Admitted International Students for Academic Year 2013-14
Dear Admitted Students,
On behalf of the office of Multicultural Relations, we congratulate you on your admission to the Princeton Theological Seminary's Master of Theology, Master of Arts (Theological Studies), Non-degree Programs. We would be extremely honored to have you as a student within our diverse and unique community.
We know that coming to a distant community requires all sorts of preparation. In addition to the joys of anticipation there are prayerful as well as sad "farewells." May it be heartening for you to know that you will have colleagues here from every continent and many faithful churches. Also, be assured that the staff at Princeton Seminary will assist you in any way they can with the details and issues related to your studies. The following information will provide you with a framework as to the items needed to begin your enrollment process.
International Scholars Program
Annually, a limited number of scholarships are awarded to Th.M., M.A.(T.S.) and M.A. students with advanced standing coming to study at Princeton Seminary from outside the United States. There are two tiers of international scholarships:
The Presidential International Scholarship, covers full tuition, comprehensive fee, single student health insurance premium, single room and board, and money for books, food, and miscellaneous expenses.
The Trustee International Scholarship, covers full tuition, comprehensive fee, single student health insurance premium, and money for miscellaneous expenses.
As a rule, these awards are offered by the Admissions Committee to prospective students who do not currently reside in or have not previously studied in the United States. The committee also considers the applicant's academic qualifications and the leadership positions to which they will return in their home country (as outlined in the ecclesiastical endorsement presented with the admissions materials).
M.Div. candidates are not considered for the international scholars program but may apply for our need-based PTS grant program with a current maximum of 80% tuition coverage.
Part of our responsibility includes working with entering international students on the financial and F-1 visa aspects of your program. As indicated in the application, you are expected to come alone for the duration of your degree program. Housing, in the form of a dormitory room, will be provided for you. Please note that you may incur additional expenses such as telephone, transportation, clothing, medical expenses not covered by insurance, and recreation costs which are not included on the Declaration and Certificate of Finances form.
It takes many months to finalize arrangements for your stay at PTS. If you accept the terms and conditions of admission set forth in this letter, your documentation must be received in my office by April 15, 2013.
You will receive an International Declaration and Certificate of Finances Form which shows the estimated expenses for your program. You are responsible for providing us with credible evidence that your anticipated remaining need will be met in full and will be available to you during your program. For a description of acceptable financial documentation, please refer to the description on the first page of the Declaration and Certificate of Finances Form. You will need funds (with supporting and official documentation) for travel expenses to and from your country. I encourage you to begin immediately the process of locating the individual, family, and church financial resources available to you in your own country and elsewhere, in order to meet your budget.
Once you have completed the Financial Aid application process, Princeton Seminary can then estimate your tax burden which will be reflected in your revised Declaration and Certificate of Finances Form. It may be that your government has a specific tax treaty with the United States government, and this may have a bearing on the rate at which you are taxed. This rate, however, will not be greater than 14%. For a list of tax treaty countries, please see: http://www.irs.gov/businesses/international/article/0,,id=96739,00.html.
During your orientation period you will be required to fill out a number of tax related forms. If you have previously visited the United States, please bring a list of those dates and the visa category you entered under. These dates are used to determine whether you are a resident or non-resident alien for tax purposes. You will also need to know if you have previously claimed the benefits of a tax treaty.
If you are meeting your budget with your own personal resources, you will need to provide bank or investment statements demonstrating you have these funds available. Credible evidence of funding may include:
- promissory notes from churches, friends, family or other benefactors. Those promising to give to your future financial needs must provide sufficient documented evidence of income and/or investments on official letterhead. These sponsors must also provide a notarized affidavit of the reasons for their financial support of you.
- Other forms of credible evidence may be scholarships which you can reasonably hope to receive or for which you will be eligible in future years. Financial documentation from the scholarship source must also be provided by the financial institution on official letterhead and duly notarized.
- If you will receive support from churches, friends, family members or other benefactors who are in the United States, each of theses sources must complete the enclosed Form I-134 Affidavit of Support issued by the Department of Homeland Security.
As you may know, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services "USCIS" (formerly the "INS") has a non-immigrant, computer tracking system called the Student Exchange Visitor Information System ("SEVIS"). We will work together over the coming weeks to process all of the documents and information required for the Seminary to issue you a form I-20 with which you will apply for an F-1 student visa.
We must be in receipt of all the following signed and completed documentation to the address listed below prior to April 15, 2013:
- International Student Declaration and Certificate of Finances Form
- F-1 student information sheet
A letter addressed to my attention accepting and agreeing to the terms of your admission as outlined in our letter. You may e-mail the letter to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once we receive confirmation of travel funds along with the enclosed forms and all of your documentation is in order, we will issue a Form I-20, which you will use to apply for a non-immigrant F-1 visa. You are expected to be in valid F-1 status by August 1, 2013.
Housing & Orientation
Your on-campus housing will be available to you on and no earlier than August 27, 2013. Please do not arrive on campus prior to the pertinent date as your accommodation will not be open before then. Beginning Wednesday, August 28th, you will participate in the Seminary's REQUIRED Early Orientation Program for International Students. This program will help you to become acquainted with the Seminary procedures, introduce you to other students, staff, and professors, and giveyou a sense of what living in Princeton is like. Please provide us with a current telephone number, facsimile number, and/or e-mail address and indicate the most efficient way to reach you in the coming months in the enclosed Student Contact Sheet.
You must meet all immunization requirements before you may begin classes. Proof of immunization is required by August 15, 2013 and/or before you may begin classes.
If you already have a U.S. Social Security card, please bring it with you. Your number is still valid and will be used by the Seminary. If your passport was issued within the last twelve months, Social Security may ask for confirmation of your birth date with another document issuedmore than twelve months ago, e.g. a birth certificate. If you use a copy of such document, it must be certified by a government agency with a raised seal. If you have an international driver's license please bring it with you.
I am available to assist you in whatever way I can, so, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. My direct e-mail address is email@example.com. Also, please email Ms. Cheryl A. Huston in the Office of Multicultural Relations and she will be more than happy to assist you in your transition.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Victor Aloyo, Jr.
Director of Multicultural Relations
The following forms are to be completed and returned to the Office of Multicultural Relations:
I-134 Affidavit of Support
I-134 Affidavit of Support Instructions
Student Contact Sheet
How to obtain F-1 Student Status
F-1 Visa Information
F-2 Dependent Visa Information
Enrollment Review Form
Victor introducing Cheryl