International Student Services has a new name: The Office of International Students & Scholars (OISS).
The office will continue to serve international students and visiting scholars in the same manner, and, in the spirit of One University, will now extend immigration advising and services to all international faculty and staff (including those on H-1B, TN, Permanent Resident, etc.), effective July.
In light of Global Engagement Week, here is an overview of the services that OISS has, and will continue to, provide: OISS is the hub for international students, administering guidance on immigration matters and connecting students to resources within and beyond the St. Thomas community. With the rising numbers of international students coming to study in the United States, and St. Thomas’ position as No. 4 among the top five schools for international students in the state of Minnesota, OISS’ services remain important.
OISS’ primary function is to advise international students on federal immigration regulations and ensure compliance through reporting continuously to the Department of Homeland Security and Department of State. In addition to the reporting, the office works to educate international students on how to maintain a legal status in the U.S. from a comprehensive orientation week and throughout their stay at St. Thomas.
Aside from immigration, OISS also assists international students and scholars with cultural adjustment in the U.S., programming and other issues, such as academic, personal, financial and cultural matters.
OISS also is responsible for work authorization that allow international students to work off campus; currently 76 international students are working off campus in their field of study under Curricular Practical Training. Sixty-one graduated international students are working through Optional Practical Training, and of those, 77 percent are gainfully employed in their field of study.
Faculty members can email Lori Friedman, OISS director, to learn more and receive a monthly update with available resources, relevant articles and events. OISS also encourages on-campus departments to contact Friedman to arrange a visit to discuss international challenges and opportunities.