Free Lance-Star reporter Amy Umble covers Stafford County schools and other education issues

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UMW enters into agreement with ESL company

The University of Mary Washington announced it is leasing office space in Eagle Village to ELS Education Services Inc. of Princeton University. The company provides English as a Second Language instruction to international students. UMW hopes the agreement will increase the number of international students at the Fredericksburg university. Visit the company’s website here.

Here’s a letter to faculty from UMW Provost Jay Harper:

Dear faculty colleagues,


I’m pleased to announce that the University of Mary Washington has entered into an agreement with ELS Education Services, Inc. of Princeton New Jersey to be providers of intensive instruction in English as a Second Language (ESL) to international students, some of whom may eventually apply to become UMW students.  ELS operates more than fifty language centers across the U.S. and Canada and they will soon open their newest center in Fredericksburg at Eagle Village.  The ELS centers provide intensive English language immersion training to international students who start the program at various levels of proficiency.  The goal is to help international students achieve a level of English proficiency that will enable them to perform effectively as students at U.S. colleges and universities. The Fredericksburg ELS center, staffed by experienced professionals selected by ELS, will contain classroom and language laboratories offering the latest in language instruction.  The new Fredericksburg ELS center will help us move toward the accomplishment of one of the goals outlined in the UMW Strategic Plan. Increasing the number of international students at UMW is a key component in our goal to “Recruit, enroll, and retain a high-achieving and diverse student body.”  We know that the one of the most difficult tasks for otherwise high-achieving international students is mastery of the English language at a level that will allow them to fulfill their potential as students.  At UMW, we have set the required English proficiency standards at a relatively high level because we want to challenge our students to think critically, write professionally within their discipline, and to speak clearly and effectively.  Students who have achieved the highest level of proficiency will be eligible to matriculate as college students, and we hope several of them will choose UMW after they become familiar with Fredericksburg and see what our campus has to offer.  ELS also has twenty international centers where students work to improve their English and learn about higher education opportunities in the United States. These international centers are fertile ground for attracting international students to Fredericksburg.   Our association with ELS means that literature about UMW and its programs will be provided to students at these international centers.  Many of these students may not have heard about UMW and what we have to offer.  Through our association with ELS, I expect to see significant increases in international students who will help to diversify and globalize our student body and community.  ELS will open their center in Eagle Village this November. Watch for more details about this exciting new development in a forthcoming edition of the Eagle Eye newsletter.  

J.A. Harper, Provost