F-1 International Students

Information for prospective F-1 International Students can be found here.

Cornish College of the Arts is authorized by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, to enroll international students as full-time, degree-seeking students with F-1 (student) visas. SEVIS, the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, is the United States government’s information system for international students and is monitored by SEVP. Cornish has a Primary Designated School Official (PDSO) who maintain records for each international student who requires an I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility) to study at Cornish. It is the responsibility of international students to maintain their valid immigration status for the duration of their stay in the United States. Students must adhere to federal regulations and stay current with updates and notices by keeping in contact with Cornish’s PDSO in the Registration & Records Office. It is extremely important that information in SEVIS is kept current at all times.

Federal regulations require that:

  • International students report to the PDSO for initial registration in SEVIS within 30 days of the
    beginning of their first semester at Cornish.
  • The PDSO must be notified within 10 days of a change of address.
  • Any change of information listed on the I-20 -- such as changes in major field of study, expected
  • year of graduation, or biographic information -- must be reported to the PDSO.


Each fall and spring semester’s enrollment must be fulltime (a minimum of 12 credits per semester). International students may be eligible to reduce their course below 12 credits per semester only if they have a medical condition, are in their final semester of study or are encountering language difficulty in their first year – check in with the PDSO for more information before registering for a reduced course load. Students are required to continue full-time registration until their request for a reduced course load is approved by SEVIS.


International students who are not able to finish their program by the end date listed on their I-20 must notify the PDSO before the program end date. They must be maintaining their valid immigration status and making acceptable academic progress in order to extend their program.


International students who wish to travel outside the U.S. before completing their studies at Cornish must have their I-20 endorsed by a Cornish Designated School Official at some point within the preceding 12 months in order to gain reentry into the U.S. A valid visa is usually required for re-entry, as well. Passports must be kept valid at all times. International students are responsible for verifying their I-94 Admission Record each time upon reentering the U.S. The record is accessible at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov.


International students who are maintaining a valid F-1 visa status and have completed their program of study may remain in the U.S. for up to 60 days after the program end date listed on their I-20. Students may also be eligible to apply for a 12-month Optional Practical Training (OPT) that allows them to work in their fields after completing their studies. Students must contact the Registration & Records Office and the PDSO to obtain authorization before they take a leave of absence or withdraw from Cornish. Federal regulations give students 15 days to depart from the U.S. or transfer to another school if they have authorization to withdraw from their program. Failure to depart from the U.S. will result in a violation of status. Federal regulations require students to leave the U.S. immediately if they violate their visa status in any way.


International Student employment is restricted by federal regulations and must be authorized by the PDSO prior to engaging in any work. Students who are maintaining a valid F-1 visa status are permitted to work on-campus for a maximum of 20 hours per week while the College is in session and 40 hours during College breaks. Please note, however, that most on-campus student employment at Cornish is set aside for students with federal or state work-study awards, for which F-1 students are not eligible. Off-campus employment for all international students must be authorized through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services -- contact the PDSO for more information.


  • Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary employment that is directly related to an F-1 student’s major area of study. Eligible students can apply to receive up to 12 months of OPT employment authorization before completing their academic studies (pre-completion) and/or after completing their academic studies (post-completion). Periods of pre-completion OPT will be deducted from the available period of post-completion OPT. Interested students should contact the PDSO at the beginning of their last term of study for more information on applying for post-completion OPT.
  • Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is temporary authorization for practical training that is directly related to the student’s major field of study and is part of the student’s degree program. "Practical training" can include employment, internship experience (paid or unpaid), practicum participation, etc. Students must be enrolled in coursework (e.g. an associated credit-bearing internship) to participate in CPT, and the request for CPT must be authorized by the PDSO before the training begins.  
Part-time CPT and fewer than 12 months of full-time CPT authorization does not affect your OPT eligibility.


Principal Designated School Official: Adrienne Bolyard, Dean of Academic Services abolyard@cornish.edu
Designated School Official: Sharron Starling, Director of Admission sstarling@cornish.edu

Other Resources

Office of Student Life studentlife@cornish.edu