ISSS-BU News 07 January 2013 ISSS-BU News


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Are you assisting new international students? Many new students have begun to arrive at Binghamton. New international students who have not yet visited the ISSS should come to the ISSS this week to pick up an early arrival packet. Orientation begins Wednesday, January 23, 2013 (see article below).

CONTENTS:

1. Spring 2013 Student Bills Are Now Posted For Students Who Advance Registered
2. New International Student Orientation Begins Wednesday, January 23
3. Course Registration Information for Spring 2013
4. Important Caution to BU International Students  When Taking On-Line Courses
5. Why Do I Have SO Many I-20s?
6. Income Tax Information : Income Tax Benefits If Attending a US College or University

1. Spring 2013 Student Bills Are Now Posted For Students Who Advance Registered

Spring 2013 student bills are now posted for students who have advance-registered. Notifications of student bills are sent to the students Binghamton.edu email account, and can also be viewed on BU Brain. Students who have not yet registered for the Spring 2013 semester will not have a student bill generated until a course registration is made. Once the bill is generated, notification will be sent by email, with the due date for that bill.

Students are reminded that they can identify other individuals (such as a family member) to have access to their student bill to make a payment. For full information, go to:

http://studentaccounts.binghamton.edu/paypro.htm

2. New International Student Orientation Begins Wednesday, January 23

International Student Orientation activities begin Wednesday, January 23, and orientation packets will be distributed during orientation check-in, Wednesday January 23, 7:00am to 9:00am in the University Union Old Union Hall

Detailed information on International Student Orientation will soon be available on line at:

http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/orientation/index.html

3. Course Registration Information for Spring 2013

Please note that compliance with the University’s Immunization Requirements is a pre-requisite for registration for new students. New international students with any questions or concerns regarding these requirements will find additional information at the following link:

http://www2.binghamton.edu/health/new-students.html

The University’s registration system on BU Brain http://bubrain.binghamton.edu will be turned on for Spring 2013 course registration beginning Wednesday, January 23, 2013 for new students and Friday, January 25, 2013 for continuing students. The system will be available seven days a week until the evening of the course withdrawal deadline, which is April 5, 2013. Course adds will be accepted until the deadline of Friday, February 8. The system will accept course drops and deletes until the course drop deadline, Friday, February 8. After that date, the system will allow for course withdrawals until the course withdrawal deadline of April 5. Please note that students who drop courses during the course withdrawal period will receive a grade of W.

Schedule of Classes

The Schedule of Classes for Spring 2013 is available online at http://bubrain.binghamton.edu

The online schedule is the most up to date and accurate source of course information and is the only published version of the Schedule of Classes.

Students with outstanding debts to the University, and students who have not complied with University Health Service requirements will be blocked from registering. Students can also view their account balances and pay any outstanding debts through BU Brain, http://bubrain.binghamton.edu.

Registration Starting Times and Room Assignments

Students are assigned starting times for spring registration according to their total cumulative credits, not including advance registration credits. Students can check their total cumulative credits by going to BU Brain http://bubrain.binghamton.edu

You can view and print your schedule from BU Brain at any time. Student schedules will not be mailed. Please look online for your classroom assignments.

* Classroom assignments are subject to change. Assignments on BU Brain are the most

accurate and up to date.

4. Important Caution to BU International Students When Taking On-Line Courses

Most international students are aware that US federal regulations limit the number of on-line or distance learning classes that can be taken by F-1 visa holders, even if the classes are offered by Binghamton University. A full description of the rules can be found at:
http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/immigration/rulecourse.html

If a student needs only one course to finish his or her program of study in the final semester (and this includes Summer Session or Winter Session), it cannot be taken through online/distance education. There must be a physical presence requirement for the course. If a student remains in the United States without reporting to any class, it becomes a security issue and cannot be allowed.

Recently, several students who took only a distance learning class in their final semester have found that they are not eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT) because the distance learning course taken by itself, with no other physical presence courses, is a violation of F-1 regulations. Don’t less this happen to you! If you have questions, send an email message to isss@binghamton.edu or set up an appointment with one of the advisors.

5. Why Do I Have So Many I-20s?

When the US federal government established the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) in 2002, many of the federal regulations governing F-1 and J-1 students changed. Among the most significant regulations were changes to ensure the security of the production of I-20s and DS-2019s, to prevent fraud. As a result, in addition to the initial I-20 issued to students, schools are required to prepare new I-20s for F-1 students whenever a student:

  • Changes or adds a major, minor or concentration
  • Changes level of study
  • Extends the ending date of the I-20
  • Registers for the first time after previously attending another US school
  • Adds a F-2 dependent to the SEVIS record
  • Removes a F-2 dependent from the SEVIS record
  • Needs a new I-20 to apply for a US visa abroad
  • Loses or damages an I-20
  • Has no remaining travel endorsement lines on page 3 of the I-20
  • Applies for reinstatement to student status
  • Applies for curricular practical training
  • Applies for optional practical training
  • Applies for economic hardship employment or employment with an international organization
  • Needs to correct an error or update information on the I-20

Thus, it is not unusual for a student to have many I-20s! This can be frustrating for students, who wonder what they are supposed to do with so many pieces of paper, and need to determine which is the one to use for travel.

Here is advice from the ISSS about what to do with those I-20s:

  • You must save all I-20s, even the ones that are no longer valid or are from a school you previously attended. Keep them together and in a safe place. You may also wish to make a set of photocopies as well (pages 1 and 3), and keep them in a location different from where you keep the originals. Those I-20s represent your immigration history in the United States. When you seek certain benefits from the US government such as employment, you may be asked to present copies of all previously issued I-20s as part of your application.
  • The most recently issued I-20 is your current travel document. To tell which I-20 is the current one, check the issue date in the lower right hand corner of Page 1.

The ISSS knows that multiple I-20s can be cumbersome. But, it is all done to be in compliance with federal regulations.

6. Income Tax Information: Income Tax Benefits If Attending a US College or University

This is part of a weekly series of "Income Tax Information" that appear in ISSS-BU News. To view back issues go to: http://isss-new.binghamton.edu and click on "ISSS-BU News."

Today's income tax article is about income tax benefits for students attending a U.S. college or University, and the associated Form 1098-T, “Tuition Statement.” This form is sent by U.S. colleges and universities to its students, to be used by the student, or the student’s parents, for claiming an education tax credit on their federal income tax forms. Some students may receive form 1098-T from Binghamton University.

However, only those individuals who are residents for tax purposes can claim one of the three tax benefits available, known as the American Opportunity Credit, the Lifelong Learning Credit, and the Tuition and Fees Deduction. Eligibility for these three income tax benefits is explained in IRS publication 970 Tax Benefits for Education, which can be viewed and printed from the IRS web site, http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p970.pdf or ordered by calling 1-800-TAX-FORM. Please note that the on-line publication is a 87–page pdf file, and you will need Adobe Acrobat reader or some other pdf reader to download it.

International students who have been continuously in F-1 or J-1 status for five years or less (entered the U.S as F-1 or J-1 2008 or later) generally file income tax forms as non-residents. IRS publication 970 clearly states that non-residents are not eligible for any of the three education benefits. See pgs 11, 21 and 38 of the 2011 edition of the publication that is currently on-line.

Thus, only those international students who have been continuously in F-1 or J-1 status for MORE than five years (entered the U.S. as F-1 or J-1 in 2008 or earlier) and who generally file income tax forms as residents for tax purposes, may be eligible to claim these benefits, which are based on the information provided on Form 1098-T.

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Last Updated: 8/28/14