International Student Handbook | BCTC

International Student Handbook

The International Student Services Office is pleased to offer our current and prospective students with our International Student Handbook. We encourage students to use this as a resource and guide during their time at Bluegrass Community and Technical College.

For a hard copy of the handbook, please visit the ISS Office in OB 202A on Cooper Campus!

1 INTRODUCTION TO OUR INSTITUTION

Welcome to Bluegrass Community and Technical College, located in the heart of the Horse Capital of the World, Lexington, Kentucky. We are happy that you decided to join our student body for a quality education at an affordable price.

The International Student Services Office is especially excited to welcome you to our campus and offer our services in hopes that your experience at BCTC will be a rewarding experience. This handbook is part of our commitment to you. In this guide, you will find information we have collected for you to make your stay in our college and community as pleasant and convenient as possible. The International Student Services Office is always ready to advise you on your international student status, immigration paperwork, or any other issues that you may face.

The International Student Services Office is here to help you be a successful student and to help you maintain your important F-1, J-1, or M-1 visa status through all of the complicated rules, regulations, and updates. We also look forward to sharing in your victories and building lasting relationships with you, our valued international student.

2 OUR CAMPUS LOCATIONS

BCTC is comprised of 6 convenient campus locations, all within an hour of our main Lexington campuses.
International students are permitted to attend classes on any of the following campuses:

  • Cooper Campus: 470 Cooper Drive, Lexington, KY
  • Leestown Campus: 164 Opportunity Way, Lexington, KY
  • Newtown Campus: 500 Newtown Pike, Lexington, KY
  • Winchester Campus: 2020 Rolling Hills Lane, Winchester, KY
  • Danville Campus: 59 Corporate Drive, Danville, KY
  • Lawrenceburg Campus: 1500 Bypass North, US 127, Lawrenceburg, KY
  • Georgetown Campus, Bluegrass Advanced Manufacturing Center: 200 Technology Court, Georgetown, KY 40324
  • North American Racing Academy: 3380 Paris Pike, Lexington, KY

3 LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY

Lexington offers a charming blend of big city amenities and small-town friendliness. Known for basketball, bourbon, and horses, Lexington is a destination for many visitors from around the world. To learn more about the city of Lexington, visit www.visitlex.com.

4 INTERNATIONAL ORIENTATION

New International Student Orientation is required of all students in F-1, M-1, or J-1 status. Orientation is held before the start of each semester, and is designed to assist our students assimilate to life in the United States and as a Bluegrass Community and Technical College student. For specific New International Student Orientation dates, please refer to your welcome letter.

All new international students are required to report to their orientation at the times provided in their welcome letter. You should bring:

  • Passport & Visa
  • I-20 or DS-2019
  • I-94
  • Insurance documents, if applicable
  • Dependent’s documents, if applicable
  • Any other pertinent immigration documents

It is advisable to arrive in Lexington before the orientation date in order to find housing and settle into your new living environment. According to US immigration regulations, you are permitted to arrive in the US no more than 30 days prior to the start date on your I-20 or DS-2019.

If you are unable to arrive in Lexington for the orientation, you must notify the International Student Services Office at bl-international@kctcs.edu

5 BCTC STUDENT ID CARD

As a BCTC, you will need to obtain a student identification card to gain access to many of the student services across campus.

Please visit the following offices, depending on where you are taking the majority of your classes:

  • Cooper Campus &
  • Winchester Campus
  • Oswald Building 247 on Cooper Campus
  • Online Classes & Other BCTC Campuses
  • Leestown Building C, Room 100 OR Newtown Classroom
    Building Room 103

The first photo ID is free, replacement IDs are $10.00. Please ensure that you have waited 10 business days after registering for classes before trying to obtain your school ID.

6 ACADEMIC ADVISING

All first-time students, both domestic and international, are required to meet with their academic advisor before scheduling their classes for the first time. You will receive your first academic advising during your New International Student Orientation. After your first semester, it is your responsibility to schedule meetings with you advisor to plan your future classes.

International students are required to meet with their advisor each semester to ensure that their class schedules adhere to the rules and regulations set forth by immigration law.
To schedule an appointment with your assigned academic advisor, login into your Blackboard student account and click the "Starfish" button. You will then be prompted to schedule an appointment.

Throughout the semester, you may notice that your student account has an “INS” service indicator. This indicator is on your account for your protection to ensure that you are not dropped from your classes and to ensure that you are properly maintaining your status. If you ever need the indicator to be lifted, simply contact your assigned academic advisor and they will happily assist you!

7 REGISTERING FOR CLASSES

After you have met with your advisor, you will have the ability to register for classes online on your Student Self-Service portal. To register for classes online, please visit: https://students.kctcs.edu/. You may also use your Student Self-Service to view your account balance, view your schedule, update personal information, and more.

If you have never activated your account, you will need to do so by visiting the User Account Center to obtain access to all of your student services.

8 PURCHASING YOUR TEXTBOOKS

At the beginning of each semester, it is important to make sure that you have purchased the textbooks for each of your classes. Buying or renting textbooks for your classes is mandatory in order to succeed in your classes.

To determine which textbooks you need, you can either look on the course syllabus or show your schedule to the on-campus bookstore.

CAMPUS BOOKSTORE LOCATIONS

OB 120

C-154 

9 HEALTH INSURANCE

All international students are required to have medical insurance verification on file. If you need assistance purchasing insurance, please make an appointment with Brian Schanding (brian.schanding@kctcs.edu) to discuss your options.

10 PARKING & STUDENT TRANSPORTATION

Parking on all campuses is free, with the exception of Cooper Campus. If you plan to attend any classes on Cooper Campus, you will need to purchase a parking permit. Cooper Campus parking is controlled by the University of Kentucky and therefore parking permits must be purchased from the University of Kentucky directly.

In order to purchase the required “C-6” or “K” parking permit, you should visit the UK Parking and Transportation Services office, located at 721 Press Avenue, Lexington, KY. Parking permits cost $296 for the academic year.

If you do not plan to drive, you may consider purchasing a LexTran bus pass for $50 per semester or $75 per academic year, or use the UK CATS buses on-campus free of charge. For more information, call (859) 257- 5757 or online at http://www.uky.edu/pts/.

11 DRIVER’S LICENSE

Everyone who drives in Kentucky must have a valid driver’s license.

If you are interested in obtaining your driver’s license, visit the International Student Services Office for your official letter authorizing you to apply for your license. You will also need to obtain an Enrollment Verification from the Records Office. To be prepared, you should also gather the following:

  • Passport
  • I-94
  • I-20 or DS-2019
  • Proof of local residence (signed lease agreement utility bill with your name, bank statement with name and address)
  • $20.00
  • Social Security Card or Social Security Card Denial Notice

Once you have gathered all required documents, you will need to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles in Lexington. For more information, call (502) 564-1257 or visit the Kentucky Transporation Cabinet website.

12 SNAP ALERTS

When important things happen on campus, such as institutional closings for weather or urgent events, students are notified through a system called “SNAP Alerts”. It is important to sign up for snap alerts by visiting kctcs.edu/snap to begin receiving BCTC SNAP Alerts today.

13 WORKING ON CAMPUS

As an International Student, you are eligible to work part-time (20 hours or less) at an on-campus location. To seek employment, follow these steps:

  1. Apply to an on-campus employer
  2. Receive job offer
  3. Ask employer to complete Employment Verification Form
  4. Take Employment Verification Form to ISS and receive letter to obtain Social Security Number
  5. Begin your job and communicate regularly with the ISS office concerning your employment

For a "How To: Obtain an On-Campus Job" help guide, stop by your International Student Services Office on Cooper Campus

14 BEGINNING AND END OF SEMESTER CHECK-IN

As an international student, it is important to check-in with the ISS office regularly to ensure that your immigration documents are valid and up-to-date. Twice a semester, at the beginning of the semester and at the end of the semester, it is mandatory for you to check-in with our office. Please check your email regularly for reminders concerning these mandatory check-in times.

15 ACADEMICS

Educational systems differ from country to country. Here are a few things to know about academic life in the US and at Bluegrass Community and Technical College:

Attendance

You are expected to go to class on time, to notify your professors in advance if you will not be able to attend class, and to participate fully in assignments and class discussions. If you are ill, it is important to receive a doctor’s note to give your professors, especially if you will miss multiple classes. In some classes, your professors may have an attendance policy. It is important to be aware of these policies. Missing too many classes is not a reason for the ISS Office to allow you to drop below full-time.

Communicating with your Professors

It is important to have a good relationship with your professors. At BCTC, faculty are friendly and willing to help students and as an international student, you should take advantage of their open lines of communication. If you are struggling in class, or do not understand something, it is imperative that you meet with your professors to discuss possible solutions.

Grading

Different professors may use different grading scales and methods of grading. At the beginning of each semester, you will want to pay attention to the syllabus to determine the grading method for each class. If you do not understand, do not be afraid to ask the professor.

In general, Bluegrass Community and Technical College uses the following grading system:

A:Represents exceptionally high achievement
B: Represents high achievement
C: Represents satisfactory achievement
D: Represents the minimum achievement for credit
E: Represents unsatisfactory achievement, failure 

Academic Honesty

According to the KCTCS Student Code of Conduct, academic dishonesty is defined as plagiarism, cheating, student co-responsibility, and misuse/falsification of academic records. As a BCTC student, you are expected to complete your own work, to try your best, and to not allow others to use your work as their own. Our institution takes academic dishonesty very seriously and each of the academic offenses will be penalized.

For more specific information about academic honesty, you may review the KCTCS Student Code of Conduct, section 2.3.1: KCTCS Academic Offenses.

16 HOUSING

At BCTC, we do not have designated housing for any of our students. However, as a BCTC student, you will be eligible to apply for housing at the neighboring University of Kentucky (UK) campus. If you choose, you may apply to live on UK’s campus in dormitories, or you can arrange housing in nearby apartments.

If you plan on living on the University of Kentucky’s campus, please visit the Housing and Dining page to learn more about the services offered.

If you plan to look for an off-campus apartment, consider the following:

  • Furnished or unfurnished
  • Private or shared kitchen and bathrooms
  • Laundry services
  • Nearby transportation services
  • Parking availability
  • Lease term
  • Required deposit
  • Utilities may be paid by the tenant or the landlord
  • Safety of surrounding area
  • Number of roommates

After you locate an apartment, you will most likely need to set up utility services, cable, internet, and more. If you need assistance with this, your landlord may be able to offer some direction. You may also stop by the International Student Services Office if you need assistance.

17 HEALTHCARE

FOR ANY KIND OF AN EMERGENCY, IMMEDIATELY CALL 911.

University of Kentucky Clinic

Bluegrass Community and Technical College students enrolled at Bluegrass Community and Technical College (at the Cooper, Regency or Winchester campuses) may receive services through University Health Service under these guidelines:

  • Participating and eligible campuses include: Cooper and Winchester only.
  • Any BCTC student attending any of these campuses can be seen on a fee-for-service basis (charges range depending on the visit type).
  • Any BCTC student who is enrolled in at least six hours of traditional in-classroom hours may purchase the health fee for that semester, which would cover the cost of unlimited visits at UHS.
  • BCTC students who are interested in purchasing the health fee may do so online at the E-Store at UK Plus Account.
  • BCTC students must present a current BCTC ID at time of visit.

MUST MAKE AN APPOINTMENT. TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT, CALL 859-323-5823

Urgent Care Facilities Concentra Urgent Care 859-266-4882
1055 Dove Run Road, Lexington, KY
Lexington Urgent Care
859-523-5310
1701 Nicholasville Road, Lexington, KY Hospitals
St. Joseph Hospital
Good Samaritan Hospital Baptist Health Lexington UK Chandler Hospital

Urgent Care Facilities

  • Concentra Urgent Care 859-266-4882
    1055 Dove Run Road, Lexington, KY
  • Lexington Urgent Care
    859-523-5310
    1701 Nicholasville Road, Lexington, KY

Hospitals

  • St. Joseph Hospital
  • Good Samaritan Hospital
  • Baptist Health Lexington
  • UK Chandler Hospital

18 STUDENT LIFE

Whether you are interested in joining the International Student Association or playing on an intramural basketball team, there is something for everyone to get involved in!

Get involved in:

  • African Student Association of Bluegrass (ASAB)
  • International Student Association (ISA)
  • Intramural Sports
  • Student Government Association
  • Performing and Visual Arts
  • On-campus events

19 SAFETY

While on campus, you are protected by on-campus safety and security officers, as well as campus surveillance cameras. If you have problems with theft or violence while on campus, please report your concerns immediately to the Safety and Security Office on your campus.

Security Office Contact Information: 

 
Campus Number
Cooper Campus
Daytime
859-246-6794
Cooper Campus Nights 859-699-9891
Leestown Campus Daytime 859-246-6834
Leestown Campus Nights/Weekend 859-684-3041
Newtown Daytime 859-246-6659
Newtown Campus Nights/Weekend 859-753-8881
Danville Campus Daytime 859-246-6877
Lawrenceburg Campus 859-246-6815
Winchester Campus 859-246-6573

While not on-campus, you are protected by the police department. The police are present both to protect the public and to enforce the law. You may ask a police officer with help in situations of theft, noisy neighbors, or other emergent situations. Police are legally prohibited from taking “gifts” or money. They may arrest people who attempt to offer such payment.

International students arriving in the United States often have concerns about safety, due to over- dramatized violence in American movies and news reports. If you are careful and take necessary precautions, your stay in Lexington should be violence and crime free.

20 SMOKING

BCTC has a responsibility to its students, faculty, and staff to provide a safe and healthy working and learning environment. For this reason, smoking on campus is prohibited, except in the designated smoking areas.

Students who violate the Tobacco-free Campus Policy will be reported to the Assistant Vice President of Student Rights and Responsibilities and will be subject to corrective action according to the applicable disciplinary code in the Student Code of Conduct.

21 MONEY

In the United States, we have three common forms of paying for shopping expenses, bills, rent, and more: cash, credit/debit cards, check. Many times, different people will request different forms of payment. For example, your landlord may not be able to accept credit cards, he may prefer checks. It is always a good idea to have multiple forms of payment, as different places require different forms of payment.

22 BANKING

It should be one of your priorities, upon arriving in the United States, to open a checking or savings account with a local bank. Banks with many branches around Lexington include:

When you open an account, they will likely ask you for your immigration documentation, such has your passport, I-20, and Social Security number. If you do not have a Social Security number, you may explain to them that international students are not permitted to have Social Security numbers, unless employed. Should they have any questions, you may request a letter from the ISS office to give to the bank on your behalf.

Different banks have different procedures and services offered to their clients. If you have any questions about any of their services, or banking questions in general, you should contact a banker at your home bank.

23 USING AN ATM

Automated Teller Machines, called “ATMs” are located at various locations on campus and throughout town. They allow you to make cash withdraws, deposits, and transfers between accounts, as well as view your account balance. Oftentimes, there are fees associated with using an ATM that belongs to a bank other than your home bank. ATM fees are usually between $1.50 and $3.00 and will be automatically deducted from your account upon use of the machine.

24 USING DEBIT AND CREDIT CARDS

A debit card, called a “check card”, is connected to your checking account and is used much like a credit card, except that charges are deducted directly from your checking account upon purchase. On the other hand, credit cards accumulate your purchases throughout the month and you receive a final bill at the end of the month for all of your purchases.

Whether you are using a debit or credit card, it is important to keep track of your purchases and ensure that your purchases are not exceeding the amount of money you have. If you attempt to use your debit card and there are not sufficient funds in your account, most banks will charge a minimum $25.00 overdraft fee.

25 PAYING TUITION

As a BCTC student, it is very important that you are aware of tuition and expenses that you are responsible for. If you are paying for your own tuition, or if you have a sponsor, it is essential for you to visit the Billing Office on campus to set up how you will pay your bills. There are several options available to all BCTC students whether you choose to pay online, in person, or through automatic account withdraw.

Failure to pay your account balance will result in a “financial hold” on your student account. If you do not pay the bill, you will not be able to register for future classes.

26 PAYING TAXES

International students are permitted to work in on- campus jobs and in some other situations. If you are permitted to work, you will be responsible for filing your federal income tax forms. We highly advise students who have earned income in the United States to work with a tax preparation company to prepare your taxes.

All F-1 and J-1 students and their dependents, regardless of whether or not they have earned money, are required to file an annual tax form. Tax forms must be postmarked no later than April 15 of each year.

If you were present in the US even for one day as an F or J student, you must complete the tax report called the “8843 form”.

27 WEATHER

The weather in Lexington is generally mild and we experience four distinct seasons. You should plan to purchase appropriate clothes for each season that you are staying in Kentucky.

  • Spring (March-May)
    Average Temperature: 55 degrees Description: Rainy and warm
  • Summer (July-August)
    Average Temperature: 80 degrees Description: Hot, humid, and dry
  • Fall (September-November) Average Temperature: 60 degrees Description: Dry and sunny
  • Winter (December- February) Average Temperature: 35 degrees Description: Cold, Snowy

28 TRANSPORTATION

Learning the transportation system in Lexington is important to ensure that you can easily transport yourself from your home to class and other important destinations. Students are eligible to apply for a driver’s license and therefore may purchase or rent a car.

If you choose not to drive, LexTran Transit Authority, taxi services, and shuttles are some of the most common ways that our students choose to travel once they have arrived in Lexington. If you are planning to travel by plane to or from Lexington, the nearest airport is the Bluegrass Airport (code LEX).

29 SHOPPING

It is important to familiarize yourself with the area shopping whether you are purchasing groceries or clothes. Below are a few categories of items that you may need to purchase and some of the popular locations for shopping near Lexington.

Groceries

  • Kroger
  • Trader Joe’s
  • Fresh Market
  • Meijer
  • Whole Foods 

Specialty

  • Africa & Carribbean Imports
  • Karibu International Market
  • Selby’s Tropical Food Market
  • Dong Yang Market
  • Tyler’s Asian Market
  • Yu Yu Asian Supermarket

Clothing/Other

  • Fayette Mall
  • Hamburg Shopping Pavilion
  • Lexington Center
  • The Summit
  • Target
  • Wal-Mart

30 TOURIST ATTRACTIONS

In Lexington, there are many exciting tourist attractions and interesting places to visit. A few of the top-rated suggestions in or near Lexington include:

  1. Kentucky Horse Park
  2. Keeneland Race Course
  3. Kentucky State Capitol
  4. Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill
  5. Historic Distilleries
  6. Bluegrass Country Driving Tour
  7. University of Kentucky Sports Events
  8. The Arboretum
  9. The Art Museum at UK
  10. Bluegrass Heritage Museum

During your time in Lexington, we encourage you to explore your surroundings. The VisitLex website is an excellent source of information about things to do in the Central Kentucky region.

 

31 STAFF/CONTACT US!

Need to schedule an appointment? Call or email us to schedule an appointment. You may also visit us in our office during hours of operation:

Cooper Campus, OB 202A
Monday-Thursday 8:00 am to 4:30 pm
Friday 8:00 am to 4:00 pm
**Closed Noon-1:00 pm for lunch**

Dr. Brian Schanding, Primary Designated School Official
470 Cooper Campus
Oswald 202A Brian.schanding@kctcs.edu 859-246-4647

32 SOCIAL MEDIA

Follow BCTC International Student Services on Instagram and Twitter @BCTCISS!

Tag us in your pictures by tagging @BCTCISS to let us see what you are doing on campus. Are you traveling? Tag us @BCTCISS! We love to see how you are doing on campus!

33 SERVICES

The ISS Office is pleased to offer a wide variety of services to our international students. Please review the list of services below and take into account the waiting time required for obtaining documents.

 
Procedure When to Request Service Appointment Required? Additional Info
Travel Signature 2 weeks prior to travel No Must have most current I-20 and
passport
Any
Certification Letter
1 day prior to pick-up No, pick up next day N/A
SSN Letter 1 day prior to pick-up No, pick up next day Student must be in US a minimum of 10 days, in
SEVIS for 2 days, and have employment
letter
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) Up to 6 months before start
date
Yes See CPT Request Form
Optional Practical Training (OPT) 4 months prior to finishing
degree
Yes See OPT Request Form
Transfer from BCTC to another school Within 60 days of final
term end date at BCTC
No, pick up next day Transfer form and
admission letter
Drop Below Full-Time Request Before dropping any classes No, decision will be emailed Completed form signed by advisor

Reinstatement Immediately, no later than 5 months after termination
occurred
Yes N/A
Program Extension At least 30 days before end of current program No Program Extension Request Form, completed
by advisor
Change of Status 3-4 months before you wish to begin classes Yes  

34 STUDENT SERVICE OFFICES

Cooper Campus

  • Admissions- Oswald Building 119
  • Advising and Assessment- Oswald Building 109
  • Bookstore- Oswald Building 120
  • Counseling Services- Academic Technical Building 102
  • Disability Support Services- Oswald Building 320C
  • Financial Aid/Scholarships- Oswald Building 121
  • Housing Office (UK)- Funkhouser 125
  • International Student Services- Oswald Building 202A
  • Library and Learning Resources- Oswald Building 220
  • Multiculturalism and Inclusion- Oswald Building 103
  • Parking Office (UK)- 721 Press Avenue
  • Records/Registrar- Oswald Building 203
  • Student Billings- Oswald Building 215
  • Transfer Center- Oswald Building 118
  • Tutoring Center- Maloney Building 225

Newtown Campus

  • Student Services Suite- CB 103
  • Newtown Learning Commons- CB 120

Leestown Campus

  • Student One-Stop (All Services)- Building C

Danville Campus

Not all student services are offered on regional campuses. Please seek assistance from front office.

Lawrenceburg Campus

Not all student services are offered on regional campuses. Please seek assistance from front office.

Winchester Campus

Not all student services are offered on regional campuses. Please seek assistance from front office.