Health and Counseling

Health insurance

The cost of health care in the United States is very high; a short stay in the hospital can cost thousands of dollars. International students, scholars, or dependents who are in the U.S. on temporary, nonimmigrant visas such as F or J, are not eligible for U.S. government programs like Medical Assistance or Medicaid. You can protect yourself from the high cost of health care by obtaining health insurance coverage.

Western Michigan University requires all students to purchase and maintain health insurance. In an effort to ensure that international students have adequate insurance coverage, the University has adopted a “hard waiver” program. This program requires international students to carry health insurance which meets specific coverage requirements.

Aetna health insurance

All WMU international students, exchange visitors, students involved in the CELCIS (ESL) program and visiting scholars taking credit hours are automatically enrolled in the Basic insurance plan from Aetna Student Health at registration, unless proof of comparable coverage is furnished. All insured students automatically enrolled in the Basic insurance plan may purchase the Comprehensive coverage instead.

Graduate appointees

International graduate students who are also graduate assistants are eligible to enroll using your graduate appointee* benefit subsidy. This may be completed only at the beginning of the fall and/or spring semesters.

*Appointees are those graduate students who have been awarded University Fellowships, Associateships, or Assistantships.

For complete information about the basic and comprehensive plans available:

  1. Visit www.aetnastudenthealth.com.
  2. Click on "Find Your School."
  3. Search for and click on "Western Michigan University."
  4. Select the "Benefit Details" tab located to the left.

All eligible dependents must be enrolled online. Eligible dependents are defined as a spouse and/or unmarried children under 19 years of age, or 23 years, if a full-time student at an accredited institution of higher learning who are not self-supporting. Dependent eligibility expires concurrently with that of the insured student. International students wishing to change to the comprehensive plan or ask any questions regarding the WMU Student Health Insurance Program may contact the WMU Insurance Manager, Cindy Clegg, at cindy.clegg@wmich.edu or (269) 387-3266.

Sindecuse Health Center

Located on the main campus, WMU's Sindecuse Health Center offers lower cost, quality care for illness or injury—for students, faculty, staff and their eligible family members—by appointment or walk-in. Many insurance plans are accepted.  Services include: 

  • Full-service pharmacy to fill prescriptions and to purchase common over-the-counter drugs
  • Lab and x-ray – outside orders accepted
  • Physical therapy and athletic training
  • Preventive health services
  • Clinic and nursing services

Counseling Services at Sindecuse Health Center

Counseling Services personnel focus on educational, career, and personal counseling needs, with emphasis on outreach and prevention programs to promote mental health.
Phone: (269) 387-1850

International Circle—A confidential, safe support group for WMU's international students.

Center for Counseling and Psychological Services

Individual counseling for persons experiencing personal, educational, or vocational concerns is the primary service offered by the staff throughout the year. Other services such as marital/family therapy, group counseling and psychological assessment are offered periodically. When problems presented are not within the staff's scope of practice, appropriate referral sources are identified for clients.
Phone: (269) 387-5105

Student Recreation Center

The University Student Recreation Center promotes healthy life-style choices, team building, leadership skills, and opportunities for positive social interaction. Outstanding fitness options include:

  • Open recreation
  • Intramural sports
  • Fitness programs