Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

General Questions:

About WSU and ISA

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How big is WSU?
WSU is a medium size d university with around 18000 students (undergrad and grad, local and international).

How many Indian students are there in WSU?
There are about 400 Indian students here.

What are the facilities available in WSU?
WSU has a very good library, fitness center, cafeteria and museum in addition to the numerous departments. For more information visit the WSU web site.

Are there any supermarkets/drugstores nearby?
Not nearby. However, you will find a lot of people willing to take you to a supermarket/drugstore if you ask them.

Can you give me the e-mail address and URL of ISA?
E-mail id:

My Arrival In Wichita

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How do I get to Wichita from India?
The airport code for Wichita Mid-Continental airport is ICT. There is no direct flight to Wichita from anywhere in India. You have to alight at some point in the US before you reach Wichita. There are a lot of flights from New York, Denver, St. Louis, Dallas, Houston, Memphis,San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Chicago to Wichita. Please book your ticket all the way to Wichita from India.

Are there any bus/train services to Wichita from other cities in the US?
There are Greyhound bus services from other cities in the US to Wichita. The Greyhound bus station is in downtown Wichita. There is no railway station in Wichita. The nearest Amtrak station is in Newton, about 30 miles from Wichita. We don't mind picking you up from Newton also.

Whom should I intimate about my arrival?
You should intimate the ISA as soon as you get to know your travel plans. Whether you are coming by plane, bus or train, please intimate us in advance so that we can make arrangements to pick you up. Contact ISA for Airport Pickup.

Should I intimate about my arrival to anyone else?
No. It is sufficient if you intimate us. Please do not inform to more than one place.

How soon should I come to Wichita?
We advise you to come at least 10-15 days prior to the start of the semester as it will help you in applying for financial aid/ on-campus jobs and getting acclimatized over here.

What should I do if no one comes to pick me up?
DO NOT PANIC. There are a lot of pay Phones (public telephones). Please make a note of the important contact persons phone numbers. If you cannot figure out how to use one, ask someone for help. Remember, you have to insert the coins (generally 50 cents) before dialing the number. Also, you DO NOT have to dial 316 if you are calling from anywhere in Wichita. The Wichita Mid-Continent airport is safe and there is no need to worry even if it is late in the night. If you are coming by bus (greyhound), please try to schedule a morning arrival.

What should I do if I cannot intimate you 3 - 4 days in advance?
DO NOT WORRY. We will make arrangements for your pickup. However, please try to intimate us (however late).

I have not been able to intimate you in advance. My flight to Wichita has been delayed from my port of entry (the first place you got down in the US). What should I do?
DO NOT WORRY. There are a lot of pay Phones (public telephones) in all airports. Please make a note of the important contact persons phone numbers give a call. If you cannot figure out how to use the pay Phone, ask someone to help you. Remember, you have to insert the coins (generally 50 cents) before you dial the number.

Does the ISA pickup students on weekends?
The ISA picks up students on weekdays, weekends, mornings, afternoons, evenings and nights(24/7).

Accommodation, Cost of Living

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What will I do for accommodation in Wichita as soon as I land there?
The ISA will arrange for your pickup from the airport and put you up temporarily in one of the member's houses. We will try and get you permanent accommodation. However, it is your responsibility to search for permanent accommodation as we cannot make any guarantees. We will do our best possible help to find you a place to live.

Can you tell me more about the housing facilities?
Generally, all Indian students stay off-campus as it is cheaper. The school is just a 3-5 minute walk from where all of us stay. Usually, 3 people stay in a 1 bedroom apartment/house and 4 people stay in a 2 bedroom apartment/house. A single bedroom apartment/house costs around $300 a month while a double bedroom apartment/house costs around $400 a month. The rent and the number of people that can stay in a house/apartment is generally decided by the landlord.

What about roommates? Can I choose them?
We will fix you up initially with some seniors. We will try to find you roommates. Accommodation arrangements will be made purely on first come basis only. However, we cannot guarantee the roommate of your choice. If you don't like the arrangements we make, it is up to you to make suitable arrangements.

What are the immediate expenses I should bear as soon as I come there?
The immediate expenses per person in a shared accommodation would be

House Advance - $50
First month's rent - $100
Electricity and Gas Advance - $50
Telephone Advance - $50
Telephone and Answering Machine - $20
Groceries - $70
Sleeping Bag - $25
Pillow - $5
Winter Jacket - $50
Total Approximately - $420
Miscellaneous Items(like a phone instrument, electrical fittings and other household items depending on your requirements)
What is the cost of living in Wichita?
The breakdown for 1 person per month is as follows: (All approximate figures)

Rent - $100
Local Telephone Bill - $40
Electricity and Gas Bill - $25
Groceries - $70 - $80
Total Approximately - $220. India Phone Calls - Depends on you.

Things to Get

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What kind of dress should I get?
Men: Jeans pants, formal trousers, t-shirts, formal shirts, ties, blazer, a pair of formal shoes, a pair of sneakers, slippers, shorts, sweaters (1 heavy, 1 light), socks (cotton) and traditional Indian attire.
Women: Jeans pants, dress suit, sweaters (1 heavy, 1 light), socks (cotton), formal shoes, slippers and traditional Indian attire.
This is just a list to help you out. Please bring what all clothes you think might be useful/necessary to you.

What about thermal wear, gloves etc?
You can buy thermal pants and shirts over here. It costs around $10 each. We suggest that you get a pair of gloves (woolen) and a monkey cap from India. Don't forget to get an umbrella.

Do I have to get pillows/pillow covers/blankets/rugs with me?
You don't have to get pillows as you can buy them here. Please get 2 sets of pillow covers and blankets. You can buy a comforter (cost $15) over here. Get a bedspread.

Can I buy sneakers/sports shoes in the USA? How much will it cost?
You can buy sneakers over here. A decent Nike/Reebok will cost you around $40 - $50.

Can I bring masalas and pickles?
Yes. Be sure to pack them tightly when you bring them.

Should I bring rice/dal/any other items?
There is no need to. We have 3 Indian stores here and you will get everything. However, you can bring the necessary Dals if you want to for initial cooking.

What other food items should I bring?
You can get masalas and spices that suit your cooking skills. Sweets are always welcome. You can also get instant mixes like Idly mix, Dosa mix,etc. Instant Coffee Powder and Tea Powder can be brought. DO NOT BRING ANY WHITE POWDERS LIKE RICE FLOUR.

Should I bring any utensils or vessels? If so, what should I bring?
You can get a rice cooker/ pressure pan with extra gaskets, tumbler, plates, scissors, frying pan, ladles, vegetable peeler, Adair and spoons.

What stationery should I bring?
Writing pads (2-3), pencils, pens, erasers, stapler, stapler pins, school bag and calculator. Do not get a paper punching machine as the binders here are 3 holed.

Is there any other stuff to bring?
Small scissors, nailcutter, watch cells, combs, small alarm clock, and personal items.

Travelling and Customs

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Will there be extensive customs checking in the US?
Generally, no. After September 11, terrorist attacks the checking has been intensified. You might be asked to open your baggage and if they feel, they might also check you in person. You might be asked to throw away any sharp items you mite be carrying or any spices which they think is suspicious. We would advise you, not to argue with custom officials if they ask you to throw anything away. If it is very important to you, try to explain to them but if they are not convinced, let go of it. Don't try to change your university at the port of entry, it might lead to a rejection to entry. Talk slowly and answer all their questions as clearly as possible. Make sure that you are not carrying any white powder (rice flour/atta).

Do I have to open my luggage in the airport for customs checking?
No, not unless you are asked to.

Tuition and Fees, On-Campus Jobs, Assistantships, Financial Aid, Money Matters

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When does school start ?
Check out information that was sent to you along with your I-20. You can also check the academic calendar.

Can I register for courses from India?
No, you can't. You have to come here and register yourself.

How much is the tuition and fees?
According to the 2011 Schedule, a non-resident has to pay $600.50 per credit hour for graduate courses and $425.20 per credit hour for undergrad courses. There is a non-refundable registration fee of $34.2 for each student per semester. There may also be some fees towards labs etc. For latest information check the WSU Graduate School website.

Explain about the financial aid in WSU?
International students have an opportunity to get financial aid in the form of assistantships. The assistantship can be given by a particular professor or by a department (your own or some other). All assistantships in WSU are generally given for 16 or 20 hours. This essentially means that you work for the professor/department for 16 or 20 hours per week. In return, you will be eligible to pay in-state fees which is 1/3rd the out-of-state fees and you will receive a fixed stipend per semester.

What are the kinds of Assistantships I can get?
There are 3 kinds of assistantships available:

Graduate Assistant (GA)

Graduate Research Assistant (GRA)

Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA)

Do I have to get the money mentioned in the I-20?

The economy fall down has changed the scenario quite a lot. The number of GA/GTA/GRA positions in a number of departments have been reduced due to budget cuts. So the chances of getting assistantships have reduced considerably. We would advise you to be ready for the eventuality that you might have to pay the fees for your complete MS. In any case, if you have excess money, you can always send it back home.

How should I get the money?
You should get an International Demand Draft in the name of "Wichita State University" for $7000(assuming you register for 9 credit hours). You can get the rest of the amount in your name in a separate DD or you can get part of it in traveler's checks. Be sure to get around $500 in cash (10's, 20's, 50's and some change in coins - 10 cents, 25 cents). If you have someone in the US who is willing to write a check for you, it is accepted by WSU. If you have someone in the US who is willing to use their credit card for your fees, it is accepted as long as you bring that person along with you to the counter.

Can I pay the fees in installments or do I have to pay the whole amount?
There is an option in WSU to pay in installments. You can pay the fees in 3 installments. However, if you get a DD for $4000 in WSU's name, you will not be allowed to pay in installments. We suggest that you try to get all the money in your name (in the form of a DD). This will give you the chance to pay the fees in installments.

Can I pay the money from India? Can I deposit the fees for one semester in the WSU account from India?
Yes, you can pay the fees in advance as a deposit. Contact the registar's office for more information.

Is there a bank on-campus?
Yes. Commerce Bank is located in the University campus. You can open an account there. For more info. on banking in the USA, please visit our website at ISA.

Will I get on-campus jobs easily?
Getting on-campus jobs has been difficult for the past couple of semesters. Departments/Offices on campus have reduced the number of students they hire, because of budget cuts. If you arrive in WSU with sufficient time before school starts, you might be able to get one. Your on-campus job does not pay for your tuition fees, it will just pay you a monthly stipend depending on the number of hours you work.

How many hours can I work per week?
You are authorized by the INS to work only 20 hours per week in the Spring and Fall semesters. You can work 40 hours per week in Summer. This is strictly restricted to on-campus work. You can work 40 hours off-campus in Summer, in a job related to your field of study and after getting suitable permission from the school, if you have completed 9 months of stay in the US.

What kind of on-campus jobs can I get? How much will they pay?
The jobs range from housekeeping to clerical. You can get jobs in the Physical plant, cafeteria, museum, library, sports center and in any other department that may have an opening. The pay usually ranges from $7.5 per hour to $12 per hour. Some Offices pay more.

How much can I save doing on-campus jobs?
Well, your living expenses will be around $250 per month. Assuming the basic salary of $5.15 per hour, you will earn around $420. This amounts to a saving of $170 per month.

What about taxes on my salary? How much will I have to pay?
Students pay very less tax. An approximate figure would be around $300 per year. However, you will get this back the next year when you file for your tax returns.

Can I work off-campus?
No. Not until you complete 9 months of stay in the US. Even after 9 months you will be able to work only if the job is related to your field of study and the school permits you to do so. Any other job is considered illegal and may lead to severe consequences. You are limited to work only on-campus till then.

Medical Insurance, Checkups, Immunization

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Do I have to get any medical checkup/immunization certificates from India?
It is always advisable to get a thorough medical, dental and eye checkups. Please bring an extra pair of glasses (contact lenses) if you wear them. Please bring all medical reports with you.

Is it compulsory to get vaccination from India?
It is not compulsory, but we strongly advice you to get the vaccines mentioned below.

Can I get any medicines from India?
You can get regular medicines like Crocin, Vicks, Iodex, Boroline etc. If you have any specific ailments, please get the prescribed medicines. Make sure that you have the proper prescriptions for any medicines you get.

What about TB checkup? Can I get it done in India?
Do not get a TB checkup done in India as it will be done here for free. In case you have got it done, be sure to bring the medical reports with you. You may still have to get a TB test here.

On arrival if I take tuberculosis injection & if the result shows positive, what will be the consequences? Will I be asked to undergo medical treatment there or will I be asked to return to India?
Even if your TB test here shows positive, you will not be asked to go home. A positive TB result does not mean that you have TB. You will have to get a chest X-ray done here. Your insurance will pay for it.

What about medical insurance? Do I have to take it? Can I buy insurance from India?
Buying medical insurance from India is very expensive. Medical insurance is compulsory in WSU. It is cheaper to buy insurance here than in India. The insurance costs around $250 per semester or less. NOTE: Even if you buy medical insurance in India, you HAVE to buy medical insurance here also.

General Matters - GRE, TSE, Credit Hours, Visa Questions

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I have a low GRE score. Will I get a visa?
Getting a visa depends on your luck. There are several Indian students here who have low GRE scores. On the other hand, we know of many Indians who did not get a visa to WSU due to their low scores. However, getting a visa to WSU is not as hard as getting a visa to some other universities.

What about TSE? Can I take it in Wichita? How much will it cost?
Yes, you can take the Test of Spoken English (TSE) in Wichita. It is administered as the SPEAK test in the Intensive English Language Center (IELC) in WSU. It costs $50. The SPEAK test scores are valid only in Wichita and not in any other US university.

How many years does it take to complete an MS in WSU?
For all departments in the College of Engineering , it takes a minimum of 2 years or 4 semesters. Again, this is just a generalization. Completing an MS degree depends on the individual.

Is work experience essential for an MS degree? Will it help me get assistantships?
Work experience is not essential for an MS degree. If you have a good academic record and good exam scores, it will help you more. However, work experience will definitely help you in the long run.

What are credit hours? How many should I take per semester?
The number of hours a subject is taught during a week make up the credit hours. E.g.: A subject may be taught 3 hours a week and so the number of credit hours for that subject is 3. You have to enroll for a minimum of 9 credit hours every semester to be in status. If you are enrolled in less than 9 credit hours, you will have to file an exception with the Office of International Programs (OIP) with a valid reason for it.

How is the course content and exam pattern?
The course content and exam pattern depends on the professor/lecturer teaching the course.

How is the grading system in the US?
Universities use alphabets to grade the quality of the students academic performance. The grades are A(4=excellent), B(3=good), C(2=average), D(1=below average) and F(0=fail). You need to have a GPA of 3.0 or more to be out of probation.

Wichita State University uses a plus-minus grading scale.

What is probation?
If your graduate GPA falls below 3.0, you are in probation. Students on probation are not eligible for assistantships. However, they can work on-campus. NOTE: You can get a GPA less than 3.0 in one semester and still be out of probation if you have a good GPA in the previous semesters.
E.g.: CASE 1 --> Suppose you get grades of B, B and C in your first semester, your GPA is counted as:
B = 3 points * 3 credit hours = 9
B = 3 points * 3 credit hours = 9
C = 2 points * 3 credit hours = 6
You would have scored 24 points from 9 credit hours. Your GPA is 24/9 = 2.67 < 3.0. You are in probation.

CASE 2 --> Suppose you have get grades of A, B and C in your first semester. Your total points is (4*3)+(3*3)+(2*3) = 27 from 9 credit hours. Your GPA is 27/9 = 3.0. You are not in probation.

CASE 3 --> Suppose you get grades of B, B and B in the first semester and grades of B, B, C in the second semester, you will fall into probation.

What basic computer education do I require?
You need to be computer literate. Knowledge of packages like MS-Office and Internet browsers is essential. We would advise you to learn them before coming over here, if you are not exposed to them.

What books should I bring?
You can bring fundamental books of your field of study with you.

Can u let me know how many students are given visa on Wichita for fall semester every year?
Well, in Fall 99 there were around 80-90 students who had come to WSU. In Spring 99 there were only 6-8 students, but in Spring 00 there were 36 students who arrived at WSU. In Fall 2000, there were around 130 students. In Spring 2001, there were 50 new additions. We had 140 students coming in for the Fall 2001 semester and 65 student for the Spring 2002 semester. So day by day the number of people are increasing.

Is it possible to take a change to MS in Computer Science from any other branch? If yes, what are the terms and conditions?
Yes, you can get a change from a non-CS branch to CS. But, you will have to take few(6-8) extra courses, since your background is not CS. This applies for a change of branch to anywhere. You will be given a few pre-requisites to complete. For more information check with WSU computer science department.