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Is there financial aid available to international students? Many domestic/American students take out loans from the American government that allows them to pay for tuition. These loans are not available to international students. If you require additional money, we encourage you to do some research online as there are scholarships available to international students. Kent State also has a limited number of assistantships for graduate students. If you do receive an assistantship, please let us know. Your assistantship offer letter is your evidence of financial support.

Where can I live? If you are an incoming freshman, you are required to live on campus. Please go to the Residence Services website to check out on-campus housing at Kent State. If you are eligible and planning to live off-campus, you can research options at Kent Cribs website.

Which airport should I fly into? There are many airports around the Kent area. The closest is the Akron-Canton International Airport (CAK).  The largest airport in the area is the Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport (CLE).

When does the semester start? Please see the academic calendar to determine the first day of classes. Be advised that you should arrive no later than the start date of your I-20 (found in section 5); if you try to enter the United States after this date, you could be denied entry. This date is earlier than the start of classes because you are required to attend orientation. You are allowed to enter the U.S. up to 30 days before this date. If you try to enter the United States more than 30 days before your Program Start Date, you could be denied entry.

Do I have to attend Orientation? Yes. At Orientation, you will receive a lot of important information on staying in legal visa status, getting a bank account, working while you are here, safety, staying healthy, and many other topics. In addition, you will have the opportunity to meet other international students, as well as the ISSS advisors and other OGE staff. 

Do I have to carry medical insurance while I am here? Yes. Not only is having medical insurance a requirement when you are studying at Kent State, it is very important to have, as well. In the U.S., we do not have universal health care; each individual must purchase health insurance in order to be covered. Medical costs can be very expensive; health insurance can help you to cover some of the costs, in the event that you need any type of health care (illness, accidents, general check-ups). Additionally, many health insurance companies offer dental insurance and vision insurance, which will allow you to get your teeth cleaned and have eye exams if you need them. For information on the current academic year University Health Plan, contact University Health Services at (330) 672-8251, or visit the Aetna website. For information on alternative health insurance plans you can visit the NAFSA website. 

I have questions about immunizations and health requirements for studying at Kent State. Who should I ask? If you have questions such as these, please visit University Health Services website or call them at 330-672-8263.

Can I receive medical attention if I am under the age of 18? You cannot receive medical attention if you are under the age of 18 and do not have your parent's signature on the Medical History Form.

What should I pack before I arrive to Kent?

  • Immigration Documents 
    • Kent State University issued I-20 or DS-2019 Form
    • Passport (with US Visa) 
  • Special computer or internet hookup (plugs, wires) The voltage in North America is 110V, so you will need a transformer for any electrical device. (International outlet adapter).
  • Medications/Prescriptions
  • Medical History with English Translation
  • Medical/Hospital Insurance (other than University insurance)

What should I purchase upon my arrival to Kent? (These items are NOT provided by the University)

  • Computer
  • Calculator
  • Dictionary/Thesaurus
  • Pens/Pencils/Notebook Paper
  • Towels and Wash Cloths
  • Personal Toiletries and Appliances (hairdryer, shampoo, soap, make-up, deodorant, shaving kit, etc.)
  • Pillows                                   
  • Floor Rugs or Carpet
  • Bed Sheets                            
  • Blankets                                
  • Desk Lamp
  • Alarm Clock                          
  • Laundry Supplies
  • Clothes Hangers                    
  • Clothes Iron

It would be advisable to purchase many of these items upon arrival, since you may be traveling a great distance and need to bring many other necessary items, including clothing for four different seasons. These items are low in cost and can be purchased at the University Bookstore or other nearby stores.

What kind of clothes will I need in Kent? Kent, Ohio, has four seasons so it is helpful to plan your clothing for all types of weather. In the fall it is important to prepare for the rain and warm to cold temperatures. Winter in Ohio will be very cold and it will most definitely snow. It would be useful to pack at least one heavy coat, scarf, gloves, boots and a warm hat. Spring time weather is very similar to fall, so prepare for warm days, cold days and rain. Summer in Kent will be warm. If you are planning to stay in Kent over the summer, you should plan to wear lighter and light colored clothing.

Average Temperatures for Fall : 9°C (Avg. low) to 12°C (Avg. High)
Average Temperatures for Winter: -8°C (Avg. Low) to  8°C (Avg. High)
Average Temperatures for Spring: 3°C (Avg. Low) to 15° (Avg. High)
Average Temperatures for Summer: 12°C (Avg. Low) to 27°C (Avg. High)

As an international student, can I open a U.S. bank account? Yes. You may open a bank account at any bank you choose. The most common bank that our students choose is Huntington (there is an on-campus branch in the Student Center, as well as one on Rt. 59 near Loop Road).

How do I get a Social Security Number (SSN)? You cannot get a social security card/number without a job offer. As a new international student, it may seem like you need a social security card to open certain accounts (phone, bank, electric); however, most providers WILL allow you to sign up for an account without one. If a company (such as a cell phone provider) will not let you sign up without an SSN, you will be unable to get a phone with that provider. If you have a job offer, you will have to get an SSEV form and complete an I-9 form. ISSS can help you with these.

How many credit hours are required to be a "full time" student? In order to be a full time student and meet the enrollment requirements to maintain valid F-1 student status, undergraduate students must be enrolled a minimum of 12 hours and graduate students must be enrolled for a minimum of 8 credit hours.

I have to go to another country for my research during the summer break. What should I do before I go there? ISSS cannot give any advice on entering a foreign country; you need to check the entry requirements yourself. However, to return make sure you have a valid Passport, valid entry visa (not expired, issued for multiple entries), and that you have had your I-20 or DS-2019 endorsed for travel by an ISSS advisor. International students are not required to register for summer unless it is their first or last semester so there are no registration issues when traveling over summer. Note: If you plan to be out of the country for more than 5 months, please see an ISSS advisor.

Do I need a new signature on my I-20 every time I travel? No. The travel signature on page 3 is valid for one year.

Can I work full time on campus? You can work up to 20 hours per week during the fall and spring terms. During summer vacation, winter break, and spring break, you can work full time. You do not need any special approval from ISSS to work on campus.

Can I work off campus?
You can only work off campus if you have been approved for CPT or OPT. Both of these require authorization. You can find more information on CPT and OPT in the ISSS Forms Library. You must be authorized for CPT or OPT before you participate in an internship of any kind.

How can a dependent in F-2 obtain permission to work? They cannot. Anyone in F-2 status is not permitted to work, under any circumstances.

Thank you! If you still have questions, email

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