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Resources and Assistance

Compliance and Maintaining Status

The following provides information about how to maintain your status. While we are here to help you with the specifics regarding maintaining your status, it is ultimately your responsibility to know and abide by these regulations. You may receive information and advice from family, friends, or other individuals; however, before making any changes, you must speak with your International Student Advisor. Even something as small as changing your major can have consequences, but we are here to help you with these decisions.

Disclaimer: US Immigration laws are very complex. The information contained herein is designed specifically for students at King University. Immigration laws are constantly changing, and even though we will attempt to keep the information up-to-date, we cannot guarantee the completeness or accuracy. This information is not intended to create an attorney / client relationship nor can it be construed as legal advice. Please meet with an Advisor before making applications or seeking benefits.

As an international student, you are required to meet certain requirements to maintain your status:

Upon arrival to campus, all international students must report to the International Student Advisor or Designated School Official (DSO) within the first 24 hours. King is required by law to register all students’ arrivals. To better facilitate this requirement, all international students are required to participate in International Student Orientation. More information to follow.

Students are required to make normal progress toward completion of their degree within the time frame stipulated on their I-20. Students are required to also maintain good academic standing. If a student finds that they are unable to complete their program in the allotted time, or they find they cannot maintain good academic standing, they must immediately speak with the International Student Advisor to discuss their options.

International Students are required to report any change of address within 10 days of the change. This includes any changes between rooms in the residence halls on campus.

All students must maintain a full course of study (at least 12 sh) each semester with the exception of school breaks. In certain circumstances, however, students may request permission for a reduced course load. Please speak with the International Student Advisor regarding your specific concerns and situation as soon as possible.

Occasionally, students have extenuating circumstances and must leave King early or unexpectedly. These circumstances include, but are not limited to, early graduation, leave of absence, family emergencies or any situation that causes you to leave the college before the date indicated on your I-20. If any of these situations occur, you must report to the International Student Advisor immediately to file the appropriate paperwork.

International students are eligible to transfer from one SEVIS approved school to another during their time in the United States. As with most SEVIS procedures, completing the appropriate paperwork is vital to a successful transfer. It is extremely important to speak with the International Student Advisor for specific guidelines and requirements.

Some students need more time to complete their degree. This requires approval and have a limited time frame in which to complete the request. Extensions may not be requested due to course failures or failure to maintain status. Extensions are only granted due to compelling academic or medical reasons such as changing your major or research topic, unexpected research problems, or documented illness. If, for any reason, you do not feel you will graduate when expected, you must notify the International Student Advisor immediately. If you do not complete your coursework on time and the International Student Advisor has not extended your program end date, you will need to reinstate.

All international students are required to maintain their Passport. It is important to ensure Passports are valid for at least 6 months into the future. International Students should consider renewing their Passport when returning home. Other options are available and international students should speak with the International Student Advisor for assistance in maintaining the validity of their Passport.

International students who wish to pursue a Master’s degree or higher are eligible to continue their academic career in the United States once they graduate from King. International students are encouraged to discuss their plans with the International Student Advisor as early as possible to ensure they do not miss deadlines.

International students are eligible to spend additional time in the States after completing their degree; however, it is extremely important that they do not take advantage of this opportunity. New regulations stipulate a stronger penalty for international students remaining in the United States past the grace period. International students should discuss these requirements with the International Student Advisor to ensure they understand the rules to maintain their F-1 status.

International Students should understand and abide by King’s Honor Code. Honor Code requirements extend beyond King University Campus and all students must abide by the laws of the State of Tennessee, Commonwealth of Virginia, and the United States as a whole.

When you travel between semesters, you should ensure the signature on your I-20 is current and your visa and passport are valid and not expired. Signatures are valid for one year (or six months for those on OPT). The International Student Advisor or DSO’s are the only individuals authorized to sign your I-20.

If you have any dependents accompanying you in F-1 or F-2 status, you must notify the International Student Advisor immediately. The International Student Advisor is required to report your dependents and you must make specific allowances for them in your documentation as well as housing arrangements. King University will provide housing for enrolled students; if an international student has dependents (spouses and children, e.g.) with them, they must find alternative arrangements.

If, for any reason, your finances substantially change, you must notify the International Student Advisor and receive an updated I-20 reflecting the new financial information. You must submit the student finance form and include appropriate documentation detailing your changes so your I-20 may be updated.

As an F-1 student, you must provide evidence of your ability to financially support yourself. Sometimes, however, situations change and If you find yourself, through no fault of your own, unable to support yourself with the finances stipulated in your I-20, you may qualify for an economic hardship and be eligible to work off-campus. These circumstances may include the following:

  • Loss of financial aid due to no fault of the student
  • Loss of on-campus employment if it is not the student’s fault and no other on-campus job is available
  • Large increase in tuition or living costs
  • Substantial decrease in the relative value of the currency that the student depends upon to pay expenses
  • Unexpected changes in the financial condition of the student’s sources of financial support
  • Unexpectedly large medical bills
  • Other substantial, unexpected expenses
King Life

Now that you have arrived and are getting accustomed to King and the Bristol area, you may notice that you are experiencing a few physical and emotional adjustments. This is normal and expected. If you have traveled internationally before, you may not be as susceptible as others. Either way, these adjustments are normal and expected.

You should expect to feel tired and a little overwhelmed during your first few days; however, relax and your body will find the pattern and rhythm that fits you. You may find that you will need to force yourself to sleep when it gets dark. Once you get into that pattern, your body will adjust and you will soon relax.

If you begin experiencing anxiety, frustration, or isolation, please do not hesitate to speak with someone. There are many people available to you. Your hall RA, coaches, professors, friends, teammates, advisors, and even King’s Counseling Center or Chaplain’s Office. You are not in this alone – we are all here to help!

You have taken a huge step out of your comfort zone! Have faith in yourself and your abilities. Remember, the United States is not and cannot be exactly the same as your home country. Americans have different thoughts, ideas, and actions that individuals in your home country may not have. It is imperative to maintain a balance: school, homework, athletics, friends, social events, free time, and family. These are all parts of what makes you – you!

All students are required to abide by King’s Honor Code. Each Fall, all new students sign the Honor Code, which states:

On my honor, I pledge to abide by the King University policies described in the Student Handbook.  I understand that students of King University are to be honest in words and action, in particular, not to lie, cheat, plagiarize, or steal.  I pledge to conduct myself in a manner based on Christian values and to require the same of fellow students.  I understand that a violation of this Honor Code may result in my appearance before the Honor Council.

All King University students are required to complete Chapel, Convocation, and Service (CCS) Credit. Each traditional undergraduate student is required to earn 12 Chapel, Convocation, and Service (CCS) credits per semester which equates to 0.5 hours of credit each semester. Students have the potential of earning up to 4 semester hours of CCS credit. Each semester, students have a variety of ways to earn the 12 credits, including Chapel and Convocation services each week, mission trips during breaks, and service projects, to name a few.

International students, in particular, must be very conscious of their plan of study. Since they are required to complete their program within the time frame stipulated on their I-20’s, International Students must make every effort to ensure they are on-track to graduate on time. This may be an overwhelming task, but there are several individuals available to help you with planning – your Academic Advisor, Student Success Specialist, or International Student Advisor. Be sure to meet with one or all of these individuals regularly to ensure you remain on-track to graduate.

All King students must use the Student Portal. In the Student Portal, students will find email, financial information, schedules, registration for classes, forms you may need, access to online coursework, and much, much more.

The Faculty and Staff directory is a listing of all full time faculty and staff at King with including phone numbers, office locations, and email addresses. This information is also found on Canvas with your course information.

Student Success provides academic and personal support for all students on campus, including help with registering for classes, counseling on major or coursework, assistance with administrative tasks (such as withdrawing from a class, adding or dropping a class, etc), providing encouragement and advice, and much, much more.

Student Success also houses the Academic Center for Excellence and the International Student Advisor.

THE ACADEMIC CENTER FOR EXCELLENCE

The Academic Center for Excellence (ACE), located on the first floor of Bristol Hall, provides peer tutoring in math, writing, and speaking. In addition to these in-house tutoring services, the ACE coordinates all other peer tutoring services on the Bristol campus (such as Chemistry, Physics, Anatomy & Physiology, and Spanish) by providing a comprehensive schedule of availability and a centralized tutoring location for these additional disciplines. The ACE’s online presence includes the Online Writing Lab, facilitated through King’s English Department, and is available to all students, as well as additional tutoring options in a variety of disciplines through King’s online tutoring partner, Upswing. Upswing is a free service accessed through a link on the Student Portal, a link in every Canvas course, and in the “help” section in Canvas.

THE INTERNATIONAL STUDENT ADVISOR

The International Student Advisor is available throughout the year and you may stop by, call, or email at any point in time. The International Student Advisor provides assistance and counseling to all international students and you should visit your International Student Advisor often to keep them updated about any changes or plans you would like to make.

Sometimes it is a little difficult to know whether you should meet with your academic (faculty) advisor or your International Student Advisor.

You should see your International Advisor for questions regarding:

  • Government documentation (visas, I-20’s, driver’s licenses, Social Security cards, etc)
  • Academic concerns such as changes in your current schedule or program of study, maintaining satisfactory academic progress, requesting an extension to complete your degree, transferring to another institution, etc;
  • Any type of employment (on- or off-campus employment including OPT and CPT);
  • Travel outside of the United States;

You should see your Academic or Faculty Advisor for questions regarding:

  • Registration for classes for the next academic semester; or
  • What classes to take to fulfill your program requirements and when you should take those classes.

Career Services provides assistance with OPT and CPT placement before and after graduation. They will also assist with skills such as resume writing, interviewing, career counseling, and much, much more.

The Student Life Activities Committee at King (SLACK) is the official student programming board within the division of Student Affairs at King University. During the academic year, SLACK sponsors events throughout the week and on weekends. SLACK’s programs are intended to provide a fun and entertaining environment for the whole student body. In addition to providing entertainment, SLACK also seeks to provide events that engage culture, develop recreational and social skills, support education through partnerships with faculty and staff, and promote spiritual growth through collaboration with the Chaplain’s Office.

There are many student groups on campus, including, academic, ministries, service, and special interest. In fact, you are more than welcome to request to start a student group of your own.

If you live in the residence halls on campus, you are part of a unique group of students. All residence halls have an RA, or Resident Assistant, who provides leadership and support to their hall mates. Students find that living in a residence hall at King is one of the most memorable and meaningful experiences they have while at King.

Please note, King University is considered a “Dry” campus. This means that alcohol is not allowed on campus at any point in time. Failure to comply with this regulation could result in disciplinary action.

American Academics

You may find that your country educates students very differently than American schools. While this may take some getting used to, you should acclimate quickly. In the United States, you will find that our classes are lecture based, but you are expected to interact with your professors and the content you are learning. All students are expected to participate in class discussions, providing evidence that they not only have reviewed and studied the material, but can also respectfully and academically express their opinions as well as respectfully listen to others’ points of view.

One of the biggest differences you may find between your home institution and King University is that students are allowed, and even encouraged, to interact with their professors in and out of class.

  • Go to class every day. If you know you will miss class, call or email your professor ahead of time to make arrangements for notes and to get assignments.
  • Read your syllabus. A syllabus is a roadmap of what your instructor intends to cover during the course and when they intend to cover it. A syllabus also provides information about assignments including due dates and the requirements to successfully complete the assignment. Additionally, it contains the behavioral expectations the instructor has for all students in their class and, in turn, what you can expect from your instructor and their grading scale.
  • Be on time. Be in your seat, ready to take notes, at the time class is scheduled to begin. If you come in late, go to your seat quickly and quietly.
  • Take notes. Keep up with your homework.
  • Raise your hand to ask a question in class and wait until you are called on. You may also ask questions after class or during a professor’s posted office hours.
  • If you must step out of class for some reason, such as to use the restroom, simply go quietly and come back quickly.
  • Please turn your cell phones off, or set them to vibrate if you must have them in class. Do not answer your cell phone or use your phone during class.

Plagiarism is a concept which many students find difficult to fully grasp. Plagiarism is the use of someone else’s words and ideas and claiming them as your own. It can be easy to do without realizing, often innocently. However, this does not constitute an excuse and students must take every precaution to ensure they do not plagiarize. King University takes plagiarism very seriously. Violations of academic dishonesty are a violation of the King University Honor Code and therefore a student conduct matter. Student Conduct matters are addressed through the Honor Council and could have an impact on your ability to progress as a King University student.

It is a good idea to give references for concepts you are explaining, even if you are not directly quoting your source. King University has a Writing Center, located within the Academic Center for Excellence in Bristol Hall, which can help you learn about plagiarism and how to avoid it.

Documents and Accounts

If you want to work, you need a Social Security Number (SSN). The Social Security Administration’s website indicates:

Lawfully admitted noncitizens can get many benefits and services without a Social Security number. You do not need a number to conduct business with a bank, register for school, apply for educational tests, obtain private health insurance, apply for school lunch programs or apply for subsidized housing. You cannot get a Social Security number for the sole purpose of obtaining a driver’s license. HTTPS://WWW.SSA.GOV/SSNUMBER/SS5DOC.HTM#WORK2

In general, only noncitizens who have permission to work from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can apply for a Social Security number.

Important: You must present original documents or copies certified by the agency that issued them. The Social Security Agency cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies. All documents must be current (not expired) and a receipt showing you applied for the document is not acceptable.

What original documents do I need?

You need documents proving your immigration status and work eligibility.

To prove your U.S. immigration status, you must show us your current U.S. immigration document, such as:

  • Form I-551 (Lawful Permanent Resident Card, Machine Readable Immigrant Visa) with your unexpired foreign passport;
  • I-766 (Employment Authorization Document, EAD, work permit); or
  • I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record) or admission stamp in the unexpired foreign passport.
  • F-1 students must also show their I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status).

F-1 students eligible to work on campus must provide a letter from the designated school official that:

  • Identifies you;
  • Confirms your current school status; and
  • Identifies your employer and the type of work you are, or will be, doing.
  • We also need to see evidence of that employment, such as a recent pay slip or a letter from your employer. Your supervisor must sign and date the letter. The letter must describe:
    • Your job;
    • Your employment start date;
    • The number of hours you are, or will be, working; and
    • Your supervisor’s name and telephone number.

F-1 students authorized to work in curricular practical training (CPT) must provide the Form I-20 with the employment page completed and signed by the designated school official.

F-1 students with a work permit (I-766) from DHS must present it.

If you wish to drive while you are in the United States, you must have a driver’s license. You must have either a Social Security Card or an affidavit attesting to the fact that you do not have a Social Security Card in order to obtain a Driver’s License. Once you have either document, you are able to visit the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to obtain your Driver’s License. Please bring the following documents with you when you go:

  • Your up-to-date I-20
  • Passport
  • Two different documents proving your Tennessee residency such as a bill.
  • Social Security Card or affidavit

No photocopies will be accepted!

The closest DMV is in Kingsport.

You will have the opportunity to meet with a financial institution during International Student Orientation. If you are unable or do not wish to open an account at that time, you are welcome to visit a banking institution on your own. Please be cautious about the institution you choose and if you have any questions about the institution, please do not hesitate to ask.