International Student FAQ for Faculty and Staff

Who is an “international student” at Clark College?

An international student at Clark is defined as a student who has F-1 (visa) status.

Students who have F-1 status generally know they have this. They also usually know they have an I-20 (immigration document) issued by the Clark College International Program’s office.

What if a student says, “I am an international student”.

If a student is an international student with F-1 status, they were admitted through the Clark International Program’s office or may be visiting from another college or university. These students can receive immigration, health insurance, personal and social support services, initial academic advising, registration and transfer assistance, from the International Program’s office (GHL 215, x2390,

Depending on the situation and assistance needed, the International Program’s staff may refer students to academic advisors, disability services, tutoring, counseling and additional campus resources.

Why does it matter if a student is an international student?

International students with an F-1 status are required to follow specific immigration regulations to keep their status. These regulations include admission policies, adequate financial support, full-time study, normal progress, transfer of immigration records, employment restrictions and related issues.

What if a student says, “I am not an international student with an F-1 visa”?

In this case, the student should generally access services outside International Programs although we are always happy to try to help students! There are many students at Clark who are not international students and may have another visa type (B, E, H, L, J, TN, etc.), be permanent residents or have no immigration documentation.

If a student is interested in changing their immigration status, please refer the student to International Programs for initial consultation; however, a change of status is complex and may require legal assistance.

Can international students drop a class?

Not without permission. International students must be “full-time” students, taking at least 18 credits per term for the Intensive English Language Program or 12 credits per term at college-level, to maintain their immigration status. All exceptions, including vacation terms, and reduced course loads, are regulated by immigration policy and must be approved and documented by international student advisors.

Please refer questions about dropping classes to International Programs.

Can international students work in the U.S.?

In general, international students can work on campus, but off campus employment is restricted. immigration policy allows international students to work part-time (less than 20 hours per week) on campus while school is in session and full-time (up to 40 hours per week) on campus during authorized breaks.

International students are not eligible for federal or state financial aid and cannot apply for work-study positions, but they can apply for “institutional hire” positions.

International students may not work off-campus unless approved by immigration usually at the end of a degree program. Because immigration policies are complex, and can affect a student’s immigration status, please refer international student employment questions to the International Program’s office.

I cannot communicate with an international student. What should I do?

Continue trying to communicate. International students enrolled at college level have been placed into classes based on test scores or completion of the Intensive English Language Program (IELP). International students in the IELP study English 18 hours per week as required by U.S. immigration policy.

To assist with communication, try slowing down your speech, enunciating clearly and repeating the same information. Don’t speak louder, use slang, jargon or acronyms.

You can also try giving the information in writing since some students have better reading and writing skills than speaking and listening abilities. If all else fails, ask the student to find a friend to help or call the International Program’s office (x2390).

How can I help an international student to participate more, or more appropriately, in the classroom?

Ask to meet with the international student outside the classroom or during your office hours. Since class participation is not an expectation in all countries, it may be helpful to explain the purpose and importance of student participation in the U.S. classroom (e.g., sharing ideas and knowledge, demonstrating understanding of course content, working on a team, etc.)

For quieter students, you could suggest a starting place, such as asking a question or talking in a small group at least once or twice per class period.

For a student who seems overly eager to participate, you could suggest they participate once or twice per class period and listen carefully to others before responding.

What happens if an international student is not doing well or failing a class?

We recommend using the Penguin Alert for Student Success (PASS) system which will alert an advisor. The advisor may be able to help the student access appropriate resources, such as tutoring services, or find out if something is interfering with the student’s progress.

International students are subject to the same academic warning, probation and suspension system as all other Clark students. However, international students who are officially suspended from Clark College will also face immigration implications which may result in transferring to another institution or returning home to their country.

Please contact the International Programs office if there are questions about the immigration consequences of academic progress.

 What happens if a student loses their immigration status?

 Immigration policy is complex. In some cases, international students who lose their immigration status may have options. In other cases, they may have to return to their home country immediately. Please contact the International Programs office if there are questions about immigration related issues. 


International Programs - GHL 216
Clark College 1933 Fort Vancouver Way
Vancouver, WA 98663
(360) 992-2390