Information for International Students | Lake Erie College
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Information for International Students


Information for International Students

This page is designed to provide information for international students once they have been accepted at LEC, and after they have received their I-20 form and gotten their visa. If you are an international student interested in applying at Lake Erie, please see here.

Congratulations! You've been accepted, you've received your I-20, and the international student adviser has pre-registered you for a class schedule tailored to your major, but now what do you do?

Arrival information

  • As outlined in your admissions packet, you should make sure that you have also applied for housing and health insurance. If you need another copy of this information, see here for housing and related forms. For health insurance, we do not have a single approved provider, but we can recommend several companies. These include but aren't limited to: travel insure, ISOA, and compass benefit. For more information on what is required, see your student information packet, or email
  • Lake Erie College conducts airport pickups for incoming international students. Part of your international student fee goes to fund this service. However, due to the number of students we receive each semester, we designate two or three pickup dates. At least one pickup date is designed to accommodate athletes or others arriving early on campus, while one pickup is scheduled for a few days before the start of the semester. This website will be updated with the pickup dates no later than early July; the information is also included in the packet you received with your I-20. Students choosing to arrive on dates other than the approved pickup dates must make their own arrangements to get to Lake Erie College. Please email for more information on these possibilities.
  • Once you are on campus, you are required to attend international student orientation. This normally takes place the weekend before classes begin, and lasts two days. During this session, we cover visa regulations, College Policies, go shopping for necessities, and have a dinner together so all international students can meet each other.

Maintaining Visa Status

Once on campus and underway with your studies, you should make sure you do the following.
  • You need to verify your attendance with one of the government approved Designated Service Officers on campus. These include Jonathan Klein, Barbara Arilson, and Amanda Fordyce, all of whom have offices on the first floor of College Hall. This is especially important if for some reason you cannot attend international orientation. These individuals will then mark you as present with the Federal Government's Department of Homeland Security. THIS MUST BE DONE AT THE START OF EVERY SEMESTER, WITHIN A WEEK OF CLASSES BEGINNING!
  • You must also report any change in major, financial information, or personal information (phone number, address, marital status, etc.) to one of the people listed above.
  • At least once per year (usually in April or May before leaving for the summer, if you go home) you must have one of the individuals above sign your I-20. If your I-20 isn't signed once per year, you will not be let back into the country!
Employment information

Many international students gain employment in the United States while studying at Lake Erie College. There are four possibilities to do so, which will be covered below.

Any form of employment requires you to obtain a U.S. Social Security Card and U.S. bank account. Obtaining a Social Security Card is easy! To do so you must:

  • Be in the country for 10 days.
  • Once you meet that requirement, you must get an authorization letter from one of the Designated Service Officers (Jonathan Klein, Barb Arilson, or Amanda Fordyce).
  • Complete the Social Security Card application available at here.
  • Take the application, letter of authorization, and 2 forms of identification to the nearest Social Security Office. This is located at 55 West Jackson Street, and is within walking distance from campus.
  • Once approved, the card will be mailed to you within 10-14 business days.

Many banks are within walking distance of campus, and information on them is passed out during orientation. PNC Bank, First Merit, Huntington, and Keybank are all within walking distance of campus; however, Fifth Third Bank maintains an ATM (Automatic Teller Machine) in Holden Center. If you don't want to walk to the bank, withdrawing money from this machine is without fees only if you are a Fifth Third member. The nearest branch office is located at 6675 Center Street, in Mentor, near the Mentor shopping mall. The Laketran bus that stops outside of the College stops at the mall.

Once a social security card and bank account are obtained, the following opportunities are available.

1. On campus employment. This is by far the most common form of employment undertaken by international students. Students should observe the following:

Do not count on on-campus employment being available as part of your financial calculation for ability to live in the U.S. and study at Lake Erie. While a number of jobs are available, many are filled early in the semester, before international students gain their social security number and bank account.

  • For available positions see here.
  • On campus employment is limited to 20 hours per week. Most jobs do not offer a full 20 hours per week.

2. Off campus employment with Optional Practical Training. This is the second most common form of employment undertaken by international students.

  • Students must be in the United States for one year before this option is available.
  • Employment must be related to a student's course of study directly.
  • This employment is available for 12 months only, either in part (a few months a year for several years) or all at once, post-graduation.
  • To apply for this employment, students must fill out and file a form I-765 with the U.S. government, available here.
  • This form must be brought to one of the Designated Service Officers; the Officer will then update the I-20 authorizing employment.
  • There is a fee associated with this application; currently it is $380.
  • A job offer and company must already be in hand to apply for this employment.
  • This employment is off-campus.
  • The approval for this employment takes a minimum of 3 months.
  • Students may work 20 hours per week during the semester or 40 hours per week during summer break or post-graduation.
3. Curricular practical training. This option is similar to the Optional Practical Training listed above, but is required as part of the degree (usually as an internship). Not all degrees have this requirement; see your catalog or academic adviser to find out if such is the case. The application process is similar to above, but does not require the filing fee or form I-765. Students undertaking 12 months of CPT employment will not be eligible for further OPT employment.

4. Financial hardship. This option is rare, and requires students to demonstrate a significant change in his or her financial situation during the course of study. If this situation applies to you, please see the International Student Advisor or one of the Designated Service Officers for more information.

Students should be aware that all work opportunities are limited by available hours, schedule compatibility, an (when applicable) compatibility with athletic practices.

Getting around Lake County

Students studying at Lake Erie College may travel to surrounding cities by use of the Laketran bus system. For routes, schedules, and fare information, see here. By connecting to the Cleveland Area Rapid Transit authority, students may also reach Cleveland, the Airport, and surrounding areas. See here.
On these bus routes, students can reach local stores such as Target, Wal-Mart, Giant Eagle, and the Mentor Mall, as well as banks, restaurants, pharmacies, etc.

Students may also elect to purchase their own car. Students should be aware that they need an Ohio Driver’s license, or International Driver’s license. The nearest Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles is located at:

2736 N. Ridge Rd., Unit 7***
Painesville,Ohio 44077

For more information please see here.

Students purchasing cars must be aware that in the United States, driver’s insurance is required. This can be purchased from any insurance retailer. Additionally, students must pay all costs for car licensing, parking passes, etc., before they will be permitted to bring their car on campus.

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