I am interested in registering for ESL classes! How do I get started?
Your first step should be to call the school at (216) 661-8800 or (216) 347-0194. The friendly voice of one of our staff members will answer any questions you may have. You may also come to the school during open enrollment hours any Wednesday from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM. Our support staff (Dzvina and Halyna) is here to help you every step of the way, from the point of initial contact to your enrollment and beyond!.
I speak very little English. What if I call the school and I don’t understand – or they don’t understand me?
The ESL Program at ATS Institute is very fortunate to be able to provide bilingual support services in the following languages: Russian, Ukrainian, Romanian, Polish, Spanish, and French. If your English is limited and you don’t speak one of those languages, don’t worry! We will explain everything to you in clear, simple English. Furthermore, we have brochures and other information about our program available in multiple languages. And all of our teachers speak at least one other language besides English.
Where are you located, and how can I find you?
The Parma Learning Center of ATS Institute is conveniently located on the campus of St. John’s Byzantine Cathedral at the intersection of Broadview and Snow Roads in Parma, Ohio, just a few miles south of Cleveland. Students will access the St. John’s campus via Carlton Road – a small side street that runs directly off Broadview Road, just 0.2 miles south of the intersection of Broadview and Snow Roads (look for the Subway Restaurant and Valero Gas Station on the corner of Broadview and Carlton Roads.) The campus of St. John’s Cathedral is easily accessible from Interstates 77, 480, and 71 as well.
Once arriving on the campus of St. John’s Cathedral, you will use the entrance marked “Student Entrance.” It is on the west end of the complex. This entrance takes you into Byzantine Hall, the school building of St. John’s Cathedral. Follow signs to the second floor, where we are located. If you need any help upon arriving, just call our administrative assistant at (216) 661-8800 and she will come outside to meet you.
There is plenty of free, secure parking in the St. John’s complex. All of the parking lots and buildings are safe and well-lit.
Am I responsible for paying tuition?
Each student in our ESL Program is responsible for his (her) own tuition. However, most of our students (over 80%) qualify for federal financial aid. Federal financial aid is available to those who qualify. Your eligibility will be determined by the paperwork you submit.
What paperwork or other documents do I need to submit?
At the time of registration, you will need to submit the following documents:
• Proof of US citizenship, resident alien card (“green card”), or “white card.”
• A valid US driver’s license and/or social security card.
• A copy of your federal income tax return for the previous year.
• A copy of your high school diploma.
• Married female students are also required to submit a copy of their marriage license.
Foreign documents (high school diploma, marriage license) must be translated into English, and both a copy of the original document as well as a notarized copy of the translation must be submitted.
Where can I get my high school diploma and/or marriage license translated?
If you do not know of an accredited translating service, we will be able to recommend some to you in the Cleveland/Parma area. Be aware that you will have to pay a small fee for the translation(s).
I did not file a federal income tax return for the previous year. How will my eligibility for federal financial aid be determined?
If you did not file a federal income tax return for the previous year because you did not live or work in the US, it is not a problem. You will need to fill out a form on which you will be asked to estimate your foreign-earned income for the previous year in US dollars. If you did not file a federal income tax return because you were dependent on your parents’ support, you may be asked to submit a copy of your parents’ federal income tax return.
Can I still attend ESL classes at ATS Institute if I don’t qualify for federal financial aid?
Yes, you can. Students who are ineligible for federal financial aid have the option to enroll in ESL classes at ATS Institute of Technology at their own expense. As a matter of fact, nearly 20% of our current students pay tuition out of pocket because they are ineligible for federal financial aid. Our institution offers a discounted tuition rate to any students who do not qualify for federal financial aid. “Self-paying” students will be provided a list of terms and conditions with which they will be required to comply. Payment is due in full at the beginning of each academic term, or at the time a student begins his (her) studies at ATS Institute. Students who find it difficult to pay their tuition in full at the beginning of each academic term may request to participate in our installment payment plan. The installment payment plan allows students to pay their tuition in four convenient monthly installments, interest-free. Students who wish to take advantage of the installment payment plan need to see the ATS Parma Learning Center administrative assistant to enroll in the installment payment plan.
Will I have to take a placement test when I enroll?
Yes, you will. All new students of our program are required to take the Combined English Language Skills Assessment (CELSA) test upon enrollment. Your score will help us determine the level of instruction that is best for you. This is not a test that you need to study for, so don’t worry about it! It is primarily used to gage your current proficiency level in the English language. You will take the same test again upon completing the course so that we can document evidence of improvement.
How many hours a week do classes meet?
Each of our classes (morning, afternoon, and evening) meets for twenty academic contact hours per week. The morning class meets Monday – Thursday from 9AM to 1PM. The afternoon class meets Monday – Thursday from 2PM to 6PM. The evening classes meet Monday – Friday from 6:30 PM to 9:45 PM. .
I would like to attend ESL classes, but am unable to attend twenty academic hours per week. Can I attend part-time?
Students receiving federal financial aid are required to attend classes full-time, i.e. twenty academic hours per week. Therefore, if you wish to receive federal financial aid, you will need to attend classes full-time. If you wish to attend classes part-time (10 or fewer academic hours per week), you will need to pay out of pocket. Self-paying students who are unable to attend classes full-time (i.e. 20 academic contact hours per week) have the option to enroll as part-time, auditing students. Part-time students may attend classes for a maximum of ten (10) academic contact hours per week.
Do I need to purchase textbooks?
Yes, you do! Our ESL Program uses some of the best, most modern and innovative print resources available for adult English-language learners. All students in our program must have all approved textbooks in their current editions. The ESL Program makes these books available for you to purchase upon your enrollment in the program. We have taken great care to choose textbooks that are not only useful but affordable. And you will be using the same textbooks for the entire course, so you will not have to buy new textbooks each semester. The cost of textbooks is not covered by federal financial aid. Students who have difficulty paying for their textbooks all at once may see the administrative assistant to request to be put on the installment payment plan. Students also have the option of purchasing their books elsewhere.
A friend or relative of mine took your ESL course before and already has the books. Can I just use them?
You may use the textbooks of a friend or relative who is a former student of our program as long as they are the current editions. The textbook series we use (Cambridge and Oxford University Press) frequently reissue new, updated editions. Therefore, if your friend or relative attended ESL classes more than a few years ago, he (she) probably has outdated editions. In this case, you will need to purchase the current editions.
I’m legally in the United States, but do not have permanent legal residency status. I’m here on a work, travel, or student visa. Can I attend classes at ATS Institute?
Yes, you may. Our support staff is able to help those who do not have permanent residency status secure the necessary visa to reside and study in the US legally. Such students will be required to abide by a list of terms and conditions, and are not eligible for federal financial aid. Please call Halyna at (216) 347-0194 for more information if this applies to you.
What is your attendance policy, and what happens if I miss a class?
The ESL program at ATS Institute is designed for adult learners who wish to make fast progress and who are able to devote themselves to an intensive schedule. Real progress in the acquisition of another language requires a commitment of time and effort. As such, class attendance in the ESL programs is important for students in the fulfillment of their educational and professional goals and to obtain the most benefits from the ESL program. This will not only aid you in making progress in the acquisition of English, but it will also provide you with a foundation that will assist you in securing employment in your given or prospective field.
Students receiving federal financial aid are required to abide by the attendance policy of our institution. Excused absences are permitted when situations prevent a student from being present in their scheduled classes that are beyond their control. The maximum amount of excused absences should not be more than ten percent (10%) of the clock hours in the payment period. Personal illness (a doctor’s excuse is required for absences of 3 or more days in a row). Valid excuses for absences are: personal illness or illness in the immediate family; death in the family; observance of religious holidays; medical appointments (personal appointments or those of a child in emergency cases); court appearance; and other cases of extreme emergency, as determined by the ESL Program Director
Students must give their instructor advance notice, where applicable, in order for an absence to be considered excused. Each student is responsible for contacting the instructor and making up any work missed due to excused absences on his/her own time. Any excused absences that exceed the permitted 10 % for the payment period would be allowed to be made up.
What if I need to miss classes for an extended period of time?
Students who need to miss classes for an extended period of time – due to overseas travel, a family emergency, a work conflict, or another temporary conflict – may request an academic leave of absence for up to three months. If granted a leave of absence, the student will not be required to make up hours missed during that period of time. In order to request a leave of absence, you will need to see the administrative assistant and fill out a form.
Does your program go year round, and are there any breaks?
The ESL Program at ATS Institute is an intensive, year-round program. Our calendar includes several days off for holidays and scheduled breaks. Students are given off for most major US holidays. In addition, students receive one week off for spring break, three weeks off for summer break, one week off for fall break, and two weeks off for winter break. If you are planning to take a vacation, you are asked to arrange your travel plans such that they coincide with the dates of the scheduled break, so as not to disrupt your studies. In cases when this is unavoidable, you will need to see the administrative assistant to request an academic leave of absence.
I have small children. Does ATS Institute provide childcare?
No, we do not. However, we will be happy to help you find daycare services in the area, and provide a letter of confirmation of your enrollment status.