Welcome to Alcorn State University!

The University has a vibrant community of international students and scholars as well as a range of services and resources for supporting them. This page provides guidelines and resources for prospective and new international students.

Maintaining Student Status

What do I need to do to maintain my legal/student status?

As part of maintaining your legal status, you should also update your address, change in degree status, and so on in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), a web-based system that allows schools, U.S. consulates, U.S. ports of entry, and other U.S. government agencies to exchange data on the visa status of international students and scholars. In order to maintain your legal status as a student, you must comply with the following:

Requirement Explanation
Reporting Requirement
  • Must maintain a full course of study (9-12 hours fall and spring semesters)
  • Report changes in sources of financial support
  • Report any changes in program of study
  • Report any changes in academic status
Address Reporting
  • Notify the DSO (and SEVIS) of new name and/or address within 10 days of the change
  • Comply with requirement to notify DSO within 10 days; DSO will update SEVIS within 21 days to comply with INS notification
  • Provide physical home address to receive mail. If student does not have physical address, may provide mailing address to DSO
I-20 Changes
  • I-20 valid for the time period indicated according to the program of study for entry and exit and must include signature at the bottom of the DSO
  • Changes in Program of Study must be reported, as well as program end date, financial information and then obtain a new I-20 from DSO reflecting the changes
Entry and Exit
  • Enter U.S. up to 30 days prior to the start date on the I-20 for the academic term
  • Notify and receive approval of DSO to withdraw from the University
  • Have 15 day grace period to leave the U.S. before you fall out of status
  • Non-approval of withdrawals by the DSO means the student is immediately out of status
  • Allowable grace period student can remain in the U.S. following degree completion is 60 days for F-1 students
  • Notify DSO prior to traveling outside the U.S.
Proof of Funding for More Than One Year
  • Update Statement of Financial Support to validate funds available to support tuition and cost of living for more than one year
Mandatory Timeframes
  • Within 15 days of the program start date, student must contact the new DSO and register for classes
  • Once a student registers, the DSO creates an I-20 which allows the status as a continuing student and that the transfer is approved
  • Must apply for an extension of his/her I-20 prior to the expiration of the current end date
  • No extensions granted if students do not request prior to I-20 end date (must apply at least 30 days before end date)
Record Keeping
  • Maintain a valid passport at any time you travel outside the U.S.
  • Keep your I-20 or DS-2019 form valid and up-to-date at all times
  • Provide both permanent address in your home country and your mailing address here in the U.S.
Reduced Course Load
  • Academic – unfamiliarity with the English language, problems with reading and American teaching methods can be just cause to allow students to reduce their course load to 6 hours for one semester per academic year. Student must enroll full time next semester following part-time attendance.
  • Final Term – May attend part-time if you are in your last semester with one or two classes needed to complete your degree
  • Medical – Becoming ill or pregnant may be approved by the DSO to reduce your course load. A letter from a licensed physician must be provided to the DSO before dropping courses.
  • Employment for F-1 student must be approved by the DSO
  • On-Campus – employment must not begin earlier than 30 days prior to classes starting. Student may work up to 10 hours per week during the fall and spring and no more than 28 hours per week during summer months
  • Off-Campus – employment off-campus includes CPT which is part of the student’s program of study
CPT (Curricular Practical Training)
  • Job offer for F-1 student must be related ot student’s field of study. Advisor validates internship offer to determine relatedness to program of study
  • CPT must be authorized by the DSO prior to start date. CPT entered in SEVIS based on recommendation of academic advisor
  • Must begin CPT only after receiving your I-20 with the DSO endorsement before commencement of employment
  • Part Time – 20 hours or less per week; Full Time: more than 20 hours per week
  • CPT not available after student completes degree
OPT (Occupation Practical Training)
  • Must be authorized by the DSO prior to start date
  • OPT not available after student completes degree
Transfers for F-1 Students
  • Transferring student must contact the DSO within 15 days of the program start date and register for classes
  • May remain in the U.S. up to 5 months maximum upon completion of a degree program. The 5 months begins on the completion date of the first degree program
  • Out of status students are ineligible for transfer; they must either apply for reinstatement from INS or exit the U.S. and re-enter with an initial I-20 for a new program
  • Transfer Out – must notify the DSO of the date and the name of the school; Acceptance letter for admission must be presented to the DSO along with the Transfer-In form from the receiving university
Distance Education
  • Allowed to take only one distance learning class per semester