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International Graduate Student Guidelines

General Guidelines

As an international graduate student, it is your responsibility to follow both institutional and federal regulations to avoid losing your F-1 student status and visa. Always contact your Admissions Office and your DSO with any questions or concerns you might have about the following regulations:

  • Be a full-time student

The Department of Homeland Security requires F-1 students to maintain a full course of study and that the course of study must lead to the attainment of a specific educational or professional objective.     

At Carson-Newman University a full course of study is defined as: 12 credit hours for undergraduate students, 9 credit hours for graduate students enrolled in MAT/MEd., MSC, MSN, MAAT, and MASJ programs and 6 credit hours (or 3 credit hours during each 8-week session) for graduate students enrolled in MBA or EDD/EDS programs.

You are not required to enroll in classes during any summer session, but you do have the option to. When a student does not remain in status the I-20, visa, and I-94 are no longer valid!                      

  • Carry Health Insurance

Health insurance is mandatory for international students in the U.S. Click here for information about Carson-Newman’s Health Insurance. All international students will be charged each semester for student health insurance. It will automatically be included in your bill at the beginning of the semester. Cost per month is approximately $132.00.

  • Keep Your Information and Documents Current

Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months into the future. Carry your passport, I-94 card, and I-20 with you at all times! Apply for I-20 extensions at least 60 days prior to your I-20 completion date. Contact your Advisor and DSO for approval. Report any change of address to your DSO within 10 days of moving.

  • Prepare For Traveling and Transitions

See your DSO at least one week before leaving the U.S. to obtain the appropriate signature on your I-20 and complete your travel clearance form to return. Once you leave the U.S. after your listed degree is completed, you may not reenter, even if your I-20 has not expired. When your degree is complete, you have a 60 day grace period to either: Apply for a new degree program and I-20, leave the U.S., or begin Optional Practical Training. Always save your outdated travel documents for future reference.

International Graduate Student DSO contact information:

Mrs. Nilma Stewart

Email: nstewart@cn.edu or adult@cn.edu

Phone: (865) 471-3230

Fax: (865) 471-4817

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