International Student Office (ISO)
Terms for Students terms
  • CIPS – The University of Memphis’ Center for International Programs and Services – located at 102 Brister Building; 901/678-4271901/678-4271.
  • ISO – International Students Office, one part of CIPS.
  • DSO – Designated Signing Official – a government authorized administrator on campus who signs I – 20’s. The current DSO’s at the University of Memphis are Mrs. Brenda Cowans, Mrs. Susan Cohn and Ms. Clar Nunis, and Ms. Lisa Goins.
  • I–94 – The U.S. government’s official statement of status for an international. This small card should have an I – 94 number, a date indicating when the current status begins and when the person’s status will expire. F – 1 and J – 1 students should have “D/S” listed as their expiration date.
  • I–20 – The U.S. government’s Certificate for Eligibility for F – 1 visa students to attend school inside of the United States. I – 20’s are issued for degree – seeking students only. The I – 20 should always be kept current, with accurate information on major, funding and dependents (if any). The I – 20 expiration date is the estimated time needed to complete a program of study, and can be extended when academically appropriate. An expired I – 20 can pose serious problems.
  • DS–2019 – Similar to an I – 20, this document allows J – 1 visa holders to attend school inside the United States. DS – 2019 forms are usually issued for exchange students who do not plan to complete U.S. degrees. DS – 2019 forms can also be issued to visiting professors, visiting researchers, and other categories of visitors.
  • CPT – Curricular Practical Training. This is the government’s permission for a student to take an internship or similar type of experiential learning class, and receive pay from an off – campus source while enrolled in that class.
  • OPT – Optional Practical Training. This is a 12 – month long work permit available to students who have completed all required coursework. Students must be enrolled at the time of application, and the government sends a work card through the mail.
  • NIV – Non – immigrant visa. Both the F – 1 and the J – 1 are non – immigrant visa types, meaning that the person with that visa is on record as a temporary visitor to the U.S., and not an intending immigrant. Because of this non – immigrant status, the
  • F – 1 and J – 1 students must always provide both an address inside the U.S. and outside of the U.S.
  • SEVIS – The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. The electronic database maintained on the world wide web by colleges and universities, and monitored by the U.S. government, Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
  • DHS – Department of Homeland Security.
  • USCIS – Formerly called The INS, this is the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service. It is the U.S. government agency that regulates the use of forms such as the I – 20. They also process change of status requests.
  • ICE – Immigration and Customs Enforcement. This is the part of the U.S. government in charge of punishing International Students for any paperwork errors. This is the office inside the U.S. government authorized to detain, imprison and deport individuals, in addition to banning them from future entry to the U.S.
  • IRS – Internal Revenue Service. The taxation office for the U.S. Government.
  • INS – Old name for the Immigration office of the U.S. Government. Some government forms still in use today may refer to “INS regulations”. Current terminology would include “Dept. of Homeland Security,” USCIS and ICE.
  • GA – Graduate Assistantship – frequently sought by students, a limited number of these on–campus jobs are available. Some kind of tuition reimbursement is usually part of the GA, but that is not always the case.
  • TBR – The Tennessee Board of Regents. This is the policy making body that controls most Universities and colleges in the state of Tennessee. Many decisions that affect students are decided not by the campus, but by the TBR.

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Last Updated: 4/18/14