Visit ISSS on the Web! http://isss.binghamton.edu
Editor’s Note: Did you remember to set your clocks one hour ahead before you went to sleep on Saturday night? Sunday began “Daylight Savings Time” where we will enjoy an additional one hour of daylight each day.
The Undergrounds Café in the Old University Union basement, across from the Ping Pong (table tennis) Room is now open from noon-midnight Monday-Friday. Stop by, meet your friends and hang out! Bring your own food, or purchase food at either the Food Court or “Munchies.”
1. The Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan
2. Attend a CCE Student Marketing Focus Group. Free Food and a Tee Shirt to All Participants!
3. In-Person Income Tax Assistance Begins Friday, March 18
4. Spring Break Begins With End of Classes on Friday, March 18
5. Opportunity for Current Undergraduate Students to Volunteer for the Admissions Office During the March Spring Break
6. April 1 is the Deadline for Spring 2011 Health Insurance Adjustments
7. Attention Malaysian Students, Faculty and Professionals! Attend Malaysia Forum April 8-10
8. Do You Have Renter’s Insurance (Personal Property Insurance?)
9. Frequently Asked Income Tax Questions, and Answers
10. Income Tax Information: Important Items to Remember When Completing Income Tax Forms
11. How to Stay Safe from Stalking
12. Off Campus Employment Rules
13. The Clock is Ticking on Some Practical Training Applications
14. Information on Fall 2011 Pre-Registration and Schedule of Classes
15. Important Notice From Student Accounts Regarding Fall 2011 Pre-Registration
As most readers of ISSS-BU know, the northern portion of Japan was hit by a devastating 8.9 magnitude earthquake, followed by a tsunami, on Friday, March 11. It is the most powerful earthquake ever to hit Japan and the third most powerful earthquake in the world since record-keeping began (only the 1960 earthquake in Southern Chile and the 1964 earthquake in Anchorage, Alaska were more powerful). At this writing, rescue efforts are underway, more than 10,000 people are reported to have died, and thousands of people are still missing. There is great concern regarding the condition of the nuclear power plants and the harm that further failures may cause to both citizens and the environment. There are 21 international students from Japan enrolled at BU this Spring, along with students of Japanese heritage who are US citizens or US permanent residents, as well as staff and faculty from Japan. Ellen Badger, the Director of International Student and Scholar Services, has sent an email message to each of BU’s international students from Japan, expressing the University’s concern and offering assistance.
Japanese citizens currently in the United States as tourists (visitors) whose authorized stay is expiring, and who are unable to return to Japan at present due to the destruction, may request an emergency extension of their stay for up to thirty days. This includes visitors under the Visa Waiver Program as well as those on other U.S. non-immigrant visas. For more information, click here.
If you are looking for information on people in the quake zone, Google has opened a Person Finder page.
Below is a list of some U.S.
charitable organizations that are on the ground in Japan as of March 13, 2011 and are
accepting donations. All are rated three
stars or four stars by Charity Navigator, a well-known U.S.
independent charity evaluator.
Direct Relief International http://www.directrelief.org/Index.aspx
Doctors Without Borders http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/
The Red Cross http://www.redcross.org
Global Giving http://www.globalgiving.org
Save the Children: http://www.savethechildren.org
Many other well-known charitable organizations are currently “on standby” while assessments are underway. Please check the website of the charity in which you are interested to learn about their activities in Japan.
Also, for information on making good choices when donating funds to charities in response to a crisis, visit http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&cpid=1221
The BU Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) will be running a series of focus groups starting this week to explore how CCE can better meet student preferences for receiving information regarding academic, community, and service events and opportunities. Come learn some new ways to get involved both on and off campus.
The focus groups for this week are scheduled for Wednesday March 16 and Thursday March 17 in the CCE Office, Old University Union Room 145. There will also be focus groups during the upcoming break. For more information and to indicate your date and time preference, use this link: http://www2.binghamton.edu/cce/connect/focusgroup.html
share opinions on how new technologies can be used to better meet student
preferences. There will be free food, drinks and t-shirts for all.
For more information, contact Anthony Naglieri firstname.lastname@example.org or visit CCE on the web at cce.binghamton.edu
ISSS is pleased to announce the availability of in-person assistance with completing your non-resident income tax forms beginning Friday, March 18. This service is primarily to assist you if you need help with New York State forms IT-2, IT-203 and IT-203B, since CINTAX is available for completing your federal returns. However, federal non-resident tax questions can be answered as well.
Mr. Jim Rollo, who graduated from Binghamton University’s School of Management in 1984 and is a local businessman, is available to provide in-person assistance with completing your non-resident income tax forms on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11:00am to 1:00pm in Room 126, in the Hinman Commons portion of Rockefeller Center (up the outdoor stairs and enter to your left). Please come to the ISSS main office first to obtain your appointment form, which will be numbered in the order that students come in. Then, follow the signs upstairs, across the patio, and then down the hall to Room 126.
This service continues through Friday, April 15, 2011.
Appointments are not required. Please be sure you have already obtained your CINTAX access code, and have created your user id and password in CINTAX, before visiting Mr. Rollo. Be sure to bring your income tax forms with you.
Spring Break begins with the end of classes on Friday, March 18. Residence Halls close on Saturday, March 19 except for break housing halls and the apartment communities. The Residence Halls re-open on Sunday, March 27 at 2pm and classes resume on Monday, March 28. There will be a second Spring Break from April 16-25, classes resume on Tuesday, April 26.
Prospective students and parents are coming to campus during the March spring break for information sessions, and the Admissions Office needs YOU to present Binghamton University and tell them what you like about it. This is a great opportunity for current undergraduate students to volunteer and tell your experiences at Binghamton! We will need volunteers on March 19, 21, and 26 to greet students and parents. Your hospitality will be highly appreciated and someone may make their decisions because of your stories! If you are available on these dates or if you have any questions, feel free to send an email to email@example.com by 10pm on March 18th.
Please note that effective with the Spring 2011 semester, there is a deadline for requesting a Health Insurance Waiver or adjustment. – International students requesting a waiver or adjustment of their international health insurance fee must do so by April 1, 2011 for the Spring 2011 semester. To file a waiver or adjustment request go to: http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/health-insurance/waiverinfo.html. Filing a request does not guarantee a wavier or adjustment. You must either be a graduate assistant (G.A.), Teaching Assistant (T.A) or Research Assistant (R.A.) funded through Binghamton University and enrolled in employee health insurance, OR meet the standards for comparable coverage outlined on the ISSS Health Insurance web page located through the above link.
If you have questions about the International Student Health Insurance, please contact the International Health Insurance Team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Come join many Malaysians from around the US
as we congregate in various cities in the world to talk about Malaysia and the hopes and
ambitions we have for our country. Participate in group discussions on issues
such as Malaysia’s
political economy, religion, education and brain drain.
The annual Malaysia Forum conference is a three-day event that will bring together academics, professionals and students interested in Malaysian current affairs. This year's conference will be held at Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts April 8-10, 2011.
REGISTER at http://www.malaysiaforum.org/nmf/register/ ! Registration closes at 11:59 PM on 27 March 2011. The registration fee is $15.
There will be group discussions and panels with Malaysian and non-Malaysian speakers who are experts on the issues that our country is facing. We will also be streaming the discussions happening in KL and Singapore. And if that isn’t enticing enough, we’ll also be screening the film Talentime by the late Yasmin Ahmad!! And there will be a scrumptious Malaysian dinner on Saturday evening.
Yes, you heard that right all you Malaysian food-deprived folks, MALAYSIAN FOOD! (in case that didn't register with you, think nasi lemak, ayam rendang, kangkung belacan...)
For more information, visit http://www.malaysiaforum.org/nmf/ or
contact email@example.com. Also RSVP on our Facebook event page here:
What is Malaysia Forum?
Malaysia Forum is a network of Malaysian students and professionals based in the Northeast United States. It is an offshoot of the Stanford Malaysia Forum, started in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2002 with the aim of promoting discussion about Malaysian affairs through media and public dialogue. MF continues with the same goal, engaging Malaysians and interested parties in discussion about and participation in Malaysian development in every scope and field. MF, like its predecessor, the Stanford Malaysia Forum, is a non-partisan and non-profit entity.
On Sunday, March 6, there was a water main break at the Riviera Ridge Apartments in Vestal. Two BU students were displaced when water entered their first floor apartment. Some of their personal property was damaged, but they did not have Renter’s Insurance, also known as Personal Property Insurance. So, they must purchase replacements of what can no longer be used.
Did you know that special personal property insurance coverage to protect your possessions is offered by the University to registered students? Based on the value of your items, you can select insurance coverage with policy amounts ranging from $2000 to $20,000. The cost to purchase the insurance varies according to the coverage you select. The least expensive coverage, $2000, is available at an annual cost of $65.00 (less than $6.00 per month), based on a $100 deductible. The next highest amount, $4000 of coverage, is available at an annual cost of $94. Your property is covered both on campus and in your residence hall, or in your off campus apartment.. Coverage is provided world wide, including property placed in storage. Your property will be insured for theft, vandalism or malicious mischief, fire, lightning, smoke, accidental damage and other hazards. This includes protection for personal computers, televisions, electronics, furniture, clothing, appliances, etc.
While you may think that nothing will ever happen to you, tragedies can occur. No longer having the use of something that belongs to you is a very difficult experience.
The insurance pays the full replacement value for the property, or the cost of repairing it. The policy covers just about any kind of property except:
Coverage for theft losses only, of such items as jewelry, watches and gold, is limited to $2,000 per loss.
The information may be found on line at http://www.haylor.com/student Once you reach that page, click on “personal property protection.” You may view or print an on-line informational brochure. You may also purchase the policy on line. If you have any questions about the policy after reading the information, call Haylor, Freyer and Coon toll free at 1-866-535-0456.
Here are the top income tax questions being asked this week, we hope you find the questions and answers helpful!
1. I have used CINTAX for filing my federal income tax return. At the final screen, CINTAX indicates that I should file a NY State income tax form, and provides a link. But, I am not sure I understand what to do next. Can you help me?
The ISSS has income tax webinars that explain how to complete each of the three required New York State income tax forms line-by-line. The ISSS webinar web page, http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/taxes/webworkshp.html also includes links to all three NYS Forms and the NYS instruction booklet. The forms that need to be completed are IT 203, IT-2 and IT 203-B. These forms must be printed and mailed together. Full instructions are provided in the webinars.
2.Both the Federal and NY State income tax forms allow for my income tax refund to be direct-deposited into my bank account. Is this a good idea?
It’s actually a very good idea. Most U.S. citizens have their income tax refunds direct-deposited into their checking account, rather than have the check mailed to them. You’ll receive your refund more quickly, you don’t have to worry about lost checks, and even if you are traveling, you will know that your funds are safe. It is easy to look at your on-line bank statement or monthly paper bank statement to see when your refund is credited to your account. There is no fee for this service.
3. CINTAX and New York State Form IT-2 ask me to enter an “Employer Identification Number” from my W-2 form. I’ve reviewed my W-2 very carefully, but I cannot find the “Employer Identification Number.” Where is it?
The Employer Identification Number is also known as Federal ID Number. You should be able to locate it on the W-2, where the employer name and address have been printed.
4. CINTAX is indicating that I am a resident for tax purposes, and therefore cannot use it for my tax filings. But I have been F-1 for fewer than five years. Has CINTAX made a mistake?
Perhaps not. If you
were in the United States
in some other non-immigrant status prior to becoming an F-1 student, federal
tax law require that those prior years be counted. CINTAX then
computes your income tax status. If it
is determined that you are a resident for income tax purposes, follow the
instructions for filing as a resident, available at:
5. I am a graduate assistant/teaching assistant. My New York State W-2 form has Box 13 “retirement plan” checked. Does that mean I have a retirement plan? If I am completing form IT-2 for New York State, what instruction should I follow for Box 13?
If box 13 on your New York State W-2 has been checked, it only means that you are eligible to be enrolled in a New York State retirement plan, not that you have actually enrolled. There is nothing special you need do for your federal or state income tax filing if Box 13 is checked. If you are completing New York State form IT-2, leave Box 13 blank.
A number of students sometimes forget all of the necessary steps when completing their income tax forms. Here is a helpful reminder for ISSS-BU News readers:
Safety is our goal! So be careful what information you post on the internet. Did you know that 1 in 4 females and 1 in 5 males in some colleges are stalked or harassed? Use gender neutral userid’s and don’t post too much or very specific information to online places such as blogs and websites like Facebook, MySpace, etc. This information is provided by the University Counseling Center: http://www2.binghamton.edu/counseling/
Previously, staff in the Office of International Student and Scholar Services have had to address several issues regarding off campus employment that have not had pleasant consequences for some students. A reminder: A student in F-1 or J-1 status cannot be employed away from the Binghamton University campus unless they have obtained appropriate federal authorization to do so before employment can begin. This includes internships and jobs done “at home” from a computer, such as on-line surveys and forums that offer payment if you participate. The only exception to this rule is F-1 students who are working away from BU but are paid on a Binghamton University state or research foundation payroll.
The U.S. government exacts heavy penalties for students who work without authorization.
Readers may wish to take note of the following two articles on the ISSS website:
Don’t Place Your Immigration Status at Risk: Consequences of Illegal Employment
The ISSS website has many resources on employment. Just visit http://isss.binghamton.edu and click on “Employment.”
If you have questions regarding employment, please do not hesitate to contact Assistant Director Shawna Szabo or Associate Director Karen Keefe-Guzikowski, at firstname.lastname@example.org They are happy to assist you.
If you would like to make an appointment to discuss issues of employment, please call the ISSS office at (607) 777-2510. Employment Walk-In hours are Tuesdays from 1:30pm to 3:15pm.
F-1 students who will be graduating in May 2011 and plan to apply for post-completion optional practical training are reminded that they must submit their application paperwork to the ISSS, and then send the processed documents to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) so that it is received at the USCIS lock box address no later than sixty days after their degree conferral date, which this year is May 22, 2011.
F-1 students who have not yet begun the practical training application process are urged to do so soon so that you will have the best possible opportunity to obtain your employment authorization card in a timely manner. Currently, it is taking the USCIS Service Centers approximately 12 weeks to process OPT employment authorization applications. Employment cannot begin unless you have the card "in hand."
The schedule of classes for Fall 2011 will be available online beginning Monday, March 28. View schedule >>
Fall 2011 Pre-Registration begins on March 31 for Graduate Students and on April 1 for undergraduate students. All students are assigned a time ticket or registration start time. To view your time ticket, log into BU BRAIN beginning March 28 and click on "Registration Status". Pre-registration will be open through Friday, May 13.
Any outstanding balance on your Student Account the must be paid or cleared at least 24 hours prior to your Fall 2011 pre-registration time. Please do not wait until the last minute to resolve any outstanding debts in order to ensure that you will be able to register at your priority time. You can view and/or pay any balance due by visiting http://bubrain.binghamton.edu and select “Quick Pay Student Payment.”====================================================================================================================
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Last Updated: 4/12/11