INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS ADMISSIONS— FAQ

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

HOW DO I TRANSFER TO STRATFORD UNIVERSITY?

Your SEVIS record can be transferred to Stratford after you have been accepted by Stratford and have met the SEVIS requirements. You must first submit your Application for Admission and academic transcripts to the ISO. The ISO will give you a letter of acceptance and a SEVIS record transfer request. You must give these documents to your current university to complete the transfer. After your record has been transferred and you have registered for classes, you will be issued a new Certificate of Eligibility (Form I-20) by Stratford University.

WHAT COURSES TRANSFER TO STRATFORD UNIVERSITY?

You can transfer up to 50% of the credits required for a graduate degree and 75% percent of the credits required for an undergraduate degree. For instance, the typical Master’s degree is 12 courses (54 quarter credits). You can transfer up to 6 courses into this degree from an accredited institution. Courses eligible for transfer must match the target degree requirements and meet the minimum academic performance requirements.

HOW DO I APPLY TO STRATFORD UNIVERSITY?

You must first submit an Application for Admission, academic transcripts, proof of language proficiency, standardized academic test scores (GRE or GMAT), proof of financial support, copy of passport, and application fee (US $50) to Stratford University. Students transferring from other accredited institutions are not required to submit GRE or GMAT scores.

Stratford has not established pre-defined GRE or GMAT cut-off scores. The application package is reviewed as a whole (transcripts, test scores, work experience, life achievements) to determine your potential for academic success. Undergraduate students are not required to submit standardized academic test scores. Proof of financial support requires that you have sufficient funds to pay your first academic year’s expenses.

After review of your academic and financial documents, Stratford will issue a letter of acceptance and Certificate of Eligibility (Form I-20).

WHAT ARE STRATFORD’S LANGUAGE REQUIREMENTS?

International students must prove language proficiency by taking either a TOEFL or IELTS language test. The cut-off score for TOEFL is 79 (IBT) or 213 (CBT). The cut-off for IELTS is 6.5-band. This requirement is waived for students whose native language is English or who have obtained a degree in an English-speaking country.

I DON’T HAVE MY FINAL MARKS, MAY I STILL APPLY?

You may still apply, but the Consular Officer may delay a decision until you are able to provide your final marks and provisional certificate.

HOW DO I APPLY FOR A STUDENT VISA?

After you have been accepted by Stratford University, you must pay your SEVIS fees (currently US $200). You are then required to apply for your Student Visa at the local US Consulate office. You will be required to appear for a personal interview at a time set by the Consulate office.

The Consulate will provide a list of required documents. This list will include: your letter of acceptance, proof of financial support, Form I-20, and proof of SEVIS fee payment (Form I-901). Other supporting documents may be useful and are recommended by Stratford, including: statement of purpose, academic transcripts, test scores, and letters of recommendation.

At the interview, you must clearly explain why you selected Stratford for your education. If you are approved by the Consular Officer, the Consulate will issue your student Visa.

WHAT IS REQUIRED TO SHOW FINANCIAL SUPPORT?

Support for the first academic year must be in available assets such as a checking account or savings account. In the case of Stratford University, you must have assets to cover the tuition for the first three ten-week quarters (one academic year) and the associated living expenses for 7.5 months

Total cash requirements to cover the first academic year are shown on the table below. This table assumes that graduate students take two courses (9 credits) per quarter and undergraduate students take three classes (13.5 credits) per quarter at the current tuition of $370 per credit for undergraduate courses and $445 per credit for graduate courses. Living expenses are assumed to be $1000 per month.

FINANCIAL SUPPORT CASH REQUIREMENTS

Academic Level: Graduate
Tuition per Academic Year: $12,015
Living Expenses per Academic Year: $7,000
Total Cash: $19,015

Academic Level: Undergraduate
Tuition per Academic Year: $14,985
Living Expenses per Academic Year: $7,000
Total Cash: $21,985

Subsequent academic years can be demonstrated by providing letters or other documentation verifying ongoing anticipated earnings such as salary or investment income, or other assets that will demonstrate your ability to fund your program for the entire duration of the program.

WHAT IS THE SEVIS SYSTEMS?

The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is a program designed to track the status of all non-immigrant Visa holders. Stratford’s International Student Office uses this system to issue the Certificate of Eligibility (Form I-20) and to report enrollment status, address changes, authorized employment, and authorized leave. The status of dependents (if included on the I-20) is also reportable. It is important to notify the ISO of any of these reportable changes within 10 business days.

MUST I PAY THE FIRST YEAR OF TUITION IN ADVANCE

No. You must pay your tuition and fees prior to the beginning of each quarter. Proof of financial support requires that you have enough funds in the bank to pay your first year’s expenses, as shown on your Financial Support Document. All tuition and fees payments will be made to Stratford University after you have arrived in the US.

IF I DEFER MY START DATE, WILL I NEED A NEW VISA?

If you defer your start date at Stratford, you must request the ISO to issue you a new Form I-20 with revised dates. You must submit this request within 60 days of your start date or your Form I-20 will be cancelled. If your Form I-20 is cancelled, you will be required to apply for a new Visa. If your Form I-20 is revised in a timely manner, you will not need a new Visa.

CAN I TRAVEL OUTSIDE THE US BEFORE COMPLETING?

During your course of study, you may want to take a break and travel for a holiday or visit your family. If your travel plans involve leaving the United States, you must complete the Stratford Authorization for Leave Form and obtain an approval signature on your Form I-20 prior to your departure. If you do not have the travel authorization signature on the Form I-20, you will not be allowed to re-enter US.

CAN I TRAVEL WHILE ON OPTIONAL PRACTICAL TRAINING?

You may travel during Optional Practical Training (OPT). Since you are still using an F-1 Visa, you must obtain a travel authorization signature on the Form I-20 prior to your departure. Upon re-entry, you may be required to present the endorsed Form I-20, your Employment Authorization Card (EAD), and letter from your employer authorizing the leave.

HOW CAN I OBTAIN A SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER?

The Social Security Number (SSN) is issued by the Social Security Administration (SSA). International F-1 Visa holders are required to be legally employed before they can apply for the SSN. Contact the local SSA office to apply for a SSN.

HOW CAN I OPEN A BANK ACCOUNT?

International students should open a bank account with a local US bank soon after their arrival. Opening a bank account allows students to establish a secure and convenient mode of accessing and managing money. The majority of the transactions, including grocery shopping, can be completed with a credit or debit card. The nearest bank to the main campus is located within walking distance.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS FOR J-1 VISAS

CAN I WORK ON A J-1 VISA?

A student holding a J-1 visa may qualify for Academic Training (AT), only after completing an academic year of study. Students who qualify for Academic Training may work for 18 months in a job directly related to their degree field, either during their study (20 hrs. per week max) or after completion of their degree program (may be full time, must begin within 30 days of finishing program), or both during and after study. Only students in degree programs may qualify for Academic Training. AT is cumulative; so, if a student works for 6 months on AT during the degree program will only have 12 months remaining after the end of the program. Students must have a job offer to qualify for AT, and AT must be approved by the International Student Office before the student may begin work.

Students who do not qualify for AT, or do not wish to participate in AT, may work up to 20 hours per week on-campus, and only with prior approval from the International Student Office.

CAN MY SPOUSE WORK ON A J-2 DEPENDENT VISA?

Yes, a spouse on a J-2 dependent visa may work up to full-time for any employer. However, the spouse must first apply for work authorization through USCIS. Stratford University’s international office can provide more information and guidance on this topic.

CAN I DO CPT OR OPT ON A J-1 VISA?

No.

IF I COME ON A J-1 VISA, CAN I CHANGE TO AN F-1 VISA WHEN I GET THERE?

Maybe. Many J-1 visa holders are subject to the Two Year Home Residency Requirement. If the J-1 student is subject to this requirement, he or she may not change visa status while in the United States. If the J-1 visa holder is not subject to the two-year home residency requirement, then that student may change status to an F-1 visa while in the country.

WHAT IS THE TWO-YEAR HOE RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS?

The Two Year Home Residency Requirement applies to all students who are funded by their home government or the United States government, as well as students who are studying in a field that is greatly needed in their home country. If subject to this requirement, the student may not change visa status while in the United States. Also, after leaving the United States, the student may not return to the U.S. on an immigrant visa (H, L, green card). The student may return on another J-1 or F-1, B-1 or any other non-immigrant visa, but only after leaving the United States and receiving the new visa from their home country.

DO I HAVE TO STUDY FULL-TIME ON A J-1 VISA?

Yes. J-1 students must take a full-time on-campus course load (9 credits for graduate students, 13.5 credits for undergraduate students).