Information for international partners


The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse is a public comprehensive university located in La Crosse Wisconsin, U.S.A.  Founded in 1909, UWL is part of the University of Wisconsin School System that awards bachelor and master degrees, and one doctoral degree.

UWL offers 94 undergraduate programs and 26 graduate programs.  Some of the most popular and highly ranked undergraduate programs include Biology, Business, Computer Science, Elementary Education, Exercise and Sport Science, Finance, and Psychology.  Popular graduate programs include Software Engineering, MBA, and Community Health.

The university is organized into three colleges: College of Business Administration, (AACSB accredited); College of Science and Health; and College of Liberal Studies, which houses the School of Arts and Communication and the School of Education. 

Presently, UWL has 10,408 students on campus, 9,650 undergraduates and 758 graduate students, including international students from 27 different countries.  The university does not use teaching assistants to teach classes, and 79% of the faculty holds a Ph.D. or other terminal degree.

We are also happy to have a student to faculty ratio of 18:1. This presents a tremendous advantage to students by providing more one-on-one attention with professors!

UWL has had a tradition of excellence and has been recognized in several national rankings:

  • Ranked #4 public Midwest regional university (U.S. News and World Report);
  • Ranked #16 best college value under $30,000/year by Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine;
  • Also named on Kiplinger's 100 “best values in public colleges”.

For more information about UWL, check out our Fast Facts!


English as a Second Language Institute

The English as a Second Language Institute offers students six different levels of instruction from beginning to advanced.  Courses are offered in speaking, listening, reading, writing, U.S. culture, current events, pronunciation, and study skills.  Our programs are designed to assist students with both academic and professional needs.  Students are permitted to take ESL courses along with regular university classes and are given general education credit for successful completion of two ESL courses at level 6.  Click here to learn more.

Completion of our ESL program also fulfills the English proficiency requirement for degree programs!


About the La Crosse Area

The UWL campus is located in a residential area of the City of La Crosse (pop. 51,320) located in western Wisconsin.  The area, known as the 7 Rivers Region, is famous for its exceptional natural beauty which includes the Mississippi River on one side, majestic bluffs on the other, and views of rolling farmland and forested valleys in between.  La Crosse is one of the most scenic locations in mid-America.  Abundant water, woodlands and varying terrain provide ample opportunities for year-round outdoor recreation.  

Only five hours from Chicago and three hours from Minneapolis, La Crosse enjoys the affordability and charm of small town living with larger city benefits.  Three colleges, two world-class medical institutions, the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra, a restored nineteenth century downtown business district, and a number of galleries and art centers have made La Crosse a regional center for culture, entertainment, medical care, shopping, sports and recreation. To learn more about La Crosse, view this site.


Application Information

Information about the application process is available at:


All arrivals requesting pick up service must arrive to La Crosse, Wisconsin on one of the designated arrival dates. If students arrive outside of these dates, they will be responsible for arranging transportation from the airport to campus (taxis are available and students may call them from the airport).  The International Education & Engagement Arrival Survey must be completed at least 5 days prior to the student’s arrival.

The nearest airport is La Crosse Regional Airport (LSE).  Airlines that fly into La Crosse include American and Delta Airlines/KLM Airlines.  If students fly to Chicago or Minneapolis, they may take the train or bus to La Crosse.  The train from Chicago will take 5 hours (8 hours by bus).  The bus from Minneapolis will take 3.5 hours.  Information about the Amtrak train and Jefferson Bus Lines is available on line.

Passports should be valid at least 6 months beyond the arrival date in the U.S.



Coming to a new country can be an exciting opportunity, but also a challenging experience.  To help with the transition from your home country to the U.S. and UWL, the International Education & Engagement Office requires all new international students to attend International Student Orientation.

Orientation will provide you with information about campus life, the La Crosse community as well as immigration regulations.  Life as an international student means balancing the requirements of U.S. immigration regulations and maintaining high academic standards.  American culture requires you to take personal responsibility for learning, understanding, and following all regulations.  During orientation week, you will be introduced to upcoming challenges and provided resources to help with any questions you might have.



All new first year undergraduate students, international students and some contract students are required to live in campus housing.  All housing contracts are for a full academic year, unless you are on a one semester short-term program.

For a list of estimated housing costs, please visit the Office of Residence Life site.  Note: If you arrive earlier than the indicated arrival dates, you will be charged $35 per night to stay in campus housing, pending availability.

Residence hall options for new international students

  • Eagle Hall - Triple rooms are available in a shared suite setting.
  • Reuter Hall - Only single rooms are available in a shared apartment setting.  This hall is generally for students older than 20.

Students will have the opportunity to borrow linens and blankets for the first week of their stay at no cost.  After the first week, the linens and blankets will need to be returned.

Meal Plan descriptions are available online.  Students will be provided information for the following meal plan option:

  • The Eagle Plan (recommended)

Unlimited entries into Whitney Center main dining room
$100 of Maroon Dollars is included
2 meals per day can be used in the Chars dining area
2 meals per day can be used in the OnTheGo/Mondo Subs area in Whitney
1 meal per day can be used in the Student Union Mondo Subs
Add block meals for $66.00 for every 10 meals for more dining options

Students may choose their meal plan option.  Please refer to the meal plan descriptions for additional options and prices.


Students residing in residence halls may be provided in different types of housing during vacation periods.  This on-campus housing will be available for students already residing on campus for an additional fee.

Please note that there are no meal benefits between semesters.  No meal plan is available for the vacation periods between semesters.  The cafeteria is closed during the Thanksgiving holiday, winter and spring breaks. Students will have Maroon Dollars with their meal plan so they may purchase food from the Student Union which is open during the winter and spring breaks but not during the Thanksgiving break (4 days).  Special arrangements may be made for students observing religious holidays.

Housing benefits during vacation periods: No housing is available for the summer unless attending summer ESL class.


Class registration begins in April for the fall semester and November for the spring semester.  Early registration (prior to arriving on campus) is highly recommended.

After the student commits to UWL, either by obtaining their visa, paying the enrollment deposit, or some other indicator, their information and college transcript is sent to the appropriate assistant to the dean or academic advisor.  The assistant to the dean or advisor will then work with the student to determine a schedule.


International students will be able to access the UWL timetable, undergraduate catalogand course descriptionson-line.  Students are encouraged to identify six to eight specific courses so they have several options when planning their class schedule.


Once courses have been selected, students must e-mail the list to the UWL academic advisors or assistant to the deans of each college as soon as possible for approval prior to registration.

After receiving approval, students may register for their courses in the WINGS system.  WINGS log in information will be sent to the e-mail address the students provided when they applied to UWL.  UWL encourages international students to register early to secure their preferred schedules.


Registering prior to arrival allows students to enroll into courses that would likely be full by the time orientation starts.  New freshmen who are already in the U.S. will be invited to Freshman Registration in June so they may take advantage of that registration opportunity as well.

Number of classes a student typically takes per semester: 4-5

Number of credits to maintain full-time status: 12-18 credits

Number of hours per week typical student spends in class: 12-15

Number of weeks per semester: 15


Health Insurance

All international students are required to enroll in the UWL Group Health Insurance.  The estimated cost of health insurance is $1,427 per year which will be automatically added to the student’s bill.  A health insurance session is scheduled during orientation week.  This session will provide detailed information on how to use the insurance.

The health insurance covers the student’s entire program period, even during the winter and spring breaks when travelling outside the La Crosse area.  However, the UWL international health insurance will NOT cover travel outside of the U.S.  Additionally; there is a waiting period for pre-existing conditions.

Please advise your students to NOT purchase health insurance from their own country.  Also, please note private health insurance policies are NOT accepted.

Where participant should go if they are in need of medical attention: The Student Health Center is available to all students.  La Crosse also has two hospitals, La Crosse Mayo Clinic Health System and Gundersen Health System, which provide 24-hour walk-in urgent care.


The Access Center provides academic accommodations, testing service, and other campus resources and guidance to students with documented disabilities.  Any student at UWL who has a documented physical, sensory, psychological, or learning disability may use the Center’s services.