Guide for Accepted International Undergraduate Students

Welcome to the RIT community!

The information provided here will help you as you plan for your arrival at RIT. The recommended fall semester move-in date for international students is Sunday, August 16, 2020.

RIT has a semester calendar. You can view the Institute Calendar online. With academic approval, you may join classes NO LATER than the sixth class day from the beginning of the term.

Questions? Schedule a 30 minute appointment with international admissions staff.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requires all F-1 and J-1 visa applicants to pay an I-901 SEVIS fee in addition to the visa application fee that is charged by the US Embassy/Consulate

Additional information about the SEVIS fee and instructions on obtaining your visa can be found in the New Students section of the International Student Services website.

You are required to report to the International Student Services Office in the Student Alumni Union at RIT within 5 days of your arrival at RIT. Failure to do so may jeopardize your visa status.

Arrival Information

RIT is located within 5 miles of the Rochester International Airport in Rochester, New York (airport code ROC). If you are arriving by plane, you should take an Uber, Lyft or taxi from the airport to the campus. The taxi fare is approximately $25 and Uber and Lyft will typically be a lower cost. If you are arriving by bus or train, you should choose the destination of “Rochester, New York” and take an Uber, Lyft or taxi from the train station or bus terminal to the campus. The ride will be about 20-30 minutes and the Uber, Lyft or taxi fare will vary.

Students arriving in New York City by plane should book passage through to Rochester, New York (airport code ROC), which is an additional one-hour flight. You may also take a train or bus from New York City, which will take an additional 8 hours to reach Rochester. Allow yourself ample time to travel from the NYC airport (LaGuardia, Kennedy, or Newark) to the train station or bus terminal, as ground transportation in NYC can be time consuming.

If you are assigned campus housing, you should go directly to the RIT Housing Office between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Ask a taxi or shuttle to take you to the RIT campus, and then to Grace Watson Hall. For arrivals at other times, you must contact the RIT Housing Office at (585) 475-2572 or

Please check the weather for the Rochester area prior to your departure and dress appropriately as temperatures can fluctuate significantly depending on the time of year. There are several shopping areas within 1-2 miles of campus for you to purchase additional clothing if needed.

Accommodations for Early Arrival

If you will arrive in Rochester before you can move into your RIT housing assignment, you should arrange to stay in an area hotel. You should make a reservation at the hotel/motel before your arrival, and be sure to ask if there is an RIT discount rate.

For many students, especially younger students traveling without an adult, it is recommended to stay at the RIT Inn and Conference Center.  The Inn will provide reduced rates for incoming students and has a free shuttle bus to campus.

Travel Tips

There is more than one city in the United States named Rochester!  When flying to Rochester, New York, please make sure you buy a ticket for Greater Rochester International Airport (airport code ROC).

During travel, you should carry a small bag with personal items, a change of clothing, and any valuable items in the event that your luggage does not arrive in Rochester when you do. You should contact the airline or other carrier with which you will be traveling to determine any luggage weight, size, or quantity restrictions. Be sure to label all luggage with your name, address, and telephone number, both at home and at RIT.

The weather in Rochester is varied. It is usually hot and humid from June through September, and cold and snowy from November through March. Other months are moderate in temperature. You will need a heavy wind and rain resistant coat, waterproof boots, and gloves, hats, and scarves for the winter months. Students usually wear comfortable, informal clothing to attend classes. Bring at least one set of “interview clothes”.

Personal Finances

You should bring enough money to cover your expenses while traveling.  We recommend that you carry at least $100 in U.S. dollars (include smaller denominations too, as you may need them for airport shuttles, taxis, etc.).  It is useful to have a credit card or some form of electronic payment.

You should also bring enough money with you for your first few weeks at RIT. You may wish to consider using an ATM machine on campus to access cash from an account previously established at a U.S. bank or one in another country. The ATM machines on campus are supplied by Advantage Federal Credit Union, Bank of America, and M&T Bank, and use the NYCE, CIRRUS, Global Access, PLUS, Visa, and MasterCard networks.

You may open a checking and/or savings account at a bank in the Rochester area usually between the hours of 9:30 am and 3:00 pm, Monday through Saturday, with earlier closing on Saturday. It will take approximately 2 weeks for your new account to be activated, and for you to receive personalized checks from the bank.

RIT has a convenient “Tiger Bucks” system. You may place an amount of money in a Tiger Bucks account at RIT, and then use your Student ID to make purchases on campus, such as in the bookstore, food service areas, library, and vending machines. Arrangements for the opening of a Tiger Bucks account can be made with the Office of Student Financial Services (585-475-6186) or RIT Dining (585-475-2228).

Shipping Belongings

Students living in RIT housing should not send their belongings ahead. Please DO NOT send baggage to the International Student Services Office.

About U.S. Customs

Keep your passport, I-20 or DS-2019, other important documents, and your money on your person at all times. Immigration documents must be presented at the port of entry to the United States. Helpful “Know Before You Visit” information can be found on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website. This information will help you clear customs without loss of any of your possessions.


All international students must attend the International Student Orientation program. This program provides information on programs and services offered by the International Student Services and other RIT Offices. Information sessions cover topics such as employment in the U.S., immigration information, health care and health insurance, U.S. tax obligations, safety concerns, and U.S. Social Security Numbers. At International Student Orientation, you will meet the PALs (Peer Advisor Leaders). PALs are current RIT international and American student volunteers who will help answer your questions and assist you in getting settled at RIT. Enclosed is a letter from International Student Services (ISS) with more information. The ISS Orientation registration form is available online.

In addition, New Student Orientation will take place following International Student Orientation. You can view additional information about New Student Orientation events online.


Your first semester courses will be selected by your academic department as a courtesy and will be reviewable online.  Changes can be requested during Orientation.

Enrollment Deposit

Once you have been admitted to RIT, you are required to submit an enrollment deposit to reserve your place in the entering class. Your deposit enables the various RIT offices to prepare for your arrival, and allows you to apply for RIT Housing if you want to live on campus. The deposit will be credited to your student account and applied toward your first semester’s tuition, and it is non-refundable. Please visit our website for payment options.

Payment of Tuition and Fees

All billing notices are sent to you at your RIT email address. The student billing office at RIT is the Student Financial Services Office and is available online. Questions regarding your account balance, tuition charges, and payment procedures should be directed to Student Financial Services at or 585-475-6186. View your bill online with Student Financial Services eServices.

Your semester tuition bill will be sent approximately 6 weeks prior to the start of classes, and payment is due approximately 2 weeks before the start of classes. If an organization or embassy sponsors you, a bill for their portion of your costs will be sent directly to them, if you request that we send the bill to them.

If you have not made payment before you arrive on campus, you will be expected to pay the first semester’s tuition at the Office of Student Financial Services by the first day of classes. Payment options and payment plan information are listed on the Student Financial Services website.

Campus Services

RIT is a remarkable and diverse university. Life on campus is a living, as well as learning, experience. Some of the services provided on campus are the Office of Career Services & Cooperative Education, the Student Health Center, Public Safety, The RIT Libraries, Information and Technology Services (ITS), Counseling Center, and Margaret’s House Child Care Program. Also included on campus are laundry facilities, dining halls, retail food stores, ice cream shop, cafes, a hair salon, bookstore, interfaith center, athletic facilities, medical facility, and computer centers. There is transportation provided across the campus during most hours. All students are permitted to have their own automobiles. A shuttle bus service is provided at set hours between the campus and the local shopping areas and downtown Rochester. The campus is also served by taxis, ride sharing services, and the regional public bus service.

Campus Housing

Rochester Institute of Technology is located on 1300 acres in the Town of Henrietta, which is a suburb about 5 miles southwest of the City of Rochester.  Over 7,000 students live in RIT owned and operated apartments and residence halls.  Transportation around campus is provided.  Questions about living at RIT can be addressed to RIT Housing (585-475-2572, 

Residence Halls

Approximately 3,500 students live in residence halls on the RIT campus.  Entering freshmen are required to live in the residence halls for a full academic year and limited residence hall housing is available for transfer students.  If you have been admitted for study as a freshman or transfer undergraduate student, information describing the residence halls can be found online.  Residence halls are furnished, but you will still need your own bedding and towels.

Once your tuition deposit is paid or waived, you will have access to the RIT housing contract online.  The online housing contract should be completed by early May for those beginning their studies in the fall, and by December for the spring semester.  For students beginning in the fall, you will be able to choose a roommate, building and a room online.  Students must submit the Enrollment Deposit in order to apply for campus housing.    


Entering international transfer students may live in RIT housing or off-campus housing.  Almost 4,000 students live on-campus in: Global Village, Perkins Green, Riverknoll, and University Commons. Each has different features and options, so refer to information found online when making your selections. Transfer students are assigned RIT housing on a space-available basis, prioritized by the receive date of the enrollment deposit and the receive date of the housing contract. 

RIT housing offers single to multiple occupancy suites, apartments, and townhouses, at an affordable value with all utilities and amenities included. Global Village, Perkins Green, and University Commons are fully furnished. Riverknoll is unfurnished, so plan to bring something to sleep on for your first night. All apartments and suites with a kitchen include a refrigerator, stove, sink, and cupboards. Amenities include – wireless internet, Ethernet, live-streaming TigerTV which includes Showtime, free laundry facilities, and much more. 

RIT Inn & Conference Center

Approximately 240 upperclass students live in the RIT Inn & Conference Center.  Formerly a Marriott hotel, accommodations here include fully furnished rooms, air conditioning, pool, exercise room, cable television and live-streaming TV, free laundry facility, free bi-weekly housekeeping, and a full service restaurant.  Free shuttle service is provided to the RIT campus.  You will need to provide your own bed linens and towels. Students must submit the Enrollment Deposit in order to apply for campus housing. 

International Student Services

The office on campus responsible for the encouragement, coordination, and administration of international activities on campus is the International Student Services Office. It is located within the Student Alumni Union. It is RIT’s focal point for international information, services, programs, and activities. Many activities and programs are planned to include U.S. citizens and international students, so they can share their rich cultural heritage.

RIT Dining

RIT operates over 15 on-campus locations and offers a wide variety of cuisines, including healthy, vegetarian and special diet, traditional, and international food options, to meet every student’s needs. Our meal plans are flexible, cost-efficient, and convenient. Students living in the residence halls must join a meal plan for the residential dining hall, Gracie’s. More information can be found online.

Transfer students living in the RIT Inn and Conference Center are required to purchase a meal plan, and students living in the apartments may choose to do the same. Students may also open a Food Debit Account to be used in any of the Food Service areas. You may deposit any amount of money into your debit account. No minimum balance is required. When using your Food Debit Account to pay for food in any of the food service dining areas, you will receive an 8% savings off your total purchase. Any money deposited into your debit account will roll over from term to term until the end of the school year.

TigerBucks differ from Food Debit in that TigerBucks allow students to purchase goods and services at participating locations not restricted to RIT Dining areas. For example, you may use TigerBucks for purchases at all RIT Dining areas, vending machines, the library, the Barnes & Noble campus bookstore, select local restaurants, and game rooms, to name only a few. 

Public Safety

Security on campus is provided by Public Safety, although each individual is ultimately responsible for their personal safety.  The safety of students and their belongings is a top priority.  The campus and its buildings are patrolled regularly, and a Mobile Escort van and walking escort service are available 7 days a week and are provided for students who wish to be accompanied from one part of campus to another.  Blue-light courtesy boxes are located throughout the campus and a TigerSafe mobile app is also available.  The campus prides itself on its safety, and the record of incidents against persons or property is very favorable.  Information and statistics about Public Safety can be obtained online.

Student Health Services

The Student Health Center provides primary medical care on an outpatient basis. The staff includes physicians, nurse practitioners, a physician assistant, nurses, support staff and an interpreter for the deaf. Services available include: general medical diagnosis and treatment, immunizations, sexual health services, basic laboratory tests, mental health care, prescriptions, and lifestyle counseling. 

Health Insurance

RIT requires that full-time undergraduate students maintain health insurance. Coverage is available through the RIT group rate insurance plan. The estimated annual rate for health insurance for the academic year is approximately $1,850. 

English Language Center

Students whose native language is not English can find assistance at the English Language Center. The English Language Center provides courses in writing, grammar, vocabulary, conversation, and reading, as well as in presentation skills, pronunciation and business communication. Tuition is charged for the services of the English Language Center. For more information, call (585) 475-6684 or visit their website

Athletics and Recreation

Your RIT student ID card provides you with access to the Hale-Andrews Student Life Center. The Student Life Center features top quality equipment and athletic facilities, such as multipurpose courts, weight room, indoor tracks, racquetball courts, tennis courts and more! For more information, visit their website

RIT Libraries

The RIT Libraries includes the Wallace Library, the Cary Collec­tion, the RIT Archive Collections, and the RIT museum as well as the Writing Commons and the RIT American Sign Language and Deaf Studies Community Center.

Wallace Library is a high technology, multimedia resource center. It offers hundreds of databases and thousands of electronic books and journals, as well as traditional printed resources. Online resourc­es can be accessed onsite, or around the clock from any location. There are two open computer labs equipped with Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, and more and laptops are available for loan. Wallace Library is open more than 120 hours a week, with 24/7 hours during finals week.

Student Computer Account and Information & Technology Services

You will receive an account activation email from RIT when your enrollment deposit has been received and posted to our system. Please allow 1-2 business days for deposit payment processing. The account activation email will go to the email address supplied on your admissions application. If after two business days you have not received the account activation email but HAVE paid your deposit, please contact the ITS Service Desk for assistance. Please note that this is different than the RIT Admissions account that you used during the application process. You will use your new RIT computer account login to complete other enrollment processes including housing contracts, student health forms, and going forward as an RIT student.

 Once you have created your RIT computer account AND your Acceptance of Admission Deposit has been received and processed, your RIT student Gmail account becomes active. At this time your RIT student Gmail account will become your preferred email address in our system. It is your responsibility to check your RIT student Gmail account on a regular basis. Communication sent to RIT student Gmail accounts will include information from New Student Orientation, Student Financial Services, Housing Operations, Financial Aid & Scholarships, and academic departments.

RIT has partnered with Google to provide RIT Gmail accounts for all students*. To access your RIT Gmail account, visit the home for Google Apps at RIT. Additionally, you can set e-mail preferences online. Your RIT Gmail can also be forwarded to your preferred email account.

*Students from China – you may not be able to access your RIT email account since it is driven by Google.  If this is the case, it is important that you follow the instructions below to forward email from your RIT account to another email account you use.

  • Navigate to and click the Mail Preferences link on the left.
  • You will be prompted to log in using your RIT computer account.
  • Under the Mail Forwarding option, click the other radio button and provide the full email address that you want the mail to go to.
  • Save by selecting Change my Email Settings 


Student Information System (SIS)

The Student Information System, or SIS, provides a convenient method for students to register for courses and obtain information from the Registrar and Student Financial Services. SIS is a menu driven system which uses on-screen prompts to allow you to access the function you desire and navigate through the various options. Once you have a RIT student computer account you can access SIS via:

Getting your Student ID

The RIT student ID is a picture ID, your RIT library card and your access to campus facilities. You will need your RIT student ID for student rates for tickets to special campus events, to obtain an on-campus parking permit, or to use Tiger Bucks. Students may upload their own photo for their student ID.  You can have a photo taken and obtain your RIT student ID once you arrive on campus at the Office of the Registrar on the first floor of the George Eastman Hall. Hours of operation are posted on the Registrar website. For more information, phone the Registrar at 585-475-2821 or email 

Vehicle Registration and Parking

All vehicles operated on campus must be registered and must display an RIT parking hangtag. Both a valid RIT ID and a state car registration (or a copy) are required to register your vehicle. You may register your vehicle online or by going to the Parking & Transportation Office in Grace Watson Hall. When you register your vehicle, you will receive a campus map that shows the locations of the courtesy call boxes, parking regulations, and other important information. 

Textbooks, Supplies and Computer Equipment

The Barnes & Noble @ RIT Bookstore is the place to buy textbooks and any educational materials you may need for your courses. You can make your course material purchases online or in-person. The Barnes & Noble @ RIT Bookstore is located at 100 Park Point Drive, adjacent to the campus. Hours of operation are listed on their website. As an RIT student, you may also purchase computer equipment and software at discount rates. For more information call the Barnes & Noble @ RIT Bookstore at 585-475-2501. 


MyCourses is the campus-wide course management system now in use at RIT. Every RIT course has a myCourses presence. This web-based application enables instructors to enhance their on-campus courses with online features. In addition, many online course instructors employ myCourses to deliver their courses. Students login to myCourses with their RIT account. More information and help on how to use myCourses can be found online.


Full-time international students are considered for scholarships and financial aid during the admission review process. If you have been awarded a scholarship, notification is available through your admissions online account, and the amount of your award is also shown on your I-20.  Freshman and Transfer students may apply for need-based assistance. To apply, you must complete the College Board International Student Financial Aid Application (ISFAA) and submit to RIT.  

Other Sources of Financial Assistance for International Students

  1. Alternative educational loans: Alternative educational loans are private loans offered through banks to supplement financial aid awards. RIT is required to certify these loans to ensure that the loan amount does not exceed the cost of attendance less all other financial aid. Most alternative loans are disbursed equally into student accounts according to enrollment plans. If you decide that an alternative loan is right for you, you may borrow from any lender that you choose. When choosing a lender for an alternative loan, you may wish to consider the following factors:
    • Citizenship status required by the lender, for both the borrower and the co-signer
    • Loan costs (interest rates and fees)
    • Borrower benefits and discounts
    • Customer service

    RIT does not recommend or endorse particular lenders. We encourage students to review all of the options and loan terms and conditions very carefully first.

  2. Student Employment: Full-time, matriculated international students (12 or more credits or full-time equivalents) may hold part-time jobs on campus. Students may apply for campus jobs through the Student Employment Office website or apply directly to campus employers such as RIT Dining. Students may work up to 20 hours per week and must apply for a U.S. Social Security number immediately after being hired. There may be an opportunity to apply for a Social Security number during International Orientation (if you have already obtained on-campus employment), or you may apply directly to the Social Security Administration at 100 Chestnut Street in Rochester. U.S. income taxes may be due on these earnings and will be determined by the RIT Payroll Office. Students on F-1 or J-1 visas are not allowed to work off-campus without the permission of the International Student Program Coordinator or the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.

RIT Undergraduate Programs

Rochester Global Connections – A non-profit organization committed to enriching the lives of international students studying in the Rochester area (585-275-8779).

Cost of Attendance - Information on tuition, fees, and other costs.

International Student Services 585-475-6943
Barnes & Noble @ RIT Bookstore 585-475-2501
English Language Center 585-475-6684
Student Financial Services 585-475-6186
Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships 585-475-2186
Housing Operations 585-475-2572
Information and Technology Services Desk 585-475-4357
Office of the Registrar 585-475-2821
Public Safety



(for emergencies)

Office of Student Employment 585-475-2631
Student Health Center 585-475-2255
Office of Undergraduate Admissions 585-475-6631
Wallace Center 585-475-2551