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
Visit ISSS on the Web! http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/index.html
Editor’s Note: Next Monday, January 17, 2011 is the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. Many university offices, including the Office of International Student and Scholar Services, will be closed. However, ISSS-BU News will publish its regular Monday issue on that day.
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 Thursday, January 20, 2011 (see article below).
Are you an undergraduate international student in Binghamton over the winter break? Do you want to have some fun writing greeting cards to newly admitted students from your own countries in your native languages? Come join the Student Ambassadors at the Undergraduate Admissions Office in Academic A on January 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st from 2pm to 3pm! Please meet at the entrance to the Admissions Office, and there will be signs! Please feel free to come on any of these dates when you are available! Refreshments will be served! If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. The Student Ambassadors hope to see you there!
Spring 2011 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 2011 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:
Binghamton University is a top-10 best value in public colleges and universities in the United States for 2011, according to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, based on its strong academics at reasonable prices and its financial aid offerings. For the third consecutive year, Binghamton also is the number one best value for out-of-state students. Applications from across the U.S. and internationally help to increase Binghamton’s selectivity and the quality of its students.
International Student Orientation activities begin Thursday, January 20, and orientation packets will be distributed during orientation check-in, Thursday January 20, 9:00am to 12 noon in the Old University Union Tillman Lobby (in front of the Mandela Room).
A schedule will be available at the ISSS website very soon.
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:
The University’s registration system on BU Brain http://bubrain.binghamton.edu will be turned on for Spring 2011 course registration beginning Friday, January 21, 2011 for new and continuing undergraduate students. Graduate students will be able to access BU Brain for course registration beginning January 17, 2011. The system will be available seven days a week until the evening of the course withdrawal deadline, which is April 1, 2011. Course adds will be accepted until the deadline of Friday, February 4. The system will accept course drops and deletes until the course drop deadline, Friday, February 4. After that date, the system will allow for course withdrawals until the course withdrawal deadline of April 1. Please note that students who drop courses during the course withdrawal period will receive a grade of W.
Schedule of Classes
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.
The United States Postal Service is selling first class stamps ($.44) to commemorate Lunar New Year 2011, the year of the rabbit. The stamps are sold in sheets of 12 stamps for $5.28. The stamps are for sale at any U.S. Post Office after January 22, 2011, or on the web at https://shop.usps.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10001&storeId=10052&productId=10007152&langId=-1&parent_category_rn=10000003&top_category=10000003&categoryId=10000068&top=¤tPage=0&sort=&viewAll=Y&rn=CategoriesDisplay&WT.ac=10007152
On-line courses have become increasingly popular for students, and many colleges and universities, including Binghamton, have greatly expanded their on-line and distance education course offerings in the past few years. But, the US federal government limits the number of on-line courses that an F-1 student can count towards a full-time course load during a required term.
Here is the text of the federal regulation:
For F-1 students enrolled in classes for credit or classroom hours, no more than the equivalent of one class or three credits per session, term, semester, trimester, or quarter may be counted toward the full course of study requirement if the class is taken on-line or through distance education and does not require the student's physical attendance for classes, examination or other purposes integral to completion of the class. An on-line or distance education course is a course that is offered principally through the use of television, audio, or computer transmission including open broadcast, closed circuit, cable, microwave, or satellite, audio conferencing, or computer conferencing.
What does this mean?
For Binghamton F-1 students, a full-time course load is required only during the Fall and Spring semesters. There is no requirement that students be enrolled during the Summer or Winter sessions, which are optional. Thus, a F-1 student can take as many on-line or distance education courses from Binghamton or from another institution as they wish (with Binghamton’s approval) during Summer or Winter session. But, during the Fall and Spring semesters, an F-1 student is limited to only one on-line or distance education course that can be counted towards a full-time course load. If the course requires the student to come to the sponsoring university’s location for a class, examination, or some other purpose integral to the completion of the course, then it is not considered “on-line” or “distance education” for the purposes of the federal definition, and is not subject to the federal limit.
If a student needs only one course to finish his or her program of study in the final semester, 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.
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:
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:
The ISSS knows that multiple I-20s can be cumbersome. The office has had to greatly expand its file space to accommodate the additional I-20 copies in students’ files. But, it is all done to be in compliance with federal regulations.
Today's income tax article is about Form 1098-T, “Tuition Statement” which 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. You may receive form 1098-T from Binghamton University.
However, only those individuals who are residents for tax purposes can claim these tax credits.
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 2006 or later) generally file income tax forms as non-residents.
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 2005 or earlier) generally file income tax forms as residents for tax purposes, and may be eligible to claim the “Lifelong Learning Credit”, which is based on the information provided on Form 1098-T. For more information on this tax credit, consult IRS publication 970, 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 99–page pdf file, and you will need Adobe Acrobat reader or some other pdf reader to download it.
As of December 31, 2010, approximately 57,300 H-1B cap-subject petitions had been approved (out of 65,000 available). U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has also approved 20,000 H-1B petitions for foreign nationals with advanced U.S. degrees which means the quota has been reached for that category. Any eligible applicant with an advanced U.S. degree will now be included in the remaining cap-subject category. USCIS will continue to accept both cap-subject petitions and advanced degree petitions until a sufficient number of H-1B petitions have been received to reach the statutory limits, taking into account the fact that some of these petitions may be denied, revoked, or withdrawn.
The H-1B visa is the professional worker visa frequently used by foreign nationals who have bachelor degrees or higher, often following a period of Optional Practical Training. Petitions for the H-1B visa are filed by U.S. employers. The H-1B program is used to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in a variety of fields.
It is anticipated that the H-1B cap for the current fiscal year will be reached by the end of the first week of February 2011. Once that happens, new cap-subject petitions will then have to be filed with a start date no earlier than October 1, 2011. Such applications will be accepted for filing by USCIS no sooner than April 1, 2011.
USCIS provides regular updates on the processing of Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 H-1B petitions. The updates can be found on the USCIS’ Web site atwww.uscis.gov/h-1b_count
Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap will not be counted towards the congressionally mandated FY 2011 H-1B cap. This includes petitions filed to:
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.
Leave the subject line blank. In the message text, type:
subscribe ISSS-BU first name last name
Replace “first name last name” with your name.
If your e-mail account is on a server other than Binghamton.edu,
In the message text, type: Please subscribe isss-bu, your e-mail address, your first and last name.
If you are a registered student and don't have an e-mail account, you may claim an e-mail address and password at https://buonline.binghamton.edu/banner Be sure to read and follow the instructions carefully. If you encounter difficulty, visit the Help Desk in the lobby of the Computer Services building.
Last Updated: 4/12/11