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Accepted International Students - Frequently Asked Questions

International students at 2016 Graduate Reception ceremony
International students at 2016 Graduate Reception ceremony.

Transfer Students

Q: When is my Transfer Verification Form due to Fitchburg State University? Where do I send the completed form?

A: Completed forms can be emailed to inthelp@fitchburgstate.edu. Alternatively, original completed forms can be mailed to:

Office of International Education
Fitchburg State University
160 Pearl Street
Fitchburg, MA 01420

When is my Student Health Form and supporting documentation due?

  • Obtain your U.S. F-1 visa (OR, if you are transferring from another U.S. institution, have your current SEVIS DSO complete a transfer verification form).
  • Arrange your travel plans such that you arrive in time for the mandatory New International Student Orientation.
  • Notify the Office of International Education (OIE) of your visa approval (or completed transfer verification form) and your travel plans.
  • With your physician’s help, complete your Student Health Form and obtain any missing immunizations.
  • Determine how you will pay for your tuition and fees upon your arrival.
  • Find either temporary or permanent housing near campus.
  • Make sure that the Office of International Education has up-to-date contact information for you, especially if you have purchased a U.S. mobile phone.

Health Records and Health Insurance

Q: When is my Student Health Form and supporting documentation due?

A: Health Services processing will take place on the first day of Orientation.

Q. How do I know which vaccinations are required for enrollment at Fitchburg State?

A: A medical records checklist for incoming international students can be viewed at our Health Services website at Health Requirements.

Please read the following important information:

  • The required immunizations apply to both graduate students and undergraduate students (even though the checklist refers to graduate students).
  • As stated above, some vaccinations are no longer available at Health Services at Fitchburg State.
  • The required vaccinations must have been administered in the timelines specified by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in order to be accepted for enrollment at Fitchburg State. The CDC’s vaccination schedules for adults can be viewed on their website. Students who have received a series of vaccinations in a timeline that differs from the CDC guidelines might be required to undertake the vaccination series once again before being permitted to register for courses.
     

Q: Will I need additional vaccinations if I am transferring from another U.S. institution?

A: Students transferring from other U.S. institutions should be aware that vaccination requirements are not uniform among all U.S. colleges and universities. As such, even if you have met the vaccination requirements at your current campus, you might not meet the health requirements for Fitchburg State.

Please examine Fitchburg State's requirements carefully to determine whether you should seek additional immunizations from your current health care provider. A copy of your current campus health record is mandatory in meeting our health records requirements upon your arrival here. Transfer students should consider providing an Authorization for Release of Medical Records to your current campus health services office, so that your current records will be transferred to our Health Services office here for review. Be sure to initiate this process in time for your records to reach our Health Services office prior to Orientation.

Q: Can I find out prior to Orientation whether my health records will meet Fitchburg State's requirements?

A: If you have any questions about your health records or health requirements, please contact Ms. Martha Favre, Director of our campus’ Health Services Office, at mfavre@fitchburgstate.edu.

Getting to Fitchburg

Q: How far is Fitchburg from Boston’s Logan Airport (BOS)?

A: Fitchburg is approximately one hour from Boston, though students who take public transportation (subway and commuter train) from the airport to Fitchburg will need to budget at least two hours to allow for transfers and train schedules.

Q. Can I take a taxi from Logan Airport to Fitchburg?

A: A taxi from the airport to Fitchburg will be exceedingly expensive. Some students might find an airport limousine service affordable. Although these services are called “airport limousines” in the United States, the vehicles are not actual limousines. The vehicles are usually vans, sport utility vehicles, or regular four-door automobiles. A one-way trip from the airport to Fitchburg will cost approximately $100 to $150 per student. Students placing a reservation are reminded to ask whether the fare will include the gratuity to the driver. Here are a few local airport limousine services that you can call to compare fares and make reservations; other airport limousine services can be found in Fitchburg area online telephone directories:

  • Majestic Limousine Service: (877) 970-0100
  • First Choice Limousine: (978) 582-0005

Q: Can I take public transportation from Logan Airport to Fitchburg?

A: The commuter rail from Boston to Fitchburg is a much less expensive option than a taxi service or airport limousine; however, it is a bit more complicated to manage. Click here for the MBTA trip planner.

Check the commuter rail schedule carefully if your flight will arrive in the late afternoon or evening, as the commuter rail might not be in service after you arrive at the airport.

Finances

Q: By what date must I pay my tuition and fees (and room and board, for on-campus residents)? Are installment plans available for tuition payments?

A: All students are required to pay tuition and fees (and room and board, for on-campus residents) in full within 24 hours of course registration. Course registration will take place during Orientation. Students who are not prepared to pay their tuition and fees in full at Orientation will not be permitted to register for courses.

Q: Can I pay my tuition and fees via credit card? What are my other payment options?

A: The Student Accounts website has detailed guidance on the frequently asked questions related to payment options.

Students interested in setting up a payment plan can find the directions for doing so through Student Accounts.

In addition, students may choose to authorize a wire transfer from a non-U.S. bank to Fitchburg State University to pay for tuition and fees. Please contact Student Accounts regarding Flywire (formerly Peertransfer) or go to the Flywire website.

Q: How soon can I open a local bank account?

Local banks have requirements for the types of documents a new customer must provide when opening an account. Several local banks allow international students to open new accounts on the basis of the following documents:

  • A valid passport
  • A current I-20
  • Evidence of local U.S. address (such as a copy of an apartment lease)
  • The student’s Fitchburg State ID
    • The Fitchburg State ID is called a "OneCard," and each new international student will receive his or her OneCard on the second day of Orientation.

Please note that either U.S. currency or a check drawn on a U.S. bank is necessary to open a local bank account. Students should not plan to open an account using foreign currency. Alternatively, a student may authorize a wire transfer from a bank outside of the U.S. after opening a local U.S. bank account.

During the fall semester orientation, bank are invited on campus to meet with students. Here is a list of banks within walking distance of campus; each bank name is a link to the bank’s website, so that students can examine the bank’s rates and account options Please note that only Sovereign Bank has an ATM on campus.

Communication

Q: Where might I access the Internet to communicate with home soon after arrival?

A: New international students will receive their campus computer network login and password during orientation, and are welcome to use campus computers to email their families during breaks in the Orientation program. Some students prefer to set up WHATSAPP prior to arriving. 

Q: Where can I purchase a mobile phone for my use in the U.S.?

A: During the fall semester, cell phone vendors are invited on campus to meet with students. There are several mobile phone vendors accessible via the public bus routes, as well as within walking distance to the CVS on Main St. 

Course Registration

Q: When can I register for courses?

A: New international students can register for courses during Orientation, provided they have met health requirements, are prepared to pay tuition and fees in full upon registration, and have undertaken placement testing, if required.

Q: Will there be any placement testing during Orientation?

A: For some students, placement tests will be conducted during Orientation:

  • Masters in Computer Science candidates will be tested to help determine proper placement and prerequisite courses.
  • Undergraduate students will be tested in algebra, reading, and writing. Details about this placement testing can be viewed at the Academic Support Services website. Please note that international students do not need to make their own appointments for placement testing. You will be tested during Orientation.

Q: When do courses begin?

A: The graduate school calendar can be viewed on the Academic Calendar page.
The undergraduate day school calendar can be viewed on the Undergraduate Calendar page.

Housing

Q: Can I apply for on-campus housing?

A: The University does not offer on-campus housing for graduate students. Undergraduate students interested in housing should contact the Graduate Assistant at the Office of International Education at inthelp@fitchburgstate.edu.

Q: How can I find out about off-campus apartment availability?

A: All international students are required to live within 50 miles of the Fitchburg State University campus.

The Fitchburg State Office of Housing and Residential Services has listings of off-campus housing. Newly arrived students can visit the office to view the advertisements. Check Craigslist and other online rental sites for availability. 

Finally, OIE occasionally learns of local landlords who wish to offer accommodation to international students. Contact information does not imply that our office has evaluated the apartments in any way. Our office merely offers rental information to new international students.

Orientation

Q: I can’t arrive in Fitchburg in time for the first day of Orientation. Can I be excused from the first day?

A: No. Orientation includes several tasks that are necessary for enrollment of students in courses at the University and in SEVIS, and those tasks cannot be rescheduled to a later date. Students must make arrangements to attend orientation.

Q: Where do I report for the first day of Orientation and at what time?

A: Orientation begins promptly at 10 am. The information will be sent in your orientation packet. Check the communication that we have sent you for the exact room numbers. The Office of International Education is located in Hammond Hall, shown on the campus map (PDF).

Q: What do I need to bring to Orientation?

A: Please bring (or wear) the following items to Orientation:

  • A pen
  • Appropriate outerwear for Fitchburg's very cold and snowy winter temperatures if you are attending Winter Orientation, as some of our Orientation activities require walking across the campus. A very warm coat, a hat, gloves or mittens, and shoes or boots that can walk safely on slippery or slightly snow-covered surfaces will be needed. Weather for Fall Orientation is generally very mild.
  • Your passport 
  •  I-94 printed from the Customs and Border Patrol website
  • Your completed Student Health Form
  • Any supporting documents for your Student Health Form, such as original vaccination records.
  • New local address.
     

Q: I plan to drive a car to Orientation. Where am I permitted to park my car on campus?

A: New international students attending Orientation may park in either the North 2 Commuter Parking Lot or the Ross Commuter Parking Lot, which are lots #5 and #13, respectively, on the campus parking map (PDF). Please note that students must have parking permits to park on campus when classes begin.

Packing

Q: What kind of weather can I expect in Fitchburg?

Average daily temperatures in the Fitchburg area range from 35°C in the summer (June-September) to -15°C in the winter (December-March). During spring, summer, and fall, moderate periods of rainfall occur. During the winter months, snow falls periodically. For your comfort, we suggest that you either bring or prepare to purchase the following clothing items:

  • Shorts
  • T-shirts
  • Jeans or pants
  • Sweaters
  • Gloves
  • Boots
  • Winter coat and raincoat

Also, you may find that from time to time formal attire (shirt, tie, and suit for men; and dresses, skirts, or pant suits for women) may be appropriate.

Graduate students should be aware that graduate courses are usually scheduled during the late afternoon and evening, when winter temperatures can drop to extreme lows. Graduate students should be prepared to dress very warmly when traveling to and from the campus for late afternoon and evening classes during winter.

Q: Do I need to bring bedding and towels?

A: Students will need to provide their own bedding and towels unless other arrangements have been made. There are stores accessible by public bus to purchase bedding and towels if you decide not to bring your own. However, students arriving in Fitchburg late at night to unfurnished apartments should consider bringing their own bedding and towels, as local stores will be closed and bus service does not extend to late evening hours.

Q: Where can I shop for bedding, towels, and other items I will not bring in my luggage?

A: During Orientation, you will receive your Fitchburg State ID, which is called a OneCard. With your OneCard, you can ride the Fitchburg/Leominster routes of the Montachusett Regional Transit Authority (MART) for free. Information about MART bus routes can be viewed at the MRTA website.

Grocery stores accessible on MART bus routes from our campus include Market Basket and Hannaford.

Discount and department stores accessible on MART bus routes from our campus include Wal-Mart and Kmart.

Updated July 24, 2017