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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Financial Sponsor?

A financial sponsor is a person that will agree to provide you financial assistance while you study in the United States. This could mean different things for diverse types of visa applicants, particularly for the F-1 visa, or student visa applicant.

A financial sponsor is required by U.S.A. (United States) law because a person entering the United States without financial support will be considered a public charge. A public charge is someone, deemed by the department of state, to need public financial subsistence provided by a government agency. Persons considered public charge are inadmissible to the United States.

This aspect of the immigration process differs for prospective students looking to enter the United States because prospective students need to provide evidence of financial means to cover school, tuition, and other requirements. This means that, compared to other visa applicants, international students will need to provide evidence of a much larger financial resource.

How does this process work?

Students will provide evidence of financial eligibility to a designated school official, who is not an employee of the Department of State, but an employee of the institution the student plans to attend. There are several ways to show financial evidence to the designated school official. They include Family bank statements, documentation from a sponsor, financial aid letters, scholarship letters, and a letter from an employer showing annual salary.

Types of Student Visa Sponsors

Student visa sponsors can be individuals or organizations. Students can even be their own sponsors if they have enough money to cover the entire cost of tuition and living expenses. Family and relatives can be sponsors as well. However, because the financial requirement to study abroad is more than just tuition and fees, students will need a financial sponsor that will have funds readily available to cover living expenses.

This means that many students will turn to institutions and organizations in order to cover part of the cost. This even includes the institution where they are studying through scholarships. Students can also use their employment status as evidence of financial means to cover the costs of tuition. Additionally, they can use the employment status of family members. As proof the student will need to provide documents such as an official letter from their company or copies of income tax statements.

If a non-family member has offered to cover the costs of a student’s education in the United States, they will most likely need to provide additional confirmation of their offer. Non-family members offering to pay a student’s tuition should include a letter pledging their financial support.

Financial sponsors are an essential part of the student visa process, they provide the financial means for the student to attend their institution. Students need to provide proof of a financial sponsor because the government of the United States wants to ensure that when students come, they will not be reliant on assistant programs in order to get by.

Getting your professor to write your Grad School Letter of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation are an important part of college applications, for both undergrad and graduate programs. They let the person who is reviewing your application know what your mentors think of you, and what you are like as both a person and a student. So, getting a professor to write your grad school letter of recommendation is integral to your application. Letters of recommendations can truly be a deciding factor to your admittance because graduate schools want to know if the type of student you are will fit the culture and academic standards of the university. It is important for the university to know how you interact with professors and staff. How you interact in class, while you may say one thing in your application, the only way to tell is by getting the word of a professor who taught you.

Some students make fast and personal connections with professors, while other students struggle to make that connection. Whether you are the former or the latter, here are some tips to getting your professor to write your grad school letter of recommendation.

Tip 1: Attend office hours. Office hours are dedicated time slots that your professors are supposed to hold once or twice a week. Students can talk to their professor about an assignment or any questions that they have about the course. But many students use office hours as an opportunity to get to know the professor more personally, and for the professor to get to know the student. This benefits the student because the professor will be much more likely to remember the student if they attend office hours. Before you ask your professor to write your letter of recommendation, you should first introduce yourself during office hours and tell the professor what your major is, and where you are applying to grad school. Then ask the professor about where they went to grad school. You never know, they may be a Touro grad, just like you will someday be!

Tip 2: Pick a professor who you are not only doing well in their class, but who also has the time to write your letter. Sometimes, professors can be working many different classes at once or they have another career outside of being a professor. So, these professors may not be ideal for writing your letter of recommendation. As mentioned before, you will need to get to know the professor before making that judgement. A professor with a more open schedule will not feel rushed to write you a quality letter of recommendation, and they will be more willing to accept your request if they are not so busy.

Tip 3: Write the professor a letter explaining why you are going to grad school, your background, your academics, achievements, etc. This will give your professor all the positives they need to know to write your letter of recommendation. Additionally it will show the professor that you are willing to put the same amount of effort you are asking of them in writing your letter of recommendation. While you may have gotten to know your professor in office hours, it will be extremely helpful to them to be able to reference your letter when writing about who you are as a person. In this letter you should not only add your personal highlights, but also the struggles that you have overcome.

Tip 4: If you are still unsure about who to ask to write your letter of recommendation, consider asking your advisor who might be a good option. An advisor can see your grades, so they know which classes you did well in, and personally know many professors. If you are currently taking the class of the professor that you want to write your letter of recommendation, then you will need to gauge if you are doing well enough in the class for the professor to write you a letter. while you may like your professor, consider asking a professor who already gave you a high grade in the class. However, your current or former college advisor may be able to help you with finding the correct professor to write your letter of recommendation. Many times in college applications, students are unable to see what the professor has written. So, it is important to choose a professor that has a good impression of you. Advisors know which professors are popular for letters of recommendation, and they know which letters of recommendation help students get into graduate school. They have been through that process with other students, and are expert in that regard.

Tip 5: Finally, when you get a professor to write your letter of recommendation. This is not only good manners, but it will also ensure that you can return to that professor for more recommendations in the future. A thank you can be a verbal one, or you can write them a letter thanking them for writing the letter, or if you have the means, take the professor out for lunch or coffee.

The True Cost of Graduate Degree in Technology?

Some say that your education is priceless, but looking at the cost of most graduate degrees would make a lot of students second guess going for that Masters in Technology. But Touro is different. Touro Graduate School of Technology has a tuition of about $13,250 per year for a full time student. It is one of the most affordable in the entire U.S., all while located in the greatest city in the world: New York City. As more education is becoming required in the job market, not going for a masters could cost you in the long run.

The average debt for students after graduation from a masters program is between $66,000 and $73,000, and many students struggle to pay off their loans. So, it's always good to put a lot of research into where you go for graduate school. Luckily for students at Touro Graduate School of Technology, students can attend this accessible graduate program with the help of the low tuition cost, financial aid, and scholarships.

The type of graduate program matters a lot as well. Technology is an ever growing, and ever expanding job field. Graduates from Technology Masters programs are highly valuable to employers.Graduates from these fields go onto very high-paying jobs, and with Touro’s location in New York City networking opportunities only increase your odds of landing your dream job.

Touro Graduate School of Technology offers three different programs that will lead to a wide variety of different career paths. An MS in Information Systems that can open up doors in fields such as data analytics and cybersecurity. IBM predicts that positions for data analytics will soon reach close to 3,000,000 in the U.S. Cybersecurity is also a hot career, expected to grow 31% over the next nine years. Touro also offers a MS in Instructional Technology, which allows graduates to pursue careers in instructional design in all different levels of education and government. The UX/UI & INTERACTION DESIGN program is a MA program that instructs students on UI & UX design as well as animation. So weather, you are looking to enter a more straight-foward STEM field in technology or a creative field, Touro is the way to go.

Opportunities are truly endless with a technology degree, as the economy crashed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, technology jobs continued to rise. Those who have previously earned degrees and had jobs in other sectors are turning to the technology field. Unlike other careers technology jobs have career stability and have significant opportunities for career growth for those who decide to enter the field.

Still not sure about getting a masters degree in technology? Think about these statistics. The tech occupation unemployment rate was 3% in December, compared to 6.7% for the overall economy. Tech unemployment started 2020 at 3% and ranged from a low of 2.4% to a high of 4.6% during the year. New York was one the top five states in the U.S. for job postings in technology. Graduates of technology graduate programs do not need to find a job in technology, however. Technology is becoming a major part of every job field. Graduates from technology schools are highly appreciated and sought after for their knowledge in new technology and their ability to bring the industry up to speed. For instance, education is seeking technology graduates to help teach students new technology and use technology to enhance the field.

The true cost of a graduate degree in technology comes down to a prospective student’s willingness to put the hard work in and to take a leap of faith in the technology world. Touro’s low tuition cost allows anyone who truly wants the opportunity of career stability and career growth to obtain it. Does this sound like you? Then click here to learn more about Touro Graduate School of Technology’s programs and chat with us about your plans!

Getting your F1 student visa

Arranging for an F1 student visa interview may be much easier than you think, and we have lots of resources and support to help you get through the process. We can’t guarantee a visa as this is a decision by a U.S. government official, but we will do our best to assist you to come and live your dreams in New York City!

First, evaluate where you want to study. Many schools are located in rural areas that do not have advanced networks of alumni and access to thousands of good Optional Practical Training (OPT) jobs like schools in major cities. Remember, it is not just a school you are choosing, you are also choosing your new, temporary home and trying to find the area with the best access to OPT jobs once you graduate. New York City cannot be beat for OPT job opportunities, and because our three programs are STEM classified you will have three years of OPT eligibility to work following your graduation.

For your F1 student visa, Touro GST is here to help you through the process. The Department of State website on United States student visas gives a fairly comprehensive list of the materials and documents needed to begin the process. Once you have chosen your school, apply and get your full admission to the school. The entire process starts with your admission for a full-time course of study in a degree program, so do not hesitate to apply to Touro University today and get to New York sooner than you think!

The next step after applying and getting accepted into a school is to provide your proof of financial support to get your I-20 certificate of eligibility from Touro University. Once you receive the original, signed I-20 certificate of eligibility from Touro University you will need to apply for an F1 student visa interview by filing a DS-160 application online. While many students may have struggled to get to this point in the past year due to restrictions, please know that these restrictions have already or will become more relaxed in the near future.

There is an application fee for the F1 student visa interview that you pay online to the U.S. government. You will need:
  • the original I-20 certificate of eligibility from Touro University, including the original financial support documents
  • a valid passport for travel to the United States – your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the United States (unless exempt by country-specific agreements)
  • the Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 confirmation page
  • an application fee payment receipt, if you are required to pay before your interview
  • Photo – you will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160
  • For your spouse and/or minor children, if they intend to apply separately for an F2 dependent visa to come with you to the United States, they will each need an individual I-20 certificate of eligibility and must file a separate DS-160 Nonimmigrant Visa Application.
  • SEVIS fee payment receipt which you pay online to the U.S. government.

You won’t be alone, as we will advise you on how to prepare a strong case for the visa. Please reach out to Touro University GST with your questions.

5 Reasons why you need a Tech Masters Degree

The current job market is tough, we know. But the tech career sector seems to be thriving, as a result young professionals are looking to become qualified for these jobs. If this sounds like you, then a masters degree in tech may be your solution. These days, most people get a bachelor's degree, so the best way to show how much knowledge you have to potential employers is by going the extra mile and getting that masters degree. Technology jobs are expected to grow 12 percent over the next nine years, which is double the average for other job fields. Even if you do not want to pursue a career in technology it is undeniable that tech is becoming an integral, an absolutely essential, part of every industry. In order to become a leader in your career, a deep understanding of technology is necessary. At Touro Graduate School of Technology we offer three programs with a wide range of applications in the job market. So, whether you are looking to become an expert in technology in your field or you are looking to begin your technology career, look no further than Touro GST!

Reason 1: Stand Out At Your Current Job

If you already have a career that you love–– great! With Touro GST we can help you to realize your dreams and become your best self. If you’re in the tech industry, you know that there is a lot of growth going on right now, but there is also a lot of competition for careers in tech. At the moment a masters degree may not seem necessary to get into the technology industry, but that won’t be the case forever. As more people enter into this field, you will need to make yourself stand out. If you want to go for those high paying, senior positions in technology a masters degree will guarantee your high level of knowledge and qualification for the job. Technology is always changing, and while you may have the knowledge necessary to do your job, that might not be the case in two years. Formal education is the way to go in updating your knowledge on technology and gaining the tools to keep up with an ever-changing field.

Reason 2: Earn More Money

Like I mentioned before, while there is a high demand for technology professionals, senior positions in technology have high levels of competition. Those senior level positions, naturally, pay more than most entry level or intermediate level technology positions. So in order to prove your seniority and mastery of technology, a masters degree in technology is a clear way to go. However, if you are in another field, getting your masters in technology may also raise your salary. Employees who have a high level of knowledge in technology are paid more for their knowledge. Additionally, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers who have masters degrees earn significantly more than workers who do not have masters degrees.

Reason 3: Make a Career Change

Are you unhappy in your current field of work? You’re not alone. Many people change their careers, even when they have a senior position in their current field. It is never too late to learn a new skill, or a whole new industry for that matter. And if you have chosen technology to be your new career then you have chosen wisely. Technology is an awesome field with a lot of room for growth. There will be an estimated 62 million jobs in information and communications by 2023! While it may seem like a big leap to go back to school, the vast majority of those who invested in technology education recouped their investment. A career change is never easy, but if you invest in a masters degree in technology, you can rest assured that you will be qualified for positions and be able to recoup your investment and earn more money.

Reason 4: Boost your confidence

While this reason may seem conceited, it can actually help you do your work better. Confidence is key; and if you know that you are more than capable of being productive, then you will be less stressed and better able to execute tasks. A masters degree is very hard work, but the reward for accomplishing it is sweet. Perhaps you are a first generation student or an immigrant yourself, while going for that higher level degree may be more difficult than for the average student getting a masters degree will prove that you are more than capable of overcoming any obstacle that comes your way. Confidence is key in the job market, and you cannot just have the credentials you need to have the conviction in yourself to convince employers to hire you.

Reason 5: Communicate Better at Work

It comes as no surprise that if you have a higher level of knowledge on technology then you can better communicate to other departments or your boss what problems your department or company are facing. Communication is key at any workplace, but one of the secrets to great communication is knowledge. Knowledge is absolutely necessary when understanding technological issues or challenges. This is a great way to increase your value as an employee. This is true if you are already in a workplace or are in the job market. At Touro GST, our technology programs in instructional technology, UX/UI & INTERACTION DESIGN, and information systems offer a wide range of knowledge to students to best fit their career calling.

Talk with a program director if you are interested in hearing more about how a masters degree in technology will improve both your life and career.

Gaining your NACES evaluation in 3 easy steps

In the United States, there is no governing body for recognition of credentials and academics completed outside of the United States. Each institution has its own rules and regulations over which credentials that they will accept. In order to do this, institutions such as Touro GST, rely on independent credential evaluation. NACES or National Association of Credential Evaluation Services is an evaluation service used by Touro and other academic institutions to evaluate the credentials of prospective students. Evaluations benefit the student because they will be able to receive proper credit for academic work taken outside of the United States. Getting an evaluation that is properly reflective of the knowledge you have and the work you have done is an important step in becoming an international student in the U.S.

Step one to gaining your NACES evaluation: Go to the NACES website and select a member to perform your credit evaluation. NACES states on their website that they do not perform evaluations themselves–– their members do. The members are located in the U.S. but perform the credit evaluations electronically from anywhere in the world. You will need to contact the member evaluation organization independently as NACES will not do it for you.

TIP: Touro GST recommends using Institute of Foreign Credential Services or SpanTran Educational Services. Students applying to Touro get discounted pricing from IFCS and SpanTran for its services. With IFCS use application code "DISNY" to pay $140 for a course-by-course analysis completed within 5 days. Use application code “NYTOURGR2” when dealing with SpanTran.

Step Two: Once you have chosen a member of NACES, you will need to gather all the documents to prove your level of education. In order to get a proper evaluation that reflects your hard work in your academic studies. Contact all the institutions that you have attended in the past and get transcripts as well as other documents showing your attendance and grades.You will need to obtain two copies of each transcript–– one for the evaluator and one for Touro GST, or whichever institution that you wish to attend. The more documents there are the better the evaluator will rate your credentials. If you are attending graduate school, it is imperative that you show the transcript of your undergraduate school because you cannot attend graduate school without completing undergraduate school first.

Step Three: Ensure that the institution has received your evaluation. The evaluation completed by a NACES approved member organization should be directly sent to the institution you are applying to attend. Touro GST will not accept an evaluation that is sent directly from the student. This is to ensure that the results of the evaluation are reflective of the independent organization’s evaluation. You may or may not be able to see the results of the evaluation, but contact both the academic institution and the credential evaluation service to make sure that your application is complete.

Although not the most complicated step in the process of becoming an international student in the U.S. it is a very important one. Please ensure that there is a lot of time in between your expected time of study and when you first begin the credit evaluation process. This process can be very lengthy, time-wise. If you live outside of the U.S. currently, you will need even more time for this process–– especially during COVID-19.

Writing a Dynamite Graduate School Essay

If you are applying to graduate school, then by now you have probably written your fair share of personal essays. Writing a graduate school essay sounds daunting, even for those who are experienced personal essay writers, but it is more straightforward than it may seem. Graduate admissions are looking for students who are motivated and ready to take on the challenge of graduate school. Showing that in your essay isn’t hard if you know the tips and tricks to writing a dynamic graduate school essay.

Write Concise, Focus on What they Ask for:

For some graduate school applications,the institution will ask you a very specific question and provide very specific guidelines for what they want in your personal statement. If this is the case, follow those guidelines to a tee. Create an outline using those guidelines and as you write your essay make sure you are ticking off each one of those requirements. It is important to do this in a concise fashion, with large numbers of applicants for graduate schools admissions officers are more likely to skim over larger essays than they are shorter ones. By writing a shorter, more concise essay you are giving the admissions officer to read your essay fully and understand your thoughts and ideas in your essay.

However, some institutions provide very little detail on what they want in your personal statement. They may only provide a simple question that they want you to answer with your personal statement. Or, they may simply state that they want you to provide a personal statement and provide you with nothing to go off of. If this is the case, then the rules of providing a short, yet full and concise essay still apply. For open ended questions and statements, you will have more avenues that you could potentially explore in your personal statement, however it is best that you choose one idea and stick with it. This will allow your idea to not only be fully developed, but also allow you to write a shorter essay. Focus on creating a powerful punch with the one idea that you want to develop. Graduate admissions officers will think of you as focused and ready to take on grad school!

Focus on your program:

If you are doing your research, you probably have a pretty good idea of which program that you are applying to. Letting the graduate admissions officers know that you’re well researched in the program signals that you are better able to navigate through graduate school life. Naming professors in the program that you are excited to learn from is a good indicator that you are not only well researched, but have a good understanding of what you’re going to learn.

Keep it recent and personal

Keeping it personal in a personal essay sounds fairly obvious, but you will be surprised how easy it is to start writing about other topics when you are supposed to be writing about yourself. Writing a personal essay, although it should be no longer than a couple of pages, can be a very difficult task because it requires deep reflection and self awareness, something that does not come easily. It is a good idea to dedicate some time to reflecting what you want out of this graduate program.

When reflecting, you may be tempted to write about your childhood. While it may be a sweet story, try to keep anecdotes fairly recent. Childhood anecdotes work great for undergrad essays, but for graduate essays they do not necessarily communicate why you want to go for that graduate degree. The best personal anecdotes are the ones from during and after college.This is because these anecdotes give specific context to your reasoning for going to graduate school.

Don’t forget to include why you want to go to that school

With all of these tips about keeping your essays short and personal, you may just forget something very important–– why you want to attend the school! This part needs to be specific to the program or university so be sure to do your research and list what the program has that will benefit you. It is best to include this part towards the very end of your essay because it will be fresh in the reader's mind and will emphasize that you are focused and ready to attend graduate school. For instance, if you are planning to attend Touro Graduate School of technology, write about why Touro’s location in NYC, small class sizes, and flexible schedules are perfect for you!

Reason 5: Help to make a difference someday

Writing a personal statement that is dynamic, personable, and exciting is not an easy task. Even though these essays are short, give yourself plenty of time to reflect on why you want to attend graduate school.

Everything you need to know about the Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility"

If you are thinking about studying in the United States the I-20, certificate of eligibility, will be an important document to understand. It is essential for gaining admission for studying in the United States. It is a multi-purpose document used by the immigration offices in the United States to determine that a student has been admitted to a full-time study program and has the financial resources for their time in the United States. This document is the precursor to the F-1 visa, the visa for international students. It is called the “certificate of eligibility” because the document proves your eligibility for the F-1 visa.

When a prospective international student has been fully admitted to his or her school of choice, then provides their personal information and required financial information to a Designated School Official (DSO) at the school where he or she has been accepted, the DSO then enters the information into a government database called SEVIS and issues the I-20. SEVIS stands for Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. The DSO at the school is authorized by the U.S. government to issue and sign an I-20 form once the student has met the requirements. After the I-20 is signed by the DSO, the signed original is then delivered to the student.

Students must pay the I-901 SEVIS fee once they have received their I-20. Students must pay this fee before they can schedule their F-1 visa interview (which requires an additional fee).

The F-1 visa interview must be scheduled at their assigned United States Consular Services office (some countries have more than one consulate, and for citizens of some countries where there is no functioning consulate you will be required to interview at a U.S. consulate in another country). When the student enters the United States they must present both the I-20 form and their valid passport with the F-1 visa stamp at the immigration desk (before customs), so it is important to keep these and all other important documents together and not check the I-20 with the luggage.

Other I-20 Facts that You Should Know:

  • When travelling abroad students will need to take their I-20 form with them as it is necessary for re-entering the United States. It is used as proof that you have paid your I-901 SEVIS fee. A travel signature on the I-20 from the DSO and a valid F-1 visa are required for re-entry.
  • When there is a significant change to the student’s record, including: change of major, change in program dates, change in work authorization, etc., it is required to report such a change within a set number of days to the DSO and a student’s international student office will automatically produce a new I-20. As a result, a student may end up with multiple I-20 forms. Students should keep all of their I-20 forms.
  • The 60-day grace period is the period after a program ends and the student must, within 60 days, depart the United States, request a school transfer, or apply for another status.
  • Unlawful employment is a reason to terminate a student’s F-1 status. While on F-1 student status you may work at an on-campus job or an off-campus job if you have written permission from your DSO .
  • You must remain a full-time student for the entirety of the program’s length. This is equivalent to at least 12 credits per semester (in your final semester the DSO can approve a drop below full time attendance in advance of the start of the semester if you only need one, two, or three classes to graduate).

Why New York City is the Perfect Place to Study

New York City could be a dream: to live, work, and study! New York is perhaps the most culturally rich and diverse place in the entire world. There is an endless amount to learn and experience just by being in the city. New York is a hub for a multitude of reasons: it is a global financial center, the capital for fashion, a landmark for the arts and music. The city is a true intersection of all different subjects and walks of life. The best part is, it is available for anyone to explore. Opportunity seems to just live in New York, you never know who you will meet and who will open doors for you. Other students are all looking to live this dream just like you, so you will never be alone.

Columbia University, New York University are just two of the big name prestigious universities that are located in the Big Apple. During the school year, hordes of students roam the streets ready to take on the city. You can join them, together the students of New York will define the future of the city and the world. Over 100,000 students from around the world came to New York to study, prior to the pandemic, to join in on the awesome opportunity. It is clear that international students choose New York more than any other location to study.

The mix of students from all over the world is just the tip of the iceberg of diversity in New York. The city is a thriving hub of different communities. Learning about these communities is valuable to your education and professional career. Trying food from all over the world in just one city is a luxury that any student in New York should take advantage of. Visiting museums and cultural centers is only a subway ride away. It is the perfect unique international experience, perfect for international students!

You will never be bored. Seriously, there are all sorts of activities to stimulate your senses. From world-class plays, live music, to hundreds of beautiful parks and green spaces the city can offer you a whole world of entertainment, as well as relaxation. While it could seem distracting, all of the things that New York has to offer actually helps stimulate the senses. These features of New York are not mere distractions–– they help to raise important questions that students ask themselves and their professors. No matter which subject you plan on studying in New York, by being in the city you will get the most well-rounded experience possible.

With New York being the home and the birthplace of hundreds and thousands of businesses including fortune 500 companies. If you want to get a foot in the door into virtually any industry, then New York is the place to start. The city has tons of internship opportunities, and networking opportunities. You can test out what it’s like to work in a large firm in one of the largest metropolises on the planet. If it doesn’t work out, well there are tons of more opportunities waiting for you to take up. While interning in New York you will get a taste of the New Yorker work ethic. The city’s daily grind is both daunting yet exhilarating. There is truly no other work experience like it.

Speaking of the daily commute, New York has one of the most efficient and inexpensive public transportation in the country. This guarantees students the opportunity to travel the city, get lost, and discover things that they may never have expected. The subway runs 24/7 so it’s perfect for late night excursions. Students are able to study at thousands of locations, even late into the night and make it home thanks to the subway. The subway runs into the outer boroughs as well: Brooklyn,Queens, Bronx are all worth exploring!

New York City is not only the perfect place to study, it is the perfect place to find yourself. So many people come to New York to find and live their dreams, and find out who they are as a person. This is because the city forces you to rely on yourself, amid all the originality and creativity. You will find your niche in this city, and grow into it now matter where you go next.