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Newsletter for F-1 international students.
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The Frontier

A newsletter for F-1 international students
September 2020

Welcome Jaguars! 

Welcome! Whether you're a new international student or a returning one, whether you're on campus or taking classes online from your home country, we sincerely hope that you are safe and healthy. 

Please visit our webpage for F-1 students, where you will find information about COVID-19, travel, on-campus employment, maintaining your F-1 status, and applying for OPT. 
If you have questions, feel free to email us at ipso@augusta.edu or call our office at 706-721-0670.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we didn't get to take photos of our new international students this year. We'd like to invite ALL international students to send us a photo of yourself - whether on campus or abroad. We'll compile the photos and include them in our next newsletter. 
Email photos to our administrative assistant, Tiffany Takahashi, at ttakahashi@augusta.edu
New international students:
Schedule your virtual orientation appointment with IPSO


If you're a new international student, you should have already had your virtual orientation appointment with Ms. Beverly Tarver. If you haven't, please submit an appointment request today
Reminders 

Are you enrolled in a full course of study?

As an F-1 student, you are typically only allowed to count one online course toward the F-1 full course of study requirement. However, due to COVID-19, you can take a fully online course load for Fall 2020  either in the U.S. or from abroad.

However, F-1 students still must be enrolled in a full course load, no matter where you're taking your classes.  

Full course of study requirements

  • Graduate students: at least 9 credit hours
  • Undergraduate students: at least 12 credit hours

If you do not have enough credit hours to meet the full course of study requirement for your F-1 program, please contact Beverly Tarver at btarver@augusta.edu or 706-721-0670 as soon as possible.  

Notify IPSO of your change of address

If your address changes, please let us know by filling out our Information Change Request Form.

You are also required to notify USCIS of your address change within 10 days after you move - even if you change from one room to another in your residence hall - by filling out the Form AR-11 online.

Please note that if you are taking online courses from your home country for Fall 2020 due to COVID-19, you do not need to update your address. 

Extend your I-20 if necessary

Please pay attention to the "program end date" on your I-20. (Click the image above to see a larger sample I-20.) If you plan to graduate later than the end date on your I-20, please request an extension appointment

Planning to travel? Check your I-20

If you're planning to travel outside the U.S., please check your I-20 for a valid travel endorsement. 

You don't need travel endorsement if:
  • Page 2 of your most recent Form I-20 was endorsed for travel within the last year AND
  • You will return and request re-entry to the U.S. before the one-year anniversary date of the endorsement.
You will need travel endorsement if:
  • Your most recent Form I-20 is not endorsed for travel on page 2 OR
  • Your most recent Form I-20 has a travel endorsement and you will return and request re-entry to the U.S. on or after the one-year anniversary date of the endorsement. 
Request Travel Endorsement

Graduating? Here's when you should apply for OPT

Post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) allows you to work in the U.S. for at least one year after graduating.

If you're planning to apply, you'll want to keep the following in mind. The earliest that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will accept your application is 90 days before your graduation date. The latest that they will accept your application is 60 days after your graduation date. You are not required to have a job to apply for OPT. 
For undergraduate students graduating in December 
Earliest date: September 12, 2020
Latest date: February 9, 2021
For undergraduate students graduating in May
Earliest date: February 9, 2021
Latest date: July 9, 2021
You are encouraged to apply for OPT before graduation. If you do not apply before graduation, you are encouraged to apply:
  • within the 45-day period after graduation so that your application will reach USCIS on or before the 60th day after graduation.
    AND
  • prior to exiting the U.S. If you exit the U.S. during the grace period after you graduate or complete your program requirements, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services may determine that your F-1 status has ended and you are ineligible for OPT. 
Please read the complete instructions on preparing your OPT application packet. 

When you are ready, you can request an appointment with Ms. Beverly Tarver. We are not doing in-person appointments, but we will give you access to your Box folder to upload documents for Ms. Tarver's review.
Other News 
New portal for international students to go live Fall 2020
International students will soon be able to log into an online portal to fill out e-forms, receive important reminders about their immigration status, and communicate with our office. 

The portal, called AU International, will be live in October 2020. Students will be able to log in with their Augusta University username and password. Be on the lookout for more information soon! 
Resources for International Students 

COVID-19 resources available for students

Student Counseling and Psychological Services offers telemental health appointments during pandemic

Student Counseling and Psychological Services (SCAPS) is offering telemental health appointments - either over the phone or on Microsoft Teams - to all enrolled AU students during the pandemic.  

SCAPS believes in the power of prevention of mental illness and mental health concerns and offers wellness workshops, anxiety workshops and other psychoeducational programs on emotional wellness (also held virtually). They are also committed to supporting international students and their unique circumstances and challenges. 

SCAPS has two offices: SCAPS Summerville Campus located on the 2nd floor in the Central Utilities building (Side A, room CE-2A), and SCAPS Health Sciences Campus located on the 2nd floor in the Student Center (DA-2014).

To set up an appointment with a counselor, students can call 706-737-1471. To learn more about SCAPS services, the counselors or for additional information and resources, visit https://www.augusta.edu/counseling/.

Other on-campus resources for students

Augusta University also has a variety of other student support and advocacy services on campus, including the Academic Success Center, Testing & Disabilities Services and Student Health Services. View this brochure to learn more about these and other services. Many of these services are being offered virtually due to the pandemic.
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