ISSS-BU News 11 February 2013 ISSS-BU News


An electronic news service for international students and scholars, owned by the Office of International Student and Scholar Services at Binghamton University, State University of New York

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Editor’s Note: Thursday is Valentine’s Day! Next Monday, February 18 will be Presidents Day in the United States, a federal holiday. Banks and Post Offices will be closed. BU classes will be in session and most University offices will be open.

The Office of International Student and Scholar Services hopes to open access to Glacier Tax Prep later this week. Glacier Tax Prep is the income tax preparation software for filing your federal tax forms. E-mail messages will be sent out once Glacier is available.

The ISSS will soon receive its supply of income tax forms. However, if you are using Glacier Tax Prep, it will print all the necessary Federal forms. New York State tax forms for non residents can be accessed on line at this link: http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/taxes/nysformit.html You are urged not to attempt to file the New York State income tax forms until the New York State Income Tax webcasts are posted, which will be in two weeks. The tax webcasts will take you line-by-line through each of the two required New York State forms.

CONTENTS:
1. Welcome New International Students to ISSS-BU News
2. International Health Insurance ID Cards and Insurance Information
3. International Student Grant-In-Aid Applications are Now Available
4. Additional Sources of Financial Assistance for BU International Students
5. Applying for Off-Campus Employment Due to Economic Hardship If You Are In F-1 Status
6. Harpur Peer Advisor Information Session Tuesday, February 12 at 6:00 PM7. Pursuit of Academic Success – Group for First Year Undergraduate International Students Starts Wednesday February 13!
8. International Connection Club First Meeting Is Thursday, February 14 at 7:30m
9. Are You an Undergraduate Student Who Is Graduating at the End of the Spring 2013 Semester?
10. Register to attend Spring 2013 Commencement
11. Hertz On Demand Car Rentals Welcomes You Back!
12. Planning to Travel During Spring Break? Thinking About Taking a Cruise?
13. Understanding Your International Student Health Insurance
14. I Keep Receiving E-mail Messages Titled “Part-Time Job Opportunity.” Can I Do It?

1. Welcome New International Students to ISSS-BU News

We are pleased to welcome our Spring 2013 new student subscribers to ISSS-BU News. You will receive your issues in your Binghamton.edu email account. Each Monday, ISSS-BU News brings you information regarding immigration and other U.S. federal regulations, announcements, and employment opportunities.

The best way to read ISSS-BU News is to first scan the “contents” section for articles of interest to you. Weekly editions of ISSS-BU News are also posted to the ISSS website; http://isss-new.binghamton.edu Just go the website and click on “ISSS-BU News.” Generally, the website is updated each Monday with the latest issue.

2. International Health Insurance ID Cards and Insurance Information

BU international students enrolled in the University’s mandatory international health insurance plan for the Spring 2013 semester should have received an email message to their Binghamton.edu email accounts last week from enrollment@HTH Worldwide.com. The subject line of the message was: SUNY-Your Health Insurance ID Card.

Please open the email message if you have not already done so, make note of the certificate number assigned to you, and follow instructions to go the www.hthstudents.com website and access and print your health insurance ID card.

The only international students who would not have received an email message last week are:

  • Those who asked to be issued ID cards earlier this semester due to medical appointments or other needs
  • Those who have an approved waiver or adjustment of insurance coverage (generally due to comparable coverage, or having insurance as a funded graduate student employee, or because they are currently in their home country).
  • Those having an issue with their Binghamton.edu email account

Sometimes, students have trouble accessing their insurance id cards, even when following the instructions in the HTH email. If you have a problem/question about your insurance ID card, please contact the ISSS health insurance team at intl.insure@binghamton.edu or come to health insurance walk-in hours Tuesdays from 10:15am to Noon.

For the Spring 2013 semester, your insurance dates back to 15 January 2013. The cost of the SUNY International Student Health and Accident Insurance is included in your tuition bill (INT’L. INS.).

For further information, please visit the “Health Insurance section of the ISSS webpage, http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/health-insurance/index.html Review How to Use Your International Student Health Insurance. If you need to locate a doctor or health care facility, review Finding a Participating Doctor or Hospital.

If you have questions about your health insurance coverage, or about a billing for services you receive from a doctor’s office or hospital, request an appointment with Terry Creeden, the International Health Insurance Coordinator by calling or visiting the ISSS office for an appointment, 607-777-2510. Terry and Lorraine Medionte, the International Health Insurance Assistant, also have walk in hours every Tuesday from 10:15am until 12 Noon. You may e-mail Terry and Lorraine at intl.insure@binghamton.edu

3. International Student Grant-In-Aid Applications Are Now Available

Each semester, awards of up to $500 are made to a small number of international students who have a severe financial need. To be eligible, students must be in F-1 or J-1 status, have been in attendance at Binghamton University at least one year (began their studies at Binghamton University in Spring 2012 or earlier), document need, have no outstanding obligations to the university, and be full-time students in good standing.

Some students may find themselves in financial difficulty through no fault of their own. Examples can include reduced support from a sponsor, or unanticipated expenses. Applicants are strongly advised to carefully document their financial situation when submitting the application form, as there are always more students seeking assistance than there are funds.

Students with outstanding balances in their student account with the University should note that based on BU policy, any scholarship award will first be applied towards the balance on their student bill. Applications are available now in the Office of International Student and Scholar Services and must be submitted no later than Thursday, February 28, 2013.

4. Additional Sources of Financial Assistance for BU International Students

Are you familiar with the fact sheet that the Office of International Student and Scholar Services has prepared that summarizes various sources of financial assistance for BU international students? Copies are available in the ISSS, or you can read the fact sheet on line at:

http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/publications/stuFinNeed.html

5. Applying for Off-Campus Employment Due to Economic Hardship If You Are In F-1 Status

The fact sheet on financial assistance mentioned in the previous article includes information on “Off-Campus Employment Due to Economic Hardship.” This is an employment benefit available to F-1 students based on an application filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Here is a brief summary of the benefit and the requirements:

  • Part time off-campus employment during the school year (full-time in summers or vacation periods), valid for any kind of work in any of the fifty U.S. states
  • Student must be currently in F-1 status, registered full-time and has been full time as an F-1 for two consecutive semesters at the time of application
  • $380 filing fee (currently) and takes 90 days to process
  • Valid for one year if approved, can be renewed

Take Note! There is a significant level of documentation that USCIS requires for this application, including:

  • provide evidence of economic hardship based on unforeseen circumstances beyond your control
  • demonstrate that on-campus employment is either unavailable or insufficient to meet your needs.
  • written evidence that supports any claim of a change in your financial circumstances
  • a listing of your current assets, expenses and income, including receipts, bills and bank statements to support what you submit
  • an outline of the departures from, and arrivals to, the United States that you have made since your initial arrival, including dates and reasons for each trip, as well as the cost

The regulations require that students make a good faith effort to locate employment on campus before applying for employment authorization based on economic hardship.

The regulations offer examples of unforeseen circumstances which may cause economic hardship, including:
· the loss of financial aid or on-campus employment without fault on the part of the student
· substantial fluctuations in the value of currency or exchange rates
· inordinate increases in tuition and/or living costs
· unexpected changes in the financial condition of a student's sponsor
· medical bills
· or other substantial and unexpected expenses.

For more information, visit http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/employment/econempl.html

Now that it is February, students who have been in F-1 status for at least two complete consecutive semesters and who are interested in applying for this benefit will want to file their applications this month so that they will receive their Employment Authorization Cards from USCIS in May, in time for Summer employment. These applications must first be reviewed and processed through the ISSS.

F-1 students who believe that they meet the requirements for this employment benefit and who can furnish the detailed documentation that is required to apply are encouraged to contact the ISSS to schedule an appointment with Ms. Karen Keefe-Guzikowski, Associate Director. Questions? Send your email message to intl.work@binghamton.edu

6. Harpur Peer Advisor Information Session Tuesday, February 12 at 6:00 PM

Harpur Academic Advising is selecting six new undergraduate interns for the Fall 2013-Spring 2014 academic year! This is an excellent opportunity for students interested in going into a career in higher education, counseling, human services fields or for students who want to strengthen their communication skills and build their professional resumes.

Students who are interested in the internship must attend a mandatory information session to learn more about the internship program. Students may attend one of two sessions held next week: 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12, in University Union -111 or 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13, in University Union -102 .

Details about the internship and application are available at http://harpur-advising.binghamton.edu. If you have questions about the program, contact Stephanie Vlajic at svlajic@binghamton.edu.

7. Pursuit of Academic Success – Group for First Year Undergraduate International Students Starts Wednesday February 13!

Group Facilitator: Sangmoon Kim, Ph.D.
Day & Time: Wednesdays 2:30-4:00pm
Location: International Conference Room, Hinman Commons Building, Room 120-B (come to the ISSS Main Office, for directions)

Hello first year undergraduate international students at Binghamton University!
You are cordially invited to the “Pursuit of Academic Success” group. Join this group to:
· Meet other new international students
· Learn strategies to deal with barriers to academic success
· Share your concerns
· Find out about resources available to you
· Receive guidance and direction form Binghamton University staff
· Weekly attendance is not required by highly recommended

There are challenges that are part of any international student’s experience. Each week a different challenge or barrier will be discussed. This group is a drop-in meeting and weekly attendance is not required. You can selectively participate in the meeting based upon the topic of the week. However, weekly attendance is HIGHLY recommended to maximize your benefit.

At the first meeting, Dr. Sangmoon Kim, staff psychologist at the University Counseling Center, will explain how this group can help you in depth. Any question or suggestion you have for this group will be discussed as well. There will be some social interactions among participants. For example, participants will introduce themselves to each other and will be invited to discuss their responses to the topic for each meeting. We hope to see you at this meeting! For more information, contact sakim@binghamton.edu

8. International Connection Club First Meeting Is Thursday, February 14 at 7:30m

International Connection Club is hosting its first General Meeting on Thursday Feb.14 from 7:30pm-9:00pm in University Union Room108. If you missed our GIM, it will be great chance for you to catch up! International Connection is a club that aims to raise awareness of diverse cultures on campus and expose students to different cultures. To bring together and educate BU students from around the world about various living styles, including America, we hosted "Binghamton's Got Talent" last semester. By hosting once every two-week regular club meetings we created a platform of opportunities to bridge the gap between international and American students and foster inter-cultural connections among students. Different activities such as: games, debates, presentations and discussions will be organized during our meetings. Join us on Thursday and make friends with student from all over the world! Free Pizza and drinks will be provided.

9. Are You an Undergraduate Student Who Is Graduating at the End of the Spring 2013 Semester?

The Application for Undergraduate Degree (AFD) is Now Available.

Undergraduate students planning to complete degree requirements at the end of Spring 2013 must submit the Application for Degree (AFD) available now on BU BRAIN, “Student” tab. The deadline is Friday, April 5, to guarantee inclusion in the Commencement program.

Complete graduation requirements and Commencement information can be found at http://www2.binghamton.edu/registrar/students/graduation.html.

10. Register to attend Spring 2013 Commencement

The Commencement Participation Form (CPF) is now available on the Commencement website at http://www2.binghamton.edu/commencement/spring/students/graduation-checklist.html. All undergraduate and graduate students who wish to attend the spring ceremony in May 2013 should complete the CPF. Not sure which ceremony is for you? Don’t worry – the form eliminates the guess work by asking a few simple questions.

11. Hertz On Demand Car Rentals Welcomes You Back!

Planning a last-minute road trip out of town for the weekend? Don't have a car? If you are a member of Hertz on Demand, you can rent a car whenever you want! We have three cars located right here on campus. But remember, you need to be a member before you can rent! Not sure if you'll ever rent a car? No problem! It is free to join; you only pay when you make a reservation. Better safe than sorry! Become a member today by going to http://www.hertzondemand.com/binghamtonuniversity/SignUp/Index Also, "like" our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/BinghamtonHertzOnDemand to stay up to date on all Hertz on Demand promos!

12. Planning to Travel During Spring Break? Thinking About Taking a Cruise?

The ISSS has recently updated its Spring Break travel information on the ISSS website, and you can view it at this link: http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/travel/springbrk.html

Planning to take a cruise? Read the essential information international students need to know here: http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/travel/cruise.html

13. Understanding Your International Student Health Insurance

The international health insurance team has developed a PowerPoint presentation to help you better understand your health insurance. The presentation is used during international student orientation and is very well received. To view the presentation, visit the Health Insurance web pages at: http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/health-insurance/index.html
Or click on this direct link.

Do you have questions about your international health insurance? Please contact the ISSS health insurance team at intl.insure@binghamton.edu

14. I Keep Receiving E-mail Messages Titled “Part-Time Job Opportunity.” Can I Do It?

Have you ever received an e-mail that is similar to the one below?

“Dear Student,

We offer the opportunity for home workers, nationwide to perform entry-level assignments. Our company is committed to providing quality, professional services to our clients.

We seek honest, self - motivated people with a desire to work in the home typing and data entry field area. The preferred applicants should be at least 18 years old. No experience is needed. Average weekly earnings start at $1000 to $3000 in the first couple weeks and increases as you continue to work with our agency.

You will not have to devote full time hours. These assignments can be done on your time. They may be done in Internet cafes or where ever you can get Internet access.

If you are interested in making money using your computer at home or at school just reply to my email!”

Work from home job postings are everywhere. There are listings for data entry jobs, research positions, multi-level marketing opportunities, and a variety of other ways to make a lot of money fast. In fact, there are so many of them that work at home schemes are on the (U.S.) National Consumers League's list of Top 10 Frauds.

Most work-at-home jobs don't guarantee regular, salaried employment. Many neglect to mention that you have to work many hours without pay. Others require that you spend your own money for products or instructions before finding out how the offer works. And the "work" may entail getting others to sign up for the same job--which continues the fraud. Work-at-home scams have cost victims thousands of dollars.

For international students, “working from home” even if the opportunity was from a legitimate company, requires prior authorization. Since federal regulations governing F-1 and J-1 students only permit employment if certain criteria are met, the vast majority of F-1 and J-1 students cannot accept employment that involves “work-at-home.”

If you have a question whether or not a job opportunity is legal, always contact the international employment team at the Office of International Student and Scholar Services, intl.work@binghamton.edu .

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Last Updated: 8/28/14