The Ashland Center for English Studies (ACCESS) offers an Intensive English Program to international professionals, undergraduate and graduate students. The program will equip you with the knowledge, skills and experiences in English that you need to fully engage. You’ll learn research and writing skills particular to western thought. And you’ll learn about American people and culture through real-world experiences, both inside and outside the classroom.

Students participate in 18 hours of face-to-face classes, plus one cultural activity each week. We frequently visit attractions such as the Cleveland Art Museum, the Columbus Zoo, the Easton Towne Center and the Yoder Amish Farm.

To advance your language skills quickly, you also complete rigorous homework after in-person classes. Because of the intensive nature of the program, we strongly encourage you to treat your language study as a full-time job and give it your full attention. Students with pressing financial needs may work on campus on Saturdays and Sundays, up to 10 hours total per week. International students are permitted to work only on campus due to the nature of their visa status.

ACCESS students helping each other in class


Students under 22 years of age live in a campus residence hall and eat their meals in the campus dining hall. Please apply for housing at housing.ashland.edu.

Students 22 years of age or older, or who are married or divorced, may live off campus. You must find your own accommodations and work out rental agreements. If you would like to eat in the campus dining hall, please purchase an AU meal plan.

Residence Hall on AU campus

Grades and Matriculation

The Intensive English Program has three levels: basic, intermediate and advanced. Each level has two classes: listening and speaking, as well as reading and writing. All students take part in cultural activities as part of the listening and speaking course.

You receive scores based on using English in real-life situations. For example, instead of taking a grammar test on paper, you will use grammar in spoken and written projects and presentations. This approach ensures that you will be able to speak effectively in daily life.

If you meet the standards for your level by the end of the semester, you may move up to the next level. Students who attend all classes and complete all homework typically meet the standards on the first attempt. If you need more time to develop your skills, you will repeat the same level. If you are struggling, you can request additional tutoring during teacher office hours and through the AU Writing and Communication Center.

When you pass the advanced level of both classes, you move directly into your academic program at Ashland University. We don’t give a standardized test, because the Intensive English Program meets the language demands for college and graduate-level academic work.

ACCESS students working on their computers


ACCESS also offers a Pathways Program, which allows advanced-level students to take one advanced Intensive English Program course while taking one academic course at the same time. After meeting the standards for both Pathways Listening and Speaking and Pathways Reading and Writing, you may be admitted directly into your academic program. After being formally admitted, the academic course you took during Pathways will count toward your degree.

ACCESS students talking to each other


All international students at Ashland University pay a $1,000 non-refundable deposit before receiving their I-20s; this deposit is applied to the students’ tuition. To secure teachers and plan cultural activities, ACCESS also requires students to pay one-half of their semester tuition before beginning classes.

Students who leave the program during the first week of the semester will receive 75% of their tuition, less the deposit, back. Students who leave during the second week will receive 50% of their tuition, less the deposit, back. No refunds of any kind will be given after the end of the second week of the semester.

ACCESS student in Advanced Speaking and Listening class sitting outdoors

Faculty and Staff

ACCESS students receive the support of instructors who help to ease the transition to a new country. All ACCESS instructors have lived abroad, studied a foreign language and experienced a second culture. They help students to develop not only their language abilities, but also their life skills in the United States.