From: International Student Services
Date: April 21, 2021
Subject: ISS News, April 21, 2021: Virtual Global Citizen Awards Ceremony, OPT Information, Spartans Stronger Together 5K,Good Vibes, Tax Information, International Student Advisory Council Nominations, & More


April 21, 2021


in this issue:

  1. Tax Information for 2020 Filing Year
  2. OPT & CPT Workshops
  3. OPT & STEM OPT Students- Follow These Simple Steps for Reporting Updates
  4. Features
  5. Campus Happenings
  6. Other Opportunities
  7. Good Vibes Only
  8. Beware of Scams
  9. Commencement 2021 Updates
  10. Electronic Filing Option for OPT I-765


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.

Tax Information for 2020 Filing Year

tax time clip art

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.

image from Sprintax's blog at
Sprintax logo

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
OPT and CPT workshop branding telling students to check the schedule

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.

opt wordle

OPT & STEM OPT Students- Follow These Simple Steps for Reporting Updates

Reporting related to your personal contact and employment information is a critical part of maintaining status while authorized for either OPT or STEM OPT. Here are instructions for you to follow to ensure that both ISS and the U.S. Government receive the information that they need. Follow these simple steps to ensure that your visa status is protected!

typing on laptop image

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!

scam spelled out on keyboard

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.

commencement image

Click Here for Commencement 2021 Updates


Global citizen award flyer

2021 Global Citizen Awards Virtual Ceremony

Join the Center for International Affairs for the 2021 Global Citizen Awards virtual ceremony this Thursday, April 22 at 3 pm!

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.

The campus community is encouraged to tune in and help recognize this year’s honorees for their contributions to CWRU!

The awards include:
International Leader (Faculty/Staff)
Unsung Champion (Student)
Spirit of Service (Student)
Laurie D. Zelman International Undergraduate Student
Elise Lindsay International Graduate Student
Outstanding Student Organization
Outstanding Campus Partner in Collaboration

The virtual ceremony will be shared on the Center for International Affairs’ Facebook page.

iSAC nomination flyer
CLE Bucket List Flyer

Campus Happenings

Legacy week flyer

Celebrate Legacy Week

Life without sports flyer
gsc exec board flyer

Apply for GSC Executive Board Positions

Apply today for a position on the GSC Executive Board. Open positions open are as follows:

· Vice President of Internal Communications

· Vice President of Marketing and Communications

· Director of Student Organizations (or co-director)

· Director of Social and Special Programming (or co-director)

See how you can make a difference for graduate students here at Case Western Reserve University. Apply for a position here. Deadlines for applications are Friday, April 23 at 12 PM.

PNC Financial Wellness Program

PNC's Financial Wellness Series

Friday, April 23
12:00pm 1:00pm Credit Scores and Reports Private Location (rsvp to display)
Thursday, April 29
12:00pm 1:00pm Safeguarding Yourself: A Workshop on Identity Protection Private Location (rsvp to display)
Beyond the Professoriate's 8th annual online career conference flyer

It’s Beyond the Professoriate’s 8th Annual Online Career Conference for Graduate Students & PhDs

The program features 16 PhDs from all academic disciplines, who will discuss networking, resume writing, online job search strategies, and how to manage a career transition. This year’s conference will also directly address tips and strategies for navigating the job market during the Covid-19 recession and economic recovery.

Attend Live: May 1st & 8th, starting at 11:00 AM (ET) both days.

Where: Online! Attend the conference from wherever you are via Zoom webinar. No travel required.

Video Replay: 30 day replay available, starting May 15th.

Price: FREE for students, postdocs, faculty, and staff of CWRU (we have are a subscribing institution). Advanced registration is required.

For more information and to register (login using your CWRU network ID and passphrase):

runner tying shoes

Spartans Stronger Together Virtual 5K

The athletic department is sponsoring the first annual Spartans Stronger Together Virtual 5k (walk/run), an event that seeks to bring the community together to denounce racism and rise in solidarity with marginalized communities.  The event will be held the week of April 26 and participants can choose their own route on campus and in the community or relay with friends or colleagues around the Sudeck Track at DiSanto Field during a day and time frame that week that works into their schedule. All participants will receive a t-shirt that promotes the Stronger Together design and a Spartan logo to demonstrate support for the event and the commitment from the CWRU community.

The registration fee, $5 for students and $10 for faculty and staff, will cover the cost of the t-shirt and additional monies will be donated to the Urban League of Greater Cleveland. Register through CampusGroups here.

chalk pastel portraits

CAREer Network: Chalk Pastel Portraits

Join The Alumni Association of CWRU and the Office of Post-Graduate Planning and Experiential Education (PGPEE) for an interactive, virtual arts workshop as a part of the CAREer Network Program! Register Now!

Participants will learn how to accurately and simply render a pastel portrait from artist Cassandra Harner, a course instructor for the Cleveland Museum of Art. In the workshop, participants will be introduced to techniques that lay a foundation of shadows and highlights in pastel that is consistent to most faces, allowing for details to easily be added that achieve a likeness to the subject. Creating a portrait in pastel through this step-by-step method removes the guesswork while providing many colorful options!

Monday, April 26, 2021

5:30 - 6:30 p.m. EDT

Prior to the start of class, participants will need to secure the items on the supply list linked below.

Class Supply List

Student participants may pick up their supply kit at the Linsalata Alumni Center on one of the below dates:

Thursday, April 22 | 3-5pm

Friday, April 23 | 11am-1pm

Sunday, April 25 | 1-3pm

lab dish with pink liquid

Plan Your Research Experience with SOURCE

Ready to start looking for research and creative project opportunities? Attend an upcoming 50-minute information session offered by Support of Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavors.

These sessions provide you with the basic information for finding research on and around CWRU during the academic year and provides some guidance for students looking for summer research.

All times are Eastern time unless otherwise noted.

  • Monday, April 26, 8:30 a.m.

All workshops will be conducted via Zoom.

Register for an upcoming workshop in Handshake.

Other Opportunities

ENGL 146 Flyer
ENGL 147 flyer
Cleveland Metroparks Trail Challenge logo

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!

The Work of "Weird Al" Yankovic

"Weird Al" Yankovic is an American song parodist (record producer, actor, and author), who has won numerous awards (including five Grammys®) and seen his albums achieve Gold and Platinum status. His humorous songs highlight pop culture and often parody specific songs by contemporary musical acts. He also performs original songs that are style pastiches of the work of other acts, as well as polka medleys of several popular songs, most of which feature his trademark accordion.

Take a listen to a few of  "Weird Al's" works.

word crimes- weird Al

Word Crimes

weird Al- Tacky


weird Al Yankovic hamilton parody

Hamilton Polka