ISSS-BU News   Spring 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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Welcome!! ISSS-BU News, the weekly electronic newsletter for Binghamton University's international students, is pleased to publish this special edition for newly admitted international students. Once you arrive on campus, you will be subscribed to ISSS-BU News. The subscription is free from any e-mail account. Each Monday, you will receive ISSS-BU News, containing important immigration and employment information of interest to international students. There are more than 6000 subscribers to ISSS-BU (it is one of the largest listservs at Binghamton University), and we look forward to welcoming you as a subscriber once the semester begins.

If you would like an advance look at what current BU students read each week, go to the ISSS web site, and click on “ISSS-BU News.” Our weekly issues are posted to the web site every Monday, and we hope you find them useful.

Recently, we sent information on visa strategies, travel matters, and health requirements to all new students. If you missed that message, you may read it on our website at:

In this special edition being sent only to new students, you will find information that we hope will be useful to you. There will be several more e-mail messages published in the next few weeks on topics important to you. We look forward to having you join our academic community later this month. Travel safely, and we'll see you soon.


1. Your Arrival Date
2. University Office Hours Until Classes Begin
3. Keeping the University Informed of Your Plans
4. International Student Orientation Begins January 23, 2013
5. Your University Immunization Requirements and Medical History Report
6. How to Get to Binghamton
7. Looking for an Apartment Off-Campus?
8. Obtaining Your Binghamton University E-mail Account
9. Special BMail Account Information for Students in China
10. Student Fees for Spring 2013
11. International Student Health Insurance Rates for Spring 2013
12. BU Center for Civic Engagement Welcomes new International Students!
13. What Will the Weather be Like?
14. Some Binghamton Area Information

1. Your Arrival Date

Your Binghamton I-20 (for F-1 students) or DS-2019 (for J-1 students) has a starting date on it of January 23, 2013 (January 21, 2013 for exchange students and January 22, 2013 Dual Diploma students from Turkey). Therefore, if you are traveling from abroad, you must enter the United States on the start date or up to thirty days earlier than the start date. Your I-20 or DS-2019 is not valid for entry to the United States after the start date.

New international students are expected to begin their orientation program on January 23, 2013. Check-in for orientation on Wednesday, January 23, 2013 will be continuous from 7:00am to 9:00am in the University Union, Old Union Hall. More information about international student orientation can be found below.

2. University Office Hours Until Classes Begin

All university offices are open prior to the start of classes. Through January 18, The Office of International Student and Scholar Services is open weekdays from 9:30am to 3:45pm, except Wednesdays, when the office is open from 11:30am to 3:45pm. Beginning January 22, 2013, the University’s hours change, and the ISSS is open weekdays from 10:00am to 4:30pm, except Wednesdays, when the office is open from 11:30am to 4:30pm. E-mail (, fax (1-607-777-2889) and voice mail (1-607-777-2510) are available 24/7.

3. Keeping the University Informed of Your Plans

If you are reading this special new student issue of ISSS-BU News, it is because our records show that you plan to enroll at Binghamton next semester. If for any reason, your plans have changed, it is very important that you let the university know. Such notification may be done by letter, fax or by sending an e-mail to

4. International Student Orientation begins January 23, 2013.

International Student Orientation provides an essential introduction to new U.S. federal regulations with which you are required to comply. But it is also an opportunity to learn strategies for academic success while at Binghamton University, meet other new students, and become acquainted with the campus community. Among the topics that will be covered during International Student Orientation are U.S. immigration regulations that pertain to international students (including employment, course registration, and travel), the U.S. classroom experience, discussion of U.S. cultural issues, and Binghamton University services and programs for international students. Meetings with academic advisors and registering for classes also take place during this time.

Detailed information on International Student Orientation and registration will be sent to you by e-mail in the next few weeks. On-line registration for International Student Orientation will open at that time.

The New Student Fee, which you will see on your student bill for tuition and fees, is a mandatory fee that supports services and events for new students including New Student Days and other welcome events and First Year Experience courses, as well as orientation programs. The fee is charged to all undergraduate students in their initial semester, as well as international graduate students. The only cost associated specifically with Orientation that is not covered by the New Student Fee are meals for new graduate students (except for the Thursday night January 24 Welcome Dinner, which is free to all international undergraduate and graduate student participants, guests may purchase a meal ticket at the door). New graduate students may purchase their meals with cash in any of the dining facilities open on campus. New undergraduate students living both on and off campus will be able to eat in the University Union Mandela Room on Wednesday, January 23 at no additional cost. The on-campus meal plan begins Thursday, January 24. New undergraduate students living off campus who choose not to purchase a meal plan may pay for individual meals with cash in any of the dining facilities open on campus.

For undergraduates who will be living in the University Residence Halls, you will be able to move into your residence hall room on January 23, 2013 (January 21, 2013 for exchange students and January 22, 2013 Dual Diploma students from Turkey) or earlier by request, by registering for International Student Orientation.

Since many of our students will arrive prior to January 23, you are encouraged to visit the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) before that date. The ISSS is located on the ground floor of the Nelson Rockefeller Center (across the street from the Bartle Library and the Lecture Hall Building) and our office hours through January 18 are weekdays from 9:30am to 3:45pm, except Wednesdays, when the office is open from 11:30am to 3:45pm.

5. Your University Immunization Requirements and Medical History Report


Your ability to register for classes and eligibility for financial aid and campus housing depend on your compliance with the health requirements noted below. These requirements MUST be fulfilled upon your arrival in Binghamton and prior to your registration for classes:

  • Proof of immunity to Measles, Mumps and Rubella for all students born on or after January 1, 1957.
  • Completion of the Meningitis response form
  • Completion of the Tuberculosis Screening Form and PPD (tuberculin skin test – if indicated)

The required forms can be downloaded at

Decker Student Health Services Center at Binghamton University can provide the required vaccination for Measles, Mumps and Rubella (one vaccine covers all three) AND the tuberculin skin test at no charge to you. It is strongly recommended, but not required, that you obtain a physical exam. Since this service is not offered on campus it is best to obtain at home prior to your arrival. It can be very expensive off campus and your insurance may not cover it.

You may mail, fax or submit as an e-mail attachment your forms to:

Decker Student Health Services Center
Binghamton University
Box 6000 Binghamton, New York 13902-6000

Fax 607-777-2881

Please direct any questions you may have to Health Services at 607-777-2221 or by email to Business hours are Monday through Friday, 8 am – 4:45 pm (8am - 3:45 pm December 24, 2012 through January 18, 2013).

6. How to Get to Binghamton

Many new students are in the process of making their travel arrangements. Greater Binghamton Airport [BGM] is served by several airlines, including US Airways, United/Continental Airlines, and Delta Airlines.

There is direct air service from several major U.S. airports to Binghamton, including Philadelphia (via US Airways), Washington D.C.'s Dulles Airport (via United/Continental Express), and Detroit (via Delta).

The closest U.S. port of entry to Binghamton that has direct air service is Philadelphia. For those of you who are accustomed to wide-body jet air travel, we wish to mention that your final air connections to Binghamton may be on smaller, "commuter" jets or propeller planes. Once at the Binghamton Airport, ground transportation by taxi is available to all parts of the local area.

Some students inquire about travel by bus (there is no train service) from New York City and Newark, New Jersey to Binghamton. While there is relatively frequent bus service between New York City's Port Authority Bus Terminal and downtown Binghamton (approximately six to seven trips a day on both Greyhound and Coach USA-Shortline Bus Lines), this is a very tiring way to travel if you are just getting off a plane after a long overseas flight. While the travel time is 3.5 hrs between the two cities, it will take at least another hour to arrive at the bus terminal from Kennedy or Newark airports, and lay-overs between bus connections can be lengthy. You are strongly encouraged to use direct flight connections to Binghamton Airport when arriving from overseas.

See the following link for full details on ground transportation:

7. Looking for an Apartment Off-Campus?

The Off Campus College Office (OCC) provides helpful information and assistance in seeking housing in the local community. For more information, contact them by e-mail at, or visit their website at

The local newspaper, the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin, lists apartments for rent in their advertising section on the web. Their website is

If you will be looking for housing off-campus, we recommend that you arrive in Binghamton one to two weeks before orientation begins on January 23. Temporary housing on campus is not available to new students seeking apartments off campus. We recommend that you make arrangements to stay in a local motel or hotel. Or, if you know someone at the University, you may wish to ask that person if they might be able to accommodate you. For further information upon your arrival, feel free to visit the OCC Office located in University Union West Room 204.

8. Obtaining Your Binghamton University B-Mail Account

Binghamton University email accounts are referred to as “B-Mail.” A permanent B-Mail account has been established for your personal use and for you to receive official campus information. Many of you have already claimed your BU e-mail.

For those of you who have not, you should claim your B-Mail address now. Important information will be sent to your B-Mail account. Tell your friends and family your new e-mail address! You can access your e-mail account from anywhere by using the Internet address

If you have not yet claimed your email account, go to: and follow the instructions for new students and “all” students. If you are still having difficulty, contact BU’s ITS Help Desk at

9. Special B-Mail Account Information for Students in China

A number of new BU students from China who are currently in China are finding that they cannot log into their B mail account from This is because B mail is powered by GoogleMail, and access to various Google application services may be affected in China. There is an alternative link to access BMail from China, provided by BU’s Office of Information Technology Services. Use this link:

10. Student Fees for Spring 2013

Tuition and fees are paid each semester. The Student Accounts Office generates your bill and notification is done by e-mail to your B-Mail account. Your bill is BASED ON ACTUAL REGISTRATION for tuition and fees at the time your bill is generated. In the absence of registration, an E-bill will be generated if there are room (for undergraduates) and/or dining charges for Spring 2013.

The Student Accounts Office has detailed payment information available on their web site:

Need to wire funds to Binghamton University? Binghamton University has partnered with peerTransfer to streamline the tuition payment process for our international students. With peerTransfer, you are offered excellent foreign exchange rates, allowing you to pay in your home currency (in most cases) and save a significant amount of money, as compared to traditional banks. You will also be able to track where your payment is in the transfer process via a student dashboard and an email confirmation will be sent to you when your payment is received by the school.

For more information on wire transfers, please visit
or to make a payment now, go to:

A tuition and fees rate chart for the Spring 2013 semester is available at:

The 2012-13 university housing room rates for undergraduates are available at

Additional information on dining plans, for students living on or off campus, can be found on the Dining Services Web site at: Click on “plans” and select either the Residential or Commuter options.

If you have questions regarding your payment contact the Office of Student Accounts directly by e-mail at or visit their website at

The Office of Student Accounts can also be reached by telephone at: 1-607-777-2702 or by fax at 1-607-777-2053.

11. International Student Health Insurance Rates for Spring 2013

All international students in F or J status, and their dependents, are required to be covered under the university's mandatory health insurance plan for international students. The amount for the health insurance will be listed on your student bill. The rates are:

Spring 2013 (January 15, 2013 to August 14, 2013)              $ 667.75

Medical Evacuation/Repatriation and bridge coverage for funded F-1 graduate students with graduate, teaching or research assistantships       $  95.30

Questions regarding international student insurance or requests for rate information for dependents may be addressed to the Health Insurance Team in ISSS; Also, visit our international health insurance web page at:

12. BU Center for Civic Engagement Welcomes new International Students!

The Binghamton University Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) welcomes you to our Binghamton campus and community! The CCE is an office on campus that helps students find exciting service opportunities to match their interests, and the CCE staff is looking forward to helping you get involved!

Becoming involved in your new community through service is a great way to have fun, make friends, and make a difference! It is also a wonderful way to practice your language skills and start becoming familiar with the Binghamton area and the countless opportunities that surround you here.

So get started by checking out the CCE webpage, searching through the current service listings, and signing up for the CCE newsletter! Don't forget to also connect with us on facebook and twitter. Feel free to contact the office at any time during your studies at BU by emailing or stopping by Library South, Ground Floor Room 548 ! We are looking forward to meeting you soon.

13. What Will the Weather Be Like?

When you arrive in Binghamton, it will be the middle of the winter season in our region. If you are coming to Binghamton from a relatively warmer climate, you will want to be prepared for a colder environment than the one to which you are accustomed. Average temperatures in January can range from 10 to 35 degrees Fahrenheit, or -15 to 2 degrees centigrade. We advise students to dress warmly! This means thick socks, long sleeved shirts, sweaters, scarves, warm gloves, a hat or hood, waterproof shoes, and of course, a heavy jacket or coat. These items can be purchased at local clothing stores when you arrive. While Binghamton does not receive as much snow as our northern neighbors, Syracuse and Buffalo, you will see snow in January! Expect the weather to stay cold until middle to late April.

14. Some Binghamton Area Information

Binghamton University is located in the Town of Vestal, just one mile beyond the Binghamton city limits in the Southern Tier of upstate New York, and three miles from downtown. Binghamton, Endicott, and Johnson City ("Greater Binghamton")--along with suburban Vestal--offer cultural life and a lively spectator sports scene along with readily accessible outdoor recreation. Major employers include Binghamton University, Lockheed Martin Corporation, BAE Systems, IBM and United Health Services.

The University is surrounded on three sides by hills, has a nature preserve within the campus boundaries, and has been located on its present site since the late 1950s.

The city of Binghamton is named for William Bingham, and was settled in the early 1800s. It is located at the confluence of two rivers, the Susquehanna and the Chenango. Native American Indians previously occupied much of what is now known as the Triple Cities.

Several theaters, a professional opera company, symphony and pops orchestras, the Roberson Museum, and the Kopernik Observatory are well supported by the community. The Broome County Veteran’s Memorial Arena, home to the Binghamton Senators ice hockey team, also hosts popular rock, country, and pop concerts. The Binghamton Mets play baseball in a modern stadium downtown.

The area also offers restaurants, shopping malls, coffee houses, and many urban and wooded parks and picnic areas.

If you have access to the World Wide Web and would like to learn more about the Binghamton area, you may wish to visit the website of our local newspaper, The Press & Sun-Bulletin. Point your browser to:

Binghamton is 50 miles from Ithaca, 72 miles from Syracuse, and about 200 miles from both New York and Philadelphia.


ISSS-BU is a listserv owned and managed by the Office of International Student and Scholar Services, Division of Student Affairs, at the State University of New York at Binghamton. It is the publisher of ISSS-BU News. Permission is granted to freely distribute the information posted to this list as long as its contents remain unchanged.

Last Updated: 8/28/14