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International Student Glossary

Use the following glossary to become familiar with the variety of terms used to describe and regulate international student & scholar activity and academic experiences while studying in the United States.

Term Definition
Accommodation Room and board/lodging
CBP Customs and Border Protection (Part of the Department of Homeland Security)
CPT Curricular Practical Training
DDS Georgia Department of Driver Services
DHS Department of Homeland Security
D/S Duration of Status. Stamped on your I-94 and I-20 when you entered the U.S. through a port of entry. It means that you can remain in the U.S. legally for as long as you maintain your status.
DSO Designated School Official (your immigration advisor)
F-1 International Student Visa
FERPA Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
Form DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitors (J-1 students and scholars).  This document must be maintained and active throughout their time in the U.S.
Form I-20 Certificate of Eligibility for F-1 international students
Form I-94 Arrival & Departure Card (white card stapled in your passport by CBP)
GPA Grade Point Average – Measure of academic achievement used in U.S. universities.
Health Insurance Waiver An online form that must be completed each semester by students who do not wish to purchase the Georgia Southern University student insurance plan
ICE Immigration & Customs Enforcement (Part of the Department of Homeland Security)
Immunization The process whereby a person is made immune or resistant to an infectious disease, typically by the administration of a vaccine. Vaccines stimulate the body’s own immune system to protect the person against subsequent infection or disease.
International Diversity Tuition Waiver A scholarship that allows students to pay tuition at the in-state rate, valued at approximately $10,800 per year
ISSS Portal The International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) Portal is the one-stop hub for all SEVIS or immigration requests.
IRS Internal Revenue Service
OPT Optional Practical Training
Passport Identification Document issued by your country of citizenship which allows you to leave and re-enter your country
Permanent Resident United States lawful permanent residency is the immigration status of a person authorized to live and work in the United States of America permanently.
POE Ports of Entry: The “doorway” through which you entered the United States. Usually an airport where you showed a USCBP officer your passport, visa, I-20, and I-94. The officer should have stamped your documents with an abbreviation for the POE, a date of entry and the letters “D/S” indicating that you have permission to remain in the U. S. for the Duration of your Status.
Practical Training If you are an F student, you have the option of working in the United States by engaging in practical training during your program or after it ends. Practical training can provide valuable work experience by sharpening and adding to the skills you are learning in school. There are two types of practical training available for F-1 students: curricular practical training (CPT) and optional practical training (OPT).
Prospective Someone who is considering attending a school — typically a high school student who is seriously considering applying to a university, or who has already applied and been accepted, but not yet enrolled.
Reduced Courseload Registering for less hours/classes than the required full-time status, which is 12 hours during a fall or spring term or 6 hours during the summer
Severe Economic Hardship Students who are facing severe economic hardship due to an unforeseen change in their financial circumstances.
SEVIS Student & Exchange Visitor Information System
SEVP Student & Exchange Visitor Program
SSA Social Security Administration
Social Security Number/Card A Social Security number is only assigned to people who are authorized to work in the United States. It is used to post wages to Social Security records so workers can become eligible for Social Security benefits. Social Security will only issue you a number if you are working, have specific authorization to work, or have a government requirement to be issued a number.
Status Maintaining your immigration status
TOEFL Test of English as a Foreign Language
Tuition An amount of money charged per term, per course, or per credit, in exchange for instruction and training. Tuition generally does not include the cost of textbooks, room and board, and other fees.
USCIS U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (Part of the Department of Homeland Security)
U.S. Visa

A citizen of a foreign country who seeks to enter the United States generally must first obtain a U.S. visa, which is placed in the traveler’s passport, a travel document issued by the traveler’s country of citizenship.

Certain international travelers may be eligible to travel to the United States without a visa if they meet the requirements for visa-free travel. The Visa section of this website is all about U.S. visas for foreign citizens to travel to the United States.

Last updated: 6/1/2015