Medical Insurance page.

Please do not carry large amounts of cash once you are here. Currency exchange services are available at the Vancouver International Airport and at any of the major banks or credit unions in the city. Credit cards are a safer way to pay for your purchases because they can usually be replaced if they get lost or stolen. Many banks are open on Saturdays, and most stores accept direct debit using bank cards.

Most Canadian banks have ATM bank machines which can be accessed 24 hours a day using bank cards on major international banking networks such as Cirrus, Plus and Interac. We recommend you check with your bank in your home country to see whether you can use your ATM card abroad and what service charges might apply.

The following banks are located on or near campus:

If you want to arrange to transfer funds before you arrive in Canada, there are several ways to do this:

  • wire funds from your local bank to a Canadian bank. This method ensures that your money is available immediately once transferred to Canada
  • use an electronic bank card from your home bank to withdraw money at ATMs (bank machines) in Canada. You may have to pay service charges for using a bank card outside your country and exchange rates change daily, so check with your bank before choosing this option.

Sales tax is applicable to the purchase of most goods and services. In British Columbia, the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) is 7% and the Federal Goods and Services Tax (GST) is 5%.

Refunds

For complete information about our withdrawal policies, please visit our ELI Policies page.

If you must cancel your registration because Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has denied your application for a study permit or visitor visa, ELI will refund your deposit provided you meet the following conditions:

  • You notify ELI immediately, or at least seven days before the program starts, in writing about your visa denial or delay,
    and
  • ELI receives the original letter of visa denial within 30 days from the date shown on the letter.

If you do not receive your study permit or visa in time for the program for which you have registered, you may select a new start date from any of the dates published on the Dates and Fees page. The new start date must be within one year of the original start date. Your deposit or full tuition will be transferred to the new session once only. We require a minimum of one week’s written notice in writing that you wish to postpone your start date, or the cancellation schedule will apply (see above). Postponements after the payment deadline (one month before the program start date) might be granted if the balance of tuition and the medical insurance fees are fully paid.

Visas & Permits

If you are planning to study in Canada for less than six months, you may enter the country as a visitor. Visitors from some countries will need a temporary resident visa to enter Canada. If you are planning to study in Canada for more than six months, you will need to obtain a study permit for your period of study. If you are not sure, but you think you may want to extend your studies to more than six months after you arrive in Canada, it is a good idea to apply for a study permit. Please consult Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada for more information about Canadian visa requirements.

After the ELI processes your application form, non-refundable application fee and program deposit, we will email you your student registration documents, which includes a Letter of Acceptance. The Letter of Acceptance will reflect only the sessions for which you have registered. You must take the Letter of Acceptance to your nearest Canadian visa office to apply for your study permit. In some countries, a medical examination is also required. Please note that for citizens of some countries, you may apply for your study permit online. Please refer to the announcement by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada regarding the Visa Exempt Study Permit Abroad (VESPA) Electronic Application Service for Select Countries for more information about this service.

Although processing times can vary from country to country, you should allow at least 3 months to obtain your study permit.

If you do not receive your study permit or visa in time for the program for which you have registered, you may select a new start date from any of the dates published on the Dates and Fees page. The new start date must be within one year of the original start date. Your deposit or full tuition will be transferred to the new session once only. We require a minimum of one week’s written notice that you wish to postpone your start date, or the cancellation schedule will apply (see above). Postponements after the payment deadline (one month before the program start date) might be granted if the balance of tuition and the medical insurance fees are fully paid.

In case of visa refusal, the program deposit may be refundable, subject to certain restrictions (see Refund Policy).

If you wish to visit the United States while you are staying in Canada, you must obtain a US visitor's visa from your nearest US embassy or consulate before leaving your home country.

Please refer to our Medical Insurance page for everything you need to know.

Student Housing

In special circumstances, you may share a room with another ELI student.

The best option for families is to arrange for their own rental accommodation.

The ELI cannot arrange for your off-campus rental accommodation, but we can provide you with a list of Internet sites to help you get started in making your own arrangements.

Some homestay families might offer their computers for student use, but they are not usually provided. However, they may be willing to provide you with Wi-Fi access. You can bring a laptop computer for use at home or at the ELI. The ELI facilities include a Student Study Centre with Internet access, and our building has additional ports for connecting to the Internet from your laptop. There are also public access computers available at many locations on the UBC campus.

Actual costs will vary depending on the type of accommodation, length of stay and related miscellaneous expenses. Students should expect to budget, at a minimum, approximately CAD$1,700 a month for Homestay accommodation and related living expenses during their stay in Vancouver.

COVID-19

If you would like to postpone your program, you may select a new start date from any of the dates published at the Dates and Fees page. The new start date must be within one year of the original start date. Your deposit or full tuition will be transferred to the new session at no extra charge. Please email us at eli.registration@ubc.ca at least one week prior to your program start date informing us you wish to postpone your program, and the new program date you wish to enroll in.

To ensure the safety of both parties in the homestay experience, students will be placed with Homestay Hosts based on their vaccination status. A majority of our Homestay hosts are confirmed fully vaccinated and are currently only accepting fully vaccinated students into their homes. Students who are not fully vaccinated at the time of arrival will have the ability to receive vaccination in BC and will be placed in a homestay that is accepting non-fully vaccinated students subject to availability or, alternatively, referred to a private accommodation such as the Vancouver YWCA. See the UBC Housing website for off-campus isolation options.