The International Student Handbook

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1 1 The International Student Handbook St. Thomas Aquinas College welcomes international students to our campus and our International Student Counselor can help you with all of your concerns. I. Application Process 1) Application: $25 application fee is waived for International Students 2) Transfer Students: World Education Services (WES) is required for all students who have attended another College and want to transfer to St. Thomas Aquinas College. 3) New Freshmen: students who have not attended College and are or will be high school graduates: we require a course by course evaluation upon completion of high school studies. 4) TOEFL Scores- Required for all students whose primary language is not English unless they have earned a N.Y.S. Regents Diploma or their primary instruction has been English - score of 80 or higher. 5) SAT or ACT Scores- Students are required to take the SAT or ACT as part of their application to the college. These scores are also used together with high school grades to determine scholarship 6) Essay/Personal Statement 7) Letter of Recommendation Once your application is complete, a decision will be made and you will be notified within a few weeks. St. Thomas Aquinas College: Call Visit:

2 2 II. Accepted Students Preparing for I-20 What is an I-20? All students, regardless of any treaty arrangements regarding travel, are required to have an I20 issued from the college they plan to attend, and also an F1 student VISA unless you are traveling under another classification that legally entitles you to enroll in a college in the United States. The I20 is a Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Students. This document allows students abroad to apply for an F-1 Student Visa at their consulate in order to be able to travel to the U.S. to pursue a degree. By issuing an I-20 STAC is verifying that you have been admitted as a full time student and that upon admission you have the means necessary to fund the fund the full course of study. As an accepted student, you will be required to submit financial documents necessary to support the student for the full course of study. The items listed below are required for submission. We can accept copies, however the original documents must be submitted during the VISA interview at your Consulate. We encourage that you get these documents notarized. 1. Tax Returns-most recent years 2. Bank Statement most recent being less than two months old 3. Proof of Income-pay stubs that verify the income listed on tax return 4. Affidavit- to verify any support coming from other sources 5. Proof of outside scholarships or funding 6. Lease, deeds, rent receipts and utility bills-these can be used as additional support to prove financial stability 7. I 20 application (see end of booklet) 8. Financial worksheet undergraduate studies (see end of booklet) 9. Transfer Eligibility Verification (Transfer students only) (see end of booklet) St. Thomas Aquinas College: Call Visit:

3 3 III. Accepted Students Preparing for VISA Now that you have the I-20, you are required to pay the SEVIS fee of $200 at This fee must be paid before the VISA interview at the Consulate. Please note that the Visa cannot be issued earlier than 4 months before the program start date. 1. Get Visa Photo File online DS-160 Non-immigrant Visa Electronic Application. Apply at For frequently asked question go to 3. Pay Visa application Fee $140+ at 4. Make an appointment for Visa Interview Go To Next Page St. Thomas Aquinas College: Call Visit:

4 4 IV. The Visa Appointment To prepare for the interview gather the following evidence and bring these with you: 1. MRV Fee receipt for Visa application 2. Receipt for SEVIS fee payment 3. Passport Valid for at least 6 months beyond the program end date 4. Form I Evidence of funding for the full course of the program which has to be less than 6 months old. All copies must be original. 6. Tax Returns 7. Bank Statement Most recent being less than two months old 8. Proof of Income which should be a series of pay stubs 9. Affidavit - A written statement of facts, sworn to and signed by a deponent before a notary public or some other authority having the power to witness an oath. In other words, when you sign an affidavit, you re simply attesting, under law, that you swear a statement written in the affidavit is true. 10. Lease, deeds, rent receipts and utility bills 11. Letter of admission to St. Thomas Aquinas College 12. Test scores and academic records which are transcripts and diplomas. These must be official documents from your previous school or institution. 13. Evidence of compelling ties. This means evidence that proves that you will return back home after course of study. This can include the following: Previous US travel Plans upon return Family Socioeconomic issues Career Opportunities (Proof that major will aid you in home country) Documentary evidence (Documents proving ties to community) 14. Documents are crucial 15. Practice your English 16. Have an Educational goal that can be expressed to the interview. EXAMPLE: purpose of the degree 17. Understanding that the interview is intended for you to prove the purpose of desiring to attend school in the US and that you will be returning 18. Do not mention working while in the US St. Thomas Aquinas College: Call Visit:

5 5 VI. Financial Aid/Scholarships International students cannot receive U.S. or New York State aid. International students are eligible for college scholarships and awards. St. Thomas Aquinas College will provide you with a financial aid award notice that lists all your scholarships. International applicants are required to show that they have sufficient funds to support themselves during their entire length of stay to complete their program of study. The amount and source of funds are necessary on the Certificate of Eligibility (I-20) when applying for F-1 visas VII. Accepted Students New International (F-1) Students: You must keep your passport valid. You must also report a new address within 10 days of moving to the college you attend. You must attend the school that you are authorized to attend as indicated on your I-20 and you must be a full time student. You must maintain registration each semester until graduation. You must obtain permission from the College's international student advisor to drop below full-time. There are limited exceptions to the full-time course rule. You are permitted to move from one educational level to another (Undergraduate to Master's) and you are permitted to transfer from one school to another. Both of these actions require prior approval. You are permitted to oncampus employment of 20 hours per week if you have the proper working papers in order. New international students are required to provide a medical history form and verification of several immunizations. To be completed by a physician in your home country and returned to Health Services at least one month before you arrive in the United States. An Immunization form is in the back of this booklet. Go To Next Page St. Thomas Aquinas College: Call Visit:

6 6 VII. Enrolled Students Curricular Practical Training (CPT) CPT is employment directly related to the student s field of study. It must be an integral part of the curriculum. It can be a paid or unpaid internship, practicum, or other type of employment arranged with the approval of the student s department. It may take place during the academic year and/or the summer. CPT may be required or recommended. What do I need to apply? Curricular Practical Training Form Academic Advisor Recommendation Form Letter from Employer o Give the starting and ending date of the position o Give the number of hours to be worked each week o Include a brief description of job duties Example of Letter from Employer Date To Whom It May Concern: (Student's Name) has been offered the position of (name of position). This position begins on (start date) and ends on (end date). The position will be for (number of hours) each week. The duties of this position will include: (brief description of duties) Sincerely, Name of employer Go To Next Page St. Thomas Aquinas College: Call Visit:

7 7 Optional Practical Training (OPT) OPT is a paid employment directly related to your major area of study. Students in F-1 status must have been lawfully enrolled in school on a full time basis for at least one full academic year to be eligible for OPT. It is limited to a total of 12 months. A student becomes eligible for another 12 months of practical training when he/she changes to a higher educational level. F-1 students may be authorized to participate in OPT prior to completion of studies. However the post-completion OPT period must be reduced if students have been previously authorized to work part-time in OPT or if students have spent more than one year in full-time Curricular Practical Training (CPT). Note that parttime OPT is calculated at a rate of one half of full-time OPT. A student must apply for Post-Completion Optional Practical Training during their final semester of course requirements. To apply for Post-Completion Optional Practical Training, the student must submit to the Designated School Official (DSO) required paperwork and forms (see Application for OPT). What do I need to apply? Optional Practical Training Form (see form at end of booklet) Completed academic advisor recommendation form (see form at end of booklet) Complete form I-765. Sign your name with a BLUE ink pen (see form) You may use the admissions office address for delivery of the EAD card or you may use a residential address (you can use your own or a friend/family member who can send the EAD card to you when it arrives. $ check or money order made payable to US Citizenship and Immigration Services or Department of Homeland Security. Photocopy of most recent I-94 (both sides) and visa Photocopy of the identity pages of your passport, which includes your picture. A copy of any previous EAD Card (both sides) if applicable 2 Photos with a white background Include a photocopy (not original) of your SEVIS I-20 for OPT, pages 1 and 3, after it is endorsed by the Office of Admissions. Include photocopies of all other previous I-20s issued to you by St. Thomas Aquinas College. Include photocopies of all I-20s issued to you by any other U.S. school you attended The cover sheet from international advisor to USCIS St. Thomas Aquinas College: Call Visit:

8 St Thomas Aquinas College 125 Route 340, Sparkill, NY Phone: Fax: ANNUAL COSTS FOR UNDERGRADUATE INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS Tuition Fees $28,740 Room & Board Costs $12,030 *PERSONAL ITEMS AND CLOTHING: $ 1,500 *TRANSPORTATION: $ 1,000 *BOOKS AND SUPPLIES: $ 1,000 LIVING COSTS Average living costs for a semester based school year are listed below. This is a modest, no extras budget. It does not include cell phone service, for example. It is highly recommended that you bring at least 10% more. This includes local transportation only. Travel to and from your country, or the costs of owning a car are additional expenses TOTAL ESTIMATED ANNUAL LIVING COSTS: $ 15,530 Dependent Costs If you are going to be accompanied by a spouse or child, you must show additional evidence of financial capability to cover their annual expenses in the following amount: $16,380 annually for your spouse; $5,232 for each child. (These costs do not include medical insurance, estimated at an additional $3,276 per year for your spouse and $1,126 for your child.) YOUR ESTIMATED ANNUAL COSTS: Tuition Fees $28,740 Room & Board Costs $12,030 *PERSONAL ITEMS AND CLOTHING: $ 1,500 *TRANSPORTATION: $ 1,000 *BOOKS AND SUPPLIES: $ 1,000 DEPENDENT COSTS: TOTAL ESTIMATED ANNUAL COSTS: EXPECT ANNUAL INCREASES OF APPROXIMATELY 10% IN EXPENSES

9 St Thomas Aquinas College 125 Route 340, Sparkill, NY Phone: Fax: Application for a Form I-20 PART I: Personal Information 1. Name in Passport: (enter your name exactly as shown in your passport) Family/Last Name First Name Middle Name 2. Date of Birth: Month Day Year 3. Gender: Male or Female 4. Country of Birth: 5. Country of Citizenship: 6. Country of Permament Residence: 7. Permanent address in home country: Number and Street Name (apt if applicable) City Postal Code Country 8. Address in the United States (if known): Number and Street Name (apt if applicable) City Postal Code Country 9. Dependents: A student wishing to have his/her family member (s) accompany him/her must document the following amounts for each family member per calendar year of intended study: Spouse: $12,700 per calendar year; each child: $3,036 per calendar year. I plan to come without dependents The following dependents will accompany me (list name and relationship): 1. Name (Family/First/Middle) Date of Birth(M/D/Y) Country of Birth Country of Citizenship Gender Relation to you 2. Name (Family/First/Middle) Date of Birth(M/D/Y) Country of Birth Country of Citizenship Gender Relation to you 10. Telephone Fax 11. Have you notified been notified of your admission to our school? Circle one YES or NO please note that your Form I-20 cannot be issued until you are accepted

10 PART II: If you are in the United States NOW complete this section. If not, continue to PART III. What is your Immigration Status? You may attend school regardless of your immigration status. F-1 What is your SEVIS ID Number? N What is the purpose of your requested Form I-20? (Check One) School Transfer Change of education level at St Thomas Aquinas Reinstatement to F-1 Status Another Status: Which One? Before we issue your Form I-20, we want to advise you. Please make an appointment to see the international student advisor Do you plan to travel outside the U.S. before school starts? Yes Tell us how you would like to get your Form I-20 in Part III No If you are F-1, you will receive school transfer or other instructions If you hold another status, we must meet with you before issuing your Form I-20 PART III: If you are NOT in the U.S. now, complete this section DID YOU RECENTLY ATTEND SCHOOL IN THE US IN F-1 STUDENT STATUS? No Yes If yes, what was the last date of your attendance? If you attended at US school last term and are just home on holiday between academic terms, you are considered a School Transfer and need to have your record transferred to us before your Form I-20 may be issued. Please contact your international student advisor at your previous school immediately to authorize the release of your record to us. HOW DO YOU PREFER TO RECEIVE YOUR I-20? MAIL: Y our Form I-20 will be sent standard airmail to the name and address you indicate in the address box below. If you need express delivery service, you should request someone in the U.S. to pick it up and sent it to you. If that isn t possible, please contact our office. PRINT YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS IN ENGLISH, EXACTLY AS IT SHOULD APPEAR ON THE ENVELOPE Complete Name: Street 1: Street 2: City, State, Province: _ Postal Code, Country: _ HOLD for pick-up by: Name: Phone:

11 PART IV: Student s Statement of Financial Support What level of education will you be pursuing? (Associate s, Bachelor s, Master s, Doctorate, etc.) What will your major be? What are your annual costs at St Thomas Aquinas College? How will you be funding for every year of your program of study? Please check off your funding below and indicate how much will be provided or available to you ever year: Source(s) of my support Personal Funds: The amount available to me from my own resources every year is (divide by number of years in your program) Funds from this School: renewable every year Type: Cash Funds from a Sponsor: to be given to me every year Sponsor s name: Cash Funds from a Sponsor: to be given to me every year Sponsor s name: Cash Funds from a Sponsor: to be given to me every year Sponsor s name: Free Room and Board from a Sponsor: with whom I will live Sponsor s name: On-campus employment: complete this only if you have a firm offer of Employment or are presently working on campus. Attach evidence. Annual Amount Total amount available to me every year of study. This amount must be the same or more than your minimum annual costs.

12 The following documents are attached to prove my funding: My personal documents: Bank/asset statement Proof of Income/assets Funds from this School: Award Letter Copy of contract Cash Sponsor s documents: I understand that all three types of documents MUST be attached: Affidavit of Support Proof of Income Bank Statement Free Room and Board Sponsor s Documents (attach all four): Affidavit of Support Proof of Income Bank Statement Lease, deed, rent receipts, phone bill (that is, proof of residence)

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15 St Thomas Aquinas College 125 Route 340, Sparkill, NY Phone: Fax: CURRICULAR PRACTICAL TRAINING FORM Student s Name: (Please print) first middle last Phone: Current Address: Permanent Address in Home Country: Starting Date: End Date: Describe proposed employment: Contact Information: Nina Capitelli, Associate Director of Admissions Designated School Official

16 ACADEMIC ADVISOR S RECOMMENDATION Student s Name: (please print) first middle last Phone: Current Address: Permanent Address in Home Country: Field of Study: Starting Date: Previous Periods of Practical Training: Curricular Practical Training: Part-time or Full-time (circle one) Dates of CPT: Optional Practical Training: Dates of OPT: Curricular Practical Training: Dates: Part-time or Full-time (circle one) Name & Address of Employer: End Date: Duties:

17 Advisor completes this section: I anticipate that this student will complete all the requirements for their current program of study on or about: Please explain why this particular curricular practical training experience is integral to the student s academic program. How will this experience enhance his or her studies? (This information will be entered into the student s SEVIS record.) If this student is working on their thesis or final project, please check one of the following: I certify this CPT is directly related to this student s final project or thesis coursework. I certify this CPT is not directly related to this student s final project or thesis coursework. I certify that the curricular practical training experience, described above and in the employer s offer letter, is recommended for this student. This training is: A required part of the degree program (all students in program do practicum/internship) Not required by the degree program but recommended for this individual student Advisor s Signature Name & Title (please print) Department (please print) Telephone/ Date Contact Information: Nina Capitelli, Associate Director of Admissions Designated School Official Tel.: Fax:

18 OPTIONAL PRACTICAL TRAINING FORM Student s Name: (please print) first middle last Phone: Current Address: Permanent Address in Home Country: Starting Date: End Date: Describe proposed employment: Contact Information: Nina Capitelli, Associate Director of Admissions Designated School Official Tel.: Fax:

19 ACADEMIC ADVISOR S RECOMMENDATION Student s Name: (please print) first middle last Phone: Current Address: Permanent Address in Home Country: Field of Study: Starting Date: Previous Periods of Practical Training: Curricular Practical Training: Part-time or Full-time (circle one) Dates of CPT: Optional Practical Training: Dates of OPT: Curricular Practical Training: Dates: Part-time or Full-time (circle one) Name & Address of Employer: End Date: Duties:

20 Advisor completes this section: I anticipate that this student will complete all the requirements for their current program of study on or about: Please explain why this particular curricular practical training experience is integral to the student s academic program. How will this experience enhance his or her studies? (This information will be entered into the student s SEVIS record.) If this student is working on their thesis or final project, please check one of the following: I certify this CPT is directly related to this student s final project or thesis coursework. I certify this CPT is not directly related to this student s final project or thesis coursework. I certify that the curricular practical training experience, described above and in the employer s offer letter, is recommended for this student. This training is: A required part of the degree program (all students in program do practicum/internship) Not required by the degree program but recommended for this individual student Advisor s Signature Name & Title (please print) Department (please print) Telephone/ Date Contact Information: Nina Capitelli, Associate Director of Admissions Designated School Official Tel.: Fax:

21 St. Thomas Aquinas College F-1 Transfer Eligibility Verification For F-1 Students transferring out of STAC - (Section I & II): Please attach a copy of the admission letter from your new school For F-1 Students transferring in to STAC (Section I & III): Please attach a copy of your current I-20, your STAC admission letter, current evidence of funding, a copy of your passport identification page Submit this form along with supporting documentation via fax: or Section I. To be completed by the student: Name: Last First Middle Date of birth: Month/Day/Year I hereby authorize the information in section II.) or III.) to be released by/to St. Thomas Aquinas College. Signature Date: Section II. For Transfers Out of St. Thomas Aquinas College To be completed by the student: Transfer school name: Transfer school code: Requested SEVIS Transfer Out Date: Last date of attendance: Expected degree completion date: Section III. For Transfers Into St. Thomas Aquinas College: To be completed by the International Student Advisor (DSO) at your current institution St. Thomas Aquinas College s School Code for F-1: NYC214F Name of school: SEVIS ID #: SEVIS Transfer Release Date: Date student began at your institution: Last date of attendance To the best of your knowledge, is this student in lawful F-1 status and otherwise eligible for transfer? Yes No If no, please explain Name of DSO: Title: Telephone: DSO signature: Date:

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