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The International Student Services office

Welcome to Campus


Some students opt to use PayPal as an alternative banking option. It allows transfer of funds and easy electronic payment options when linked to a debit or credit card.

Bank Customer Identification Programs

U.S. financial institutions are required to verify the identity of every individual who wishes to conduct financial transactions. Federal regulations require all banks operating in the U.S. to have Customer Identification Programs (CIP) for anyone seeking to open an account. 

Department of Treasury regulations require banks to obtain the following information from you before allowing you to open an account:

  • Your name
  • Your date of birth
  • Your street address at Cedarville University
    • 251 N. Main St, P.O. Box #_______
      Cedarville, OH 45314
  • An identification number:
  • Social Security Number (SSN) issued by the U.S. Government
    • OR, if a student cannot obtain a SSN…
    • A letter from International Student Services requesting the bank accept an alternate form of identity verification
  • Form W8-BEN

Documentation to bring with you when opening an account

  • Your Unexpired Passport
  • Your I-94
  • Your I-20 (or I-797 approval notice)
  • Any secondary form of identification you may have (student ID card)
  • Form W-8 BEN if you are a student not eligible for a SSN
  • Letter from ISS if W-8 BEN is being requested

To assist you, International Student Services will provide you with a letter to the bank, confirming your status at Cedarville University and requesting the bank’s assistance in opening your account.

Types of Accounts and Cards

Checking Accounts

Banks offer different types of checking accounts designed to fit various needs. The cost of checking also varies from bank to bank. Some banks charge per transaction, some have a basic monthly fee, and others offer free services if you maintain a certain minimum balance in your account at all times. Most banks have student options, which are low cost. There is typically a minimal charge to order a box of checks customized with your name and address.

All banks have online options that allow customers to access information regarding their personal account, including all transactions and deposits. This is secure information that only you, the customer, can access.

Be careful to keep an accurate record of every check you write so you always know how much money is in your account. Writing a check that is more than what you have in your account is called overdrafting or “bouncing” a check, and it is illegal. The bank will return checks to you in this case and you will be required to pay additional fees. Some banks offer overdraft protection services, which prevent this from occurring.

Debit Cards

A debit card, also known as a check card, allows you to withdraw or deposit money to your bank account using an automatic teller machine (ATM) and to make purchases at stores that accept the card. Some debit cards carry a credit-card logo (such as Mastercard or Visa), and can be used in place of a written check or credit card. However, debit cards are not credit cards and they can be used only to the extent that you have funds in the account to which they are linked. If money is not in the account, the debit card will not work.

There is often a charge associated with using your debit card. Charges can range from $1 to $3.50. Be cautious as these charges add up and may cost you more in convenience fees than is beneficial.

Savings Accounts

A savings account enables you to save money and accumulate interest on your savings. Interest is paid either monthly or quarterly. The difference between a savings and a checking account is that you cannot write checks on a savings account. Often, banks will permit you to link your checking and savings accounts to allow for easy transfer of funds between the two.

Cashing Checks

To cash a check, you will need to endorse it by signing your name on the back. In addition, you will be asked for personal identification in the form of a driver’s license, a state of Ohio ID card, or a Cedarville University ID card. Some stores will cash a check for you if you shop there regularly. Supermarkets may allow you to pay by check, with authorization from their credit department, if you present the ID they request (usually an Ohio driver’s license).

Credit Cards

Credit cards may be convenient, especially if you unexpectedly have major expenses. You can pay University and medical fees, airplane tickets, and car repairs with any major credit card. You should use caution when using credit cards, however. You can easily accumulate large bills with credit cards, and before you know it, you may be in debt.

Before you accept a credit card, you must be sure to understand all your obligations. Most banks charge an annual fee. If you are unable to pay your full balance each month, you will be charged high interest rates (usually 18% or higher) on the remaining balance and any additional charges you make. Make sure you stay within your budget when making credit card purchases and pay off your balance each month when the bill comes due.

Foreign Currency

If you deposit a check drawn on a foreign bank in your U.S. checking account, it may have to go through a collection process. This means that the money is not available to you until the U.S. bank has collected it from the foreign bank. It may take several weeks before the money is credited to your account.

In countries with restrictions on foreign exchange, you may need to provide your sponsor or your family with certification of enrollment in order to receive money from your home country. Letters of certification are available, by request, in the International Student Services office.

Cell Phone Plans

How to Choose a Cell Phone Provider:

Should I get a contract plan or a pre-paid phone?

Most providers in the United States require either a Social Security Number (SSN) or an expensive security deposit for setting up a contract for your cell phone service. These contracts usually last for one or two years, in which you are required to stay with that provider or pay a fee to cancel the contract.

Most providers offer prepaid options, in which you pay your monthly bill in advance. These do not require a Social Security Number or high deposits and do not require you to stay with the provider for a fixed time period, but may have higher monthly fees. Almost all providers offer additional options to their plans or prepaid options for international texting (SMS & MMS) and calls. 

Please note that placing international phone calls can be very expensive.

Contract Phones

Most cell phone contracts will offer a ‘free’ phone to the customer in exchange for a two year contract agreement. Although this provides the phone at little or no charge, it locks the customer into a two year commitment to that cell phone provider. Be cautious and educate yourself on all of the requirements and provisions in the plan. Also, some providers offer insurance on the phone in the event of damage. If you are ‘hard’ on phones, the additional monthly cost for insurance may be beneficial. Phone replacement can be costly, otherwise.

Most contract plans give you a set number of minutes per month. Overage minutes are charged at a much higher rate. Check your plan to see if weekend and nighttime minutes are free.

Text messaging is not always included and some providers may charge for each text sent AND received.
Watch for ‘hidden’ fees that may be included in the plan.

Prepaid Phones

If you intend to make calls to your home country, ensure this is possible with the prepaid plan you are considering.

Some prepaid plans are month-to-month, others allow you to add minutes as you go.

Typically, prepaid phones do not require a deposit, and no contract is necessary.

Costs range from minimal to those comparable to contract services.


International Student Services will provide free CampusSIMS SIM cards to new students, available in your I-20 mailing for international students or for pick up at the Welcome Table at Orientation for MK and TCK students.

The SIM card can be used with any unlocked phone and allows students to pay month-to-month for a text, data, and calling plan of their choice as selected from the CampusSIMS website.

Other Discounts

Cedarville University has discount arrangements with AT&T and Sprint for service discounts for students. Most discounts amount to approximately 10%. 

Cedarville Cell Phone Discounts »

Local Cell Phone Providers

If you would like to shop locally for your own plan, please refer to the following local providers.

Student Employment

All students have the opportunity to work on campus.   

International students are limited to only on-campus employment. SEVIS places a limit of 20 hours per week on F-1 visa-holding students.

Students who are U.S. citizens may opt to find employment on campus or in local businesses.
The average workload for students is approximately 12 hours per week.

View Student Employment Resources »

Form I-9

Any student employed on campus must fill out an I-9 form. Employers are required to complete the form to document verification of the identity and employment authorization of each new employee and maintain the form on file for reference. If you get a job on campus, you will be required to complete this form.

I-9 Form »

Social Security Information

All students who are employed must have a Social Security number for federal tax reporting purposes. 

Social Security Details »

Once you have a job on campus, contact the International Student Services office and make an appointment to go to the Social Security office to apply for your number.

Please visit the Social Security site to access and print the social security card application. Fill out as much information as you are able. If you have a question or are unsure, simply skip that part and the Social Security office staff can assist you.

Social Security Application »

International Students: when you go to the Social Security office to submit your application, be sure to bring the following:
  • Completed application 
  • I-20
  • Passport
  • I-94
  • A letter from your employer on campus on official letterhead, describing the following:
    • Your position: title and description of job
    • Your start date
    • Your anticipated hours per week
    • your supervisor: name, contact information, and signature

Federal Income Taxes

Any student who works and receives payment is required to file yearly income taxes with the Internal Revenue Service. Taxes are filed with the IRS for income earned the prior year.

International students can purchase access to tax prep software, through the International Student Services office, that will assist them in preparing and filing their tax return.   

Students who are US citizens can access tax prep software such as TurboTax which offers assistance in preparation of tax forms

Form W-2

The W-2 form is a wage and tax statement generated by your employer. All students employed on campus who earn at least $600 in the course of a year will receive a wage and tax statement from the Payroll office. This form indicates all amounts, if any, of income tax, social security, and/or Medicare tax that was withheld from the employee's paycheck throughout the year. Access to this form is necessary when preparing your annual income taxes. You will receive a new W-2 each year.

Off-Campus Employment Opportunities

International students are not permitted by SEVIS to pursue employment off-campus unless there is a case of severe economic hardship. Any requests for off-campus employment must be presented to International Student Services, who will review the situation and make a determination. If there is sufficient evidence, a request will be made to SEVIS to allow for special permission.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

International students are permitted to pursue an employment experience in a job that directly relates to their major and is connected with a specific course in which they are enrolled while working. This typically is a summer work experience. The employment and connected coursework must be concurrent (no prior or future class can be counted for this, for example, you cannot work in the summer and connect it to a course you plan to take that fall semester).   

Approval for CPT is given by the student’s adviser and the DSO of the University and will be reflected on the student’s I-20.

Please fill out the following form to request permission for CPT 

CPT Permission Form »

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

International students may apply to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for permission to pursue and participate in a postgraduation employment experience directly related to their program of study for one year. These permissions come directly from USCIS.

Students are required to apply directly to USCIS and pay the associated fees. Information and application forms can be found here:


Refer to this timeline chart to help you plan your application process:


Berkeley University in California offers a helpful power point presentation that will help walk you through the process of applying for OPT and will answer questions you might have:.

Michigan State University offers an OPT Myth-busting series of frequently asked questions. It is a great tool to help you understand the many details of OPT.