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Frequently Asked Questions  

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Questions about internship employment:    

 Q:  Will the university find an internship job for me?

A:   It will be the responsibility of the co-op student to find an internship employment position.  However, the university will help the student in this endeavor by assisting with the preparation of a resume, introductions to companies looking for employees and showing students how to search for employment through the newspapers, the internet, job fairs or other placement services.

Q: What is the likelihood that I will find my internship employment?

A: Internship positions are available for all students.  However, the type of internship position will depend on your skills, your experience, and your English ability.  The co-op program is a mandatory program so every co-op student will be employed.  

Q: How long will it take for me to obtain my internship employment?

A: Most students will obtain employment in the first month at the campus.  For those with limited skills, it may take a little longer to find a suitable internship position.

Q.  Will my internship job be arranged before I come to the U.S.?

A. No.  It is very difficult to have a job arranged for students prior to their arrival due to the fact that employers almost always want to interview the candidates personally.  However, Schiller has contacts with companies that will hire students for a temporary entry level job, so they can be employed as soon as possible.   While working in the entry level position, the student can simultaneously be searching for a more suitable job, and still fulfill the requirement of being in an internship.

A: Q:  How much can I earn in an internship job?

A:  Some entry level jobs will pay approximately $7.00 per hour, but more highly skilled positions may pay up to $10 or more per hour.   Students are allowed to work up to 40 hours per week, with overtime also possible, depending on the job.  

Q: Can I find an internship job only in the field related to my major or is any field O.K?  

A:  The employment needs to be related to an integral part of the curriculum.  Consequently, a job which is related to concepts and principles that you may be learning in any of your classes will be acceptable.      

Q: How many working hours will I probably work each week?

A: Your employment can be as a regular full time employee with the same benefits as are granted to all other employees.  Most employees work 40 hours per week and receive a one week vacation per year.  However, part-time employment is also available, as you may choose. 

Q: Do I have to work overtime?  Can I keep the overtime bonus?

A: Some companies want the interns to work overtime, while others do not have overtime available.  However, you may keep for your own use all overtime income that you may earn.    

Q. What if I can't find employment?

A.  Because there are many minimum wage jobs available, it is highly unlikely that an intern would not be able to find some type of employment. 

Q: Do I have to have a social security card and a work permit?

  A: The procedure for obtaining a Social Security card and permission to work begins with obtaining a job offer letter from a prospective employer.   Once an employer agrees to hire a student, such a letter will be issued by that employer.   The letter is to be taken to the university for a signature on the student’s original I-20 form where Curricular Practical Training is authorized.   This signature by the university official on the I-20 serves as the co-op student’s “work permit”.   The next step is to take the job offer letter and the signed I-20 to the Social Security office where application is made for a Social Security Number. 

Q: Will I have to pay taxes?

A: Your employer may be required to hold back from your monthly earnings a little bit of money to cover any taxes that you might owe.   However, after April 15th of each year most international students find that they get a refund of all, or almost all, of this withheld amount.   

Q: Is there a way for me to work before actually starting to attend classes in order for me to save more money and add it to my current savings? 

A:  While it is difficult for students to find employment so quickly, they are technically allowed to begin employment during the month prior to beginning classes.

Q: Could the work authorization be possibly converted into a full time work permit upon completion of the Masters program?

 A:  Converting the internship job into a full time job, such as under an H1-b, is possible.   But, it all depends upon whether the company you find to work for during the internship is willing to sponsor you for an H1-b.

Questions about Co-op Program:    

Q:  What is Curricular Practical Training? 

A:  Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is the legal description for the paid internship employment that students engage in while in a co-op program.  The purpose of CPT is to give students practical experience in the workplace to augment what they are learning in the classroom.

Q:  What is Optional Practical Training?

A:  Optional Practical Training (OPT) is the legal description for the one year employment that you are allowed to engage in after you graduate from your Master's program.  The purpose of OPT is to give you further practical experience in the workplace relating to your Master's major.   

Q:  Am I allowed to engage in both CPT and OPT? 

A:  Yes.  However, if you work for more than one year of CPT, then you may not be allowed to do the one year of OPT.  

Q:  If I choose to work in CPT for the entire length of time I am in the Master's program, will I be allowed to do so?

A:  Yes, you are allowed to engage in CPT for as long as you are a student in the Master's program, even if that is for 2 1/2 years or more.   However, as indicated above, if, in fact, you do work for more than a year you may not be allowed to do the additional one year of OPT after you graduate

Q: How can I go to school and work at the same time?

A: All Co-op courses will be offered in the executive MBA format.  That is, classes will be offered in the evenings and on weekends. 

Q: Can I take on-line courses?

A:  Yes.  Each course offered in the Master degree programs is available on-line.  Students will be able to take one on-line course per semester along with their on-site classes.  

Q: Can I transfer my credits from another school?  

A. The university may give credit for courses already taken at the Master's level at another school, if the other school is accredited and if the course content being transferred is basically the same as one of the courses in the university's requirement for that major.  The Registrar will make this decision when you arrive for your first class.

Q: Can you tell me if I will be accepted with my current degree?

If you have a bachelor degree from a recognized and accredited university in any major you are qualified for acceptance, although you may be required to take some prerequisite courses, depending on your major, assuming you meet all of the other requirements for admission.

Q: What if I decide to transfer to a different university?

A:  If you enroll at the university and complete your course work for one semester and choose to transfer to another university you are free to do so, so long as your bills at the university are all paid in full up to that date

Q: Is there any financial aid available?

A:  The financial aid that we can offer at the university is the legal right to obtain full time employment from an American company for the entire time you are in the graduate school.  Thus, students have the potential of earning in internship employment much more often than what they might obtain in a scholarship from a different university.     

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Questions about Visas:       

Q.  Do I have to apply for a visa in my own country?  

A:   The American consulates in each country of the world make the decision about whether or not a visa applicant must be in his/her own country in order to apply for a visa.  However, the general custom is that an international student will be allowed to apply for a visa in countries other than his/her own.

Q.  Do I have to pay the Sevis fee before I go in for my interview?

A. Homeland Security is now requiring F-1 students to pay a $100 SEVIS fee before the student can apply for the visa.  Students will need a receipt showing payment of the fee before they can go to the visa interview.

Q.  How do I pay the Sevis fee?

A. Students can go to and apply on line using a credit card which is the fastest way to make this payment. Students will receive an e-mail receipt which they will take to the consulate office at the time of their visa interviews. 

Q.  Can my spouse or children accompany me to the US?  

A:   A spouse will be allowed to apply for a visa to accompany the student.  The spouse (with children) may apply at the same time the student applies, or may wait for several months to apply until after the student arrives in the U.S. and gets settled.   The spouse will need to show additional financial support or a bank statement with sufficient additional money to support him/herself (and children) when accompanying the student spouse to the U.S.  

Q.  Do I need permission from Immigration Services in order to work off campus? 

A. Students will have an F-1 student visa and, by the nature of the university's "co-op" program (which requires internship employment) no further permission is required by the Immigration Service.   Once the student finds employment that is certified to be "curriculum related", the university will issue the appropriate authorization signature allowing the student to begin working.

Q:  Can I take a break during summer quarter to return to my country then return back to school for fall quarter? 

A:   Students must attend school full time for 2 consecutive semesters (9 months) before they are eligible to take a vacation from their studies.   

Q: What is required in order to bring my spouse and family?  

A:  In order for your spouse and/or children to accompany you, the university must issue a separate I-20 form.  Your family can apply for an F2 (dependant) visa. The university will need the following information for each family member (including spouse):  full name, date of birth, country of birth, and country of citizenship. 

Q:  If my visa is valid for only 2 years, will I need to get it extended before it expires?  

A:   Having a 2 year visa does not mean that you have to go back to your home country at the end of two years.  Rather, you can stay for as long as you like beyond the two years to finish your education in the U.S.   The length of the visa just limits how long you have to cross the border into the U.S.  That is, if, during those two years you want to go home to visit a number of times you can use that visa (permission to cross the border into the U.S.) as often as the visa permits.   But, after the two years are over, you need to renew your visa so that, if you leave the U.S. and come back, you will have a valid visa to do so.   All visas can generally be renewed for students who are legally in the U.S. and want a longer time to leave the country for a visit to their home countries.  

Q: I am already in the US on a B-1 visa.  Can I change to F-1?

 A:  If you are going to change to F-1, which you need to do in order to get into the paid internship program at the university, it is much better to do that while in your home country.    If you come to the U.S. and then apply for a change of status to F-1 it can take up to several months of waiting while the immigration service processes your application.    But if you take your I-20 form from the university to the consulate in your home country and apply for an F visa, the decision can me made immediately by the visa officials there. Then there will be no delay in your starting school and getting a paid internship job.   

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