English Language Institute (ELI)

Photo of a group of students walking to class under the archway


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The English Language Institute (ELI) provides intensive instruction and practice for non-native speakers who want to improve their English skills for academic and professional advancement. This intensive program is designed for international and resident students (living in U.S.) who want to prepare for studying in an American undergraduate or graduate college program. After completing the English Language Institute, students who meet our GPA program requirements are eligible for a TOEFL waiver for applicant admission at City College undergraduate and graduate programs. 


New students who wish to apply to the ELI as a full-time F-1 Student Visa holder must submit a formal application to the ELI. This application is for the Form I-20, which is necessary for the F-1 visa.

To receive a Certificate of Eligibility (Form I-20), follow these steps:


  1. Completed I-20 Application Form
  2.  A scanned copy of passport photo page
  3. Affidavit of Support formed signed by your financial sponsor(s) (Included in the Application)
  4. Bank statement or bank letter showing proof of financial support ($16,664.00)
  5. $1,375 Tuition Deposit (registration fee included)


  1. Mail or email application and all supporting documents to the English Language Institute:
    • English Language Institute
      Continuing and Professional Studies
      City College of New York
      160 Convent Avenue
      Shepard Hall, Room 2
      New York, NY 10031
    • E-mail: eli@ccny.cuny.edu
  2.  After ELI receives your application, it takes approximately 1-2 weeks to process your I-20. You will be notified via email. 


  1. After you receive your Form I-20, apply for an F-1 Student Visa at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your country.


New Student I-20 Application

Transfer Student Application



*If you are not enrolling as an F-1 student, you do not need to submit an application. You can apply online, in person, or by phone. Contact 212-650-7312 or eli@ccny.cuny.edu with questions.   

FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO REGISTER CLICK LINK HERE--> https://www.campusce.net/ccny/course/course.aspx?catId=13


About the Program

- 18 hours of class instruction per week

- Monday to Thursday from 9:30 am to 2:30 pm, with a 30 minute break for lunch

- Classes are designed to target academic and professional skills in the four language skills: Reading, Speaking, Listening, and a focus on Writing.

- Instructors cater the class to student needs and create lessons focusing on communicative language teaching

- Instructors incorporate authentic material, textbooks: Grammar and Beyond Essentials & Final Draft, and Cambridge Learning Management         System to enhance student learning.

-Students will be placed in appropriate course levels from level 1 to level 4 with a placement test taken during orientation. Below is the course description for each level.


Level 1

The ELI Level 1 course is a blended-learning course that emphasizes communicative activities in a student-centered classroom. The ELI Level 1 course is designed to help elementary (A2) students increase their knowledge of grammar and usage and expand their active vocabulary so that they can more easily communicate about basic needs, ideas, and experiences in everyday situations. Through text and speech analysis, guided practice exercises and communicative tasks, students study the form, meaning and use of new grammatical structures and work to integrate them into their everyday language production. The course combines in-class presentation and practice from classroom texts with extensive reading practice and online self-study that reviews and expands on the classroom material.  In addition, in this elementary (A2) course, students expand their vocabulary and extend the range of their learned expressions so that they can understand and communicate more effectively about familiar topics in everyday interactions. To develop their academic English, students engage with short texts on high-interest topics from a range of disciplines – including business, psychology, sociology, and cultural studies – and practice taking notes in a variety of simple formats. They also begin to develop an ability to use paragraph structure, identifying topic, supporting and closing sentences and writing a series of connected sentences to create texts on familiar topics. To develop their speaking skills, students prepare for and participate in interviews and group discussions, in which they focus on asking and responding to questions and expressing simple opinions. Students also prepare and deliver simple expository and narrative presentations.


Level 2

The ELI Level 2 course is designed to help pre-intermediate (A2/B1) students improve the accuracy of the grammatical structures they use and expand their vocabulary so they can more clearly speak and write about concrete facts related to their daily lives. Through text and speech analysis, guided practice exercises and communicative tasks, students study the form, meaning and use of new grammatical structures and work to integrate them into their everyday language production. Students work on developing a series of correct, complete sentences, linking them in loose paragraphs. They also practice applying question forms and target grammar in conversations and discussions as they describe simple proposals and opinions. Students apply and further develop their skills by completing activities and assignments in an online writing program and maintaining a writing journal. Finally, they extend their learning by preparing for and participating in graded conversations and discussions, and describing and summarizing ideas from these interactions in writing.


Level 3

The ELI Level 3 course is designed to teach intermediate (B1/B2) students to more clearly speak and write about facts and ideas related to their daily lives by improving the accuracy of the grammatical structures they use and expanding their vocabulary. Through text and speech analysis, guided practice exercises and communicative tasks, students study the form, meaning and use of new grammatical structures and work to integrate them into their everyday language production. Students apply their learning by constructing paragraphs, developing more consistent use of paragraph structure that supports one main idea. Students also develop their ability to use a variety of sentences and simple cohesive devices to link ideas. By using an online program, students further develop their writing skills. Finally, students are introduced to basic essay structure and begin to develop their academic writing skills by writing an opinion essay that includes paraphrased and quoted information from at least one authentic outside source.


Level 4

The ELI Level 4 course is designed to improve the grammar proficiency and academic writing skills of students at the CEFR level B2/C1. In this course, students read academic texts on a variety of topics, identifying target vocabulary, grammatical structures, and expressions illustrated in them. Students study the form, meaning, and use of the language, and then apply it in productive tasks that progress gradually in difficulty from paragraph to essay writing. Using the core textbook and supplementary online activities, students practice a variety of organizational strategies for different types of formal papers, including narrative, cause and effect, problem-solution,  summary response, and persuasive essays. Students analyze texts and recorded talks in paired and group discussions, as well as learn notetaking strategies to organize ideas. Topics covered in the text come from a range of disciplines, including sociology, history, anthropology, public health and communication. By developing supported arguments and evaluating others’ points of view, students increase their ability to initiate discourse and participate with fluency and spontaneity.  Students also independently practice the skills they are learning using an online writing tool, and apply their learning in timed in-class writing tasks. During regular writing workshops, students practice peer review and gain feedback on written drafts.


It is curious to think that English connect with everyone. When I looked at ELI City College in New York, I didn't know what the original experience would be like. The classroom environment is interactive, knowing each other more, thinking about how unique your classmates are, and how different the way of doing activities is. I met qualified teachers who taught me proper grammar in a fun and interesting way.

-Jose Aldazabal (Peru) Fall 2019 English Language Institute 


The ELI program at City College of New York has been a great contribution to my university studies and my daily life. This program helped me to improve my English and personal skills due to its high quality of studies material and qualified professors. One interesting point is that this institute presents proficiency in English exams of any kind which is based on Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing. Therefore, those skills allowed me to achieve my goals and feel more confident in communicating with other people. The last point is worth emphasizing is I made plentiful international friends which performed my learning fruitful.

-Ronny Vintimilla (Ecuador) Summer 2019 English Language Institute


It was a great experience learning English at ELI at City College. I would highly recommend this program for anyone who is interested in continuing education in the United States. They have great teachers who are knowledgeable, understandable, professional and friendly. Also, they have awesome materials that come from Cambridge University with access to an online website that we use to make homework and practice. But, what I loved more than anything else was the diversity that they have in the classrooms. I have learned more than English!

-Kareem Ahmed (Egypt) Fall 2019 English Language Institute 


I spent one year in the ESL program in City College and it was an amazing experience for me. I started in the beginning level and thanks the program my reading, speaking, listening and writing skills improved a lot. Today I don't feel insecure about speaking in English anymore. I had excellent and dedicated teachers along with professional and helpful administrators. Also, I met people from different countries and learned about their cultures and their personal experiences; something that I will never forget. It is an intensive program with work every day, allowing us to practice constantly what we learned in class. So, if you really want to improve your English skills, this program is totally recommendable because prepares the students for their future life in the university or in their jobs. 

-Nevenka Restovic (Chile) Summer 2019 English Language Institute


Current ELI Policies

  • For student withdrawals, the registration fee is non-refundable. If a student withdraws before the first day of classes, tuition is refunded minus the $25 processing fee.

  • After the first class meeting, no refund will be issued. • Payment must be made in full by the first day of classes, or a $50 late payment fee will be charged.

  • Refund requests must be accompanied by your receipt. The processing of refunds takes one to four weeks.

  • Credit card refunds are credited back to the card used to register for the course(s). Refund via check will be mailed 4 to 6 weeks after cancelled registration


We offer discounts to ELI full-time students interested in registering for a certificate program offered by the School of Continuing and Professional Studies. The discount will be applied toward the tuition of the Certificate Program. Discounts vary based on the certification.