From: International Student Services
Date: April 28, 2021
Subject: ISS News, April 28, 2021: Global Citizen Honorees, Alumni Events, Cleveland Asian Festival, Day of Remembrance, OPT, Taxes, Good Vibes, & More


April 28, 2021


in this issue:

  1. Tax Information for 2020 Filing Year
  2. OPT & CPT Workshops
  3. Features
  4. Campus Happenings
  5. Other Opportunities
  6. Good Vibes Only
  7. We Hear Your Questions
  8. 2021 Global Citizen Award Winners


ISS Staff is available to students, without an appointment, on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday during advising hours:

11am to 3pm- through virtual advising available online

There are no advising hours on Wednesday.


If you need to speak with an advisor outside of our advising hours, please send an email to to schedule an appointment. Please provide your full, legal name and a brief description of the nature of your appointment when you contact us.

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We Hear Your Questions

ISS has been receiving many emails over the past few weeks and the most popular topics on your minds right now are:

  • vaccine policy

  • housing

  • quarantining

  • visa Issuance

  • maintaining status.

We hear you!  We want to know more about these things too and to be able to give you better answers than “we are still waiting for information” or “we do not yet know.”  Truthfully, there is a lot that we just cannot answer definitively right now.  We know this is frustrating to hear.  It is frustrating for us to tell you too.

Please continue to keep in touch with ISS throughout the spring and summer.  We will continue to do our best to answer your questions and support you.  As we learn more, as policies become finalized, and as plans become more concrete, ISS will continue to share information with you.  We will send messages directly to your email accounts, we will include information in ISSNews, and we will update our website.

Thank you for your continued patience and understanding!

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2021 Global Citizen Award Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the 2021 Global Citizen Awards! The awards recognize outstanding individuals and organizations that champion internationalization at CWRU, enhance the international student experience, and exemplify the university's values of inclusion and diversity.

This year’s honorees were chosen for their incredible contributions to the CWRU university community.

The winners are:

Spirit of Service - Rita Lakhssassi

Unsung Champion - Fei Wang

Outstanding Student Organization - International Student Fellowship

Outstanding Campus Partner in Collaboration - Office of Undergraduate Studies

Laurie D. Zelman International Undergraduate Student - Avantika Bhaduri

International Leader - Kim McFarlin

Elise Lindsay International Graduate Student - Arvind Singh Heer

You can read more about each winner and the awards on our website!

Tax Information for 2020 Filing Year

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Tax Deadline Extended to May: Forms & Sprintax Availablity

Sprintax is a tax-return-preparation software program designed primarily for international students and other educational visa holders. It can help you prepare your U.S. federal income tax return and assist you in preparing Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ.  In a recent blog post, Sprintax staff explain the IRS' tax filing deadline extension to May 17.

You may access Sprintax and begin preparing your tax return by following these steps:

  1. Register and follow the simple instructions
  2. Complete the online questionnaire
  3. Enter Case Western Reserve University’s unique code.  This code was sent to you via email on February 17.
  4. Sprintax will prepare your tax return

If Sprintax determines that you are required to file state taxes, you will have the opportunity to prepare those state taxes. You are not required to use Sprintax to file state taxes but, remember, it is your responsibility to comply with the law and properly file all taxes.

If by now, you haven't received your W-2 from CWRU, contact Payroll at If you were authorized to work for another employer, you should contact their payroll department.

For more information regarding the 1098-T, please visit Financial Services website to download the Nonresident Alien 1098-T Request Form.

1042-S forms were prepared in mid-March and sent to students by Payroll. Please contact Payroll if you have questions about the issuance of your 1042-S.

For more information, visit our Information on Filing Taxes page and if you have any questions, the Sprintax team will be happy to help via their 24/7 live chat function or email ISS staff members cannot advise you on your questions, which is why we partner with the experts at Sprintax.

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Sprintax Offers Tax Webinars to Prepare for Tax Filing Season 2020 

ISS partners with Sprintax to provide international students, who are considered non-resident aliens for tax purposes, with expert assistance when filing their US taxes.

The Sprintax team will be hosting a series of free open tax webinars to provide helpful information around non-resident tax filing obligations.

You can find the details and registration links below for each (these are all in EST). 

The informational webinars will cover the same topics on each occasion:

  • An overview of tax for nonresident students and scholars
  • Who must file a 2020 US tax return
  • What income forms students/scholars may receive
  • Forms that need to be completed and sent to the IRS
  • We cover terms like FICA, ITIN and Form 1098-T
  • What happens if students don’t file, or misfile
  • State tax returns
  • IRS stimulus payments
  • Sprintax overview
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OPT & CPT Workshops

ISS is offering Optional Practical Training (OPT) and CPT Workshops to go over in detail the application process, student responsibilities, and other important considerations.
Being well informed before applying for either authorization is extremely important and applying early is critical!

USCIS is publishing that it takes 3-5 months to process submitted OPT applications. Plan to complete a required OPT workshop as early as possible to be best prepared. Remember, you do not need to have a job offer to apply for OPT!

You do need to have a job offer before applying for CPT authorization and you are not eligible to begin your experience until you have proper authorization in place. It can take several days to become authorized.

Virtual workshops led by an advisor have been scheduled and information about required registration, attendance, and the application process can be found on our website under the OPT and CPT sections.

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Electronic Filing Option for OPT I-765

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on April 12 that F-1 students seeking optional practical training (OPT) are eligible to apply for employment authorization online if they are filing under one of these categories:

  • (c)(3)(A) – Pre-Completion OPT;
  • (c)(3)(B) – Post-Completion OPT; and
  • (c)(3)(C) – 24-Month Extension for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students.

This is very exciting news! ISS hopes that electronic filing will promote efficient processing at USCIS while providing added convenience to students.

USCIS has not yet provided any training options or additional information to school officials about this new process so that ISS staff can help students navigate it.  ISS staff expects to receive training and additional information from USCIS later in April and May and we are confident that we will, with time, be able to support students through the electronic filing process.

Until this electronic filing process becomes more established, ISS recommends that students continue to file the I-765 using the traditional paper form that is included with all other OPT materials and mailed to USCIS for processing.   We understand that taking advantage of an electronic filing option is extremely appealing, but please consider that there can be unexpected challenges and delays with any new process and ISS knows neither the details of this new process nor how best to assist students with the unexpected.  Ultimately, we understand that students will make decisions that they think are best.  ISS just wants to make sure that you’re as well-informed as possible to do so.

As ISS learns more, we will certainly share information with students.  Please feel free to contact us with questions and we will do our best to answer them!

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Beware of Scams

During the spring, particularly around tax time through university commencements, scams are common. ISS wants to make sure that international students are aware of these scams and know how to protect themselves.  Visit our website for more information.


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Campus Happenings

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CAREer Network: Interactive Virtual Tour of Sydney, Australia 

G'day, Spartans! No need to pack any bags or grab your passport, we're headed to Australia virtually! As a current CWRU Connect member, you are getting early access to join CWRU students and alumni for an interactive virtual tour with a live guide in Sydney, Australia. After the tour, there will be an opportunity for students and alumni to connect.

Thursday, April 29 Tour begins at 8 p.m. EDT Crikey, space is extremely limited, so don't miss this exciting chance to head down under and tour Australia's largest and most well-known city! Register straight away!

View this event in CWRU Connect | The Alumni Career Network

PNC Financial Wellness Program

PNC's Financial Wellness Series

Thursday, April 29
Start End   Event         Location
12:00pm 1:00pm Safeguarding Yourself: A Workshop on Identity Protection Private Location (rsvp to display)
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Day of Remembrance

The Day of Remembrance is set to be on May 7. It will be a reflective time to remember the loved ones lost since March 2020 as well as the meaningful events missed and ongoing activities stopped altogether. Throughout the day there will be a series of activities from a memory wall, virtual panels, and campus community sessions. You can read more about upcoming details here in a message from President Cowen and Provost Vinson.

Other Opportunities

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UNIV 401: Advanced Professional Development for University Teaching

Registration for Advanced Professional Development for University Teaching (UNIV401) is open now for all graduate students and post-docs.
Anyone interested in a future as a faculty member or educator at the university level should consider this free course.

Taught by experienced teachers, this course offers participants the chance to learn more about the theory and practice of teaching and learning. The course will feature small group discussions about the theories of teaching and learning, opportunities to observe experienced university faculty, and practice through micro-teaching sessions.

Participants will receive a certificate of completion.

This course will take place on Tuesdays during the Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters.

Two sections are available.

Participants will be expected to read assignments, complete weekly journal assignments, develop a course outline and syllabus, plan and teach a mini-lesson, and participate fully in all discussions and online sessions.

This course is open to students, post-docs, and research scholars.

Enrollment is via the Student Information System.

If you have any additional questions, please email
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Cleveland Metroparks Trail Challenge 2021

Welcome to the 2021 Trail Challenge, a guest led program where you discover new trails throughout Cleveland Metroparks on your own, move to better health, discover the wonders of nature, and earn awards along the way! 

Good Vibes Only

During this very challenging time, ISS staff wants you to know that we are thinking about you- hoping you are safe, healthy, staying positive- and sending out good vibes!

In this section, we are including some things that we hope will make you laugh and smile, help you relax, be entertaining, give you something to do, etc.

This is a good vibes only section!

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Boston Dynamics Robot Wants to Know- Do You Love Me?