The International Programs Office, located on the second floor of the Atkins-Holman Student Commons, upholds the integrity of Columbia College through the integration and retention of international students. The staff serves as an advocate and liaison for international students at the college concerning interactions with federal, state and local agencies as well as campus constituents. The Director apprises students, faculty, staff and the administration on current global issues affecting international education. The staff disseminates information regarding changes in the United States immigration law to students and the campus community; advises students of their responsibilities to abide by the regulations governing their status; and assists students in achieving their goals within the context of the applicable laws and regulations. Information is also provided to students, faculty and staff on changes in institutional policies and practices affecting international education. International Programs promotes an environment of cross-cultural awareness, tolerance and understanding in all aspects of campus life.
Students in F-1 student status must adhere to the regulatory requirements outlined in the United States Federal Register, Part 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
To assure that nonimmigrant students are able to cover any medical expenses in the United States, it is required that all international students purchase the insurance plan provided through Columbia College. Students in F-1 status will be charged for this insurance on their Columbia College student account upon enrollment for any number of credit hours. Students pursuing Optional Practical Training may also be enrolled for the insurance coverage. The insurance premium will be divided in two segments. Payment will be due at the beginning of the early fall and winter sessions. For questions and details about the mandatory insurance program, please contact the Director of International Programs.
Upon arrival on campus, international students must report to the Director of International Programs. The Director is the Principal Designated School Official for Columbia College. Students need to bring the following documents: a valid passport, visa (stamp located inside the passport), I-94 card and all I-20 forms (Certificate of Eligibility for Non-Immigrant Student) issued to them throughout the duration of their studies in the United States. These documents will be reviewed and photocopied for the student’s file. At this time, the Director will register the student in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).
Under SEVIS reporting requirements, the Designated School Official (DSO) must report the following information for each student no later than 30 days after the deadline for course registration:
- Full-time Enrollment
- Student dropped below full-time enrollment without prior approval by the DSO
- Student failed to enroll
- Current address - defined as where the student is physically residing
- Start date of next term or semester
For students in initial status, the deadline for reporting is 30 days from the report date on the SEVIS I-20 form. For continuing students, the deadline is 30 days from the beginning date of the term.
The DSO at Columbia College enters data and keeps records on all international students as well as their dependents. The DSO is required to report information related to an individual student or the dependent spouse/child in SEVIS within a given period of time. These reportable events include, but are not limited to:
- Change of legal name
- Change of address, both in the United States and abroad
- Failure to maintain status or complete the educational program
- Early completion of the program prior to the end date on SEVIS Form I-20
- Disciplinary action taken by the school against the student as a result of a conviction of a crime
- Any other notification about the student’s status
Students must report a change of name or address to the International Programs office within 10 days of the change. The DSO will update this information in SEVIS within 21 days.
As part of the record-keeping requirements under the F-1 regulations, the College must maintain the following information about each student:
- Date and place of birth
- Country of citizenship
- Residential address, both in the United States and abroad
- Enrollment status: Full/Part-time
- Date of beginning of activities
- Degree program and field of study
- Practical training recommendations
- Termination date and reason
- Documents required for admission to Columbia College
- Credits completed each term/semester
- Photocopy of Form I-20
In order to maintain F-1 status and ensure compliance with U.S. immigration law, it is imperative that students communicate with the Director of International Programs through the duration of their studies at the College.