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F-1 International Students

Maintenance of F-1 Status

International students must maintain their F-1 status while in the United States attending Cottey College. The Department of Homeland Security mandates full-time enrollment, limits work opportunities, and regulates transfers and changes of status. It is the responsibility of every student to know and understand F-1 student regulations. Students should contact a Designated School Official if problems come up.



Bill Stanfill, Registrar and SEVP Designated School Official
417-667-8181 ext. 2193

Hannah Masters, Director of Financial Aid and SEVP Primary Designated School Official
417-667-8181 ext. 2192

F-1 Essentials

  • Complete a full course of study (at least 12 credit hours) each fall and spring semester
  • Have a valid unexpired USCIS SEVIS Form I-20.
  • Never work off-campus without approval from the PDSO or DSO
  • Have your I-20 signed by the PDSO or DSO before traveling out of the country.
  • Use the I-20 issued by the school you will be attending when you enter the country.
  • Report any change of address.
  • Carry the student copy of the I-20 issued to you.

Health Insurance

All international students are required to have insurance, and the student must carry GeoBlue (or the insurance company selected by Cottey) as the Nevada Regional Medical Center will not accept insurance outside of the United States.

Social Security Number

International students who work on-campus are required to apply for a free social security number. Students will need an application, letter from the Director of Financial Aid regarding the campus job, I-20, visa, and I-94. Cottey will provide transportation to the social security office within the first few weeks of fall semester.

Filing Taxes with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

If you were physically present in the United States during the year prior to our current year, you must file. You should file a US tax return (usually Form 1040 NR-EZ) by April 15 of the current year if:

  1. You earned taxable income in the previous year, either from on or off campus employment and / or from a scholarship which is greater than tuition.
  2. Your income was subject to withholding, even if no tax was withheld.

NOTE: Even if you did not earn income in the previous year and are exempt from filing a tax return, you must file Form 8843. ALL non-resident aliens who were physically present in the United States at any time during the previous year must file this form to explain exemption. Form 8843 must be postmarked no later than June 15 of the current year.

On-Campus Employment

Most on-campus positions at Cottey will allow you to work an average of 10 hours per week while school is in session. USCIS regulations state that you may work up to a maximum of 20 hours per week while school is in session. If you are hired to work at Cottey during summer break, you may work up to a maximum of 40 hours per week.

Off-Campus Employment

In some cases, you may be authorized to work off-campus. You must have written authorization from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) prior to obtaining employment. For more information, see below.

Curricular Practical Training
  1. Student must have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for one full academic year before being eligible for CPT.
  2. Must have an offer of employment from an employer offering work that qualifies as curricular practical training. Students may engage in CPT only for the specific employer, location and period approved and recorded by the DSO in SEVIS.
  3. Can be approved for part-time (20 hours or less) or full-time (over 20 hours).
  4. Must be an integral part of an established curriculum, in the student’s course of study.
  5. Must receive written authorization from DSO, who records authorization in SEVIS and issues SEVIS I-20 with notation, before work begins. USCIS approval is not required.
  6. Use of full-time CPT for one year or more eliminates eligibility for OPT.
Optional Practical Training
  1. Student must have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for one full academic year before being eligible for OPT.
  2. May be taken pre or post completion of studies.
  3. Employment must be directly related to and commensurate with the level of the student’s course of study.
  4. No offer of employment is required, but the student is expected to work or be actively seeking employment after the OPT authorization is issued.
  5. Must apply for and receive authorization from USCIS with assistance of DSO before work begins. Form I-765 for USCIS is required.
  6. Fee is required (currently $410)
Severe Economic Hardship

This is available to international students in F-1 status after 1 year. Employment need not be related to academic area of studies.

  1. Must be able to demonstrate financial need and a change of financial situation since initial I-20
  2. Requires notification & clearance by DSO and authorization of US ICE through SEVIS
  3. Must complete form I-765 for US CIS. Application requirement includes written statement by student indicating reasons for request and documents supporting those reasons (i.e. bank statements, affidavits, sponsorship letters, etc.)
  4. Fee is required

F-1 Transfer Out Form