Frequently Asked Questions for International Families

It is recognized that international families may face additional challenges when sending their student to Purdue University. The below information is to help navigate many of the new experiences that may come with sending your student oversees. In addition to the resources listed below, additional resources are available to students through the International Students & Scholars website, Please visit the International Students & Scholars website for the most up-to-date information.

Who can my student contact with questions?

The International Student and Scholars (ISS) office helps students navigate visa and immigration issues, federal laws and regulations, and more. Visit the ISS website for more information about ISS programs and services. Additionally, the Office of the Dean of Students can assist your student with general questions about the campus and community.

As a parent, who can I contact with questions?

The Parent & Family Connections office works with parents and family members by providing information, resources, tools, and services. The office serves as a central point of contact and can help to navigate various situations your student may encounter. Please do not hesitate to contact our office at 765-496-0524 or

How does my student maintain full-time enrollment?

F-1 and J-1 undergraduate students need to complete a minimum of 12 credit or research hours every fall and spring semester. No more than 3 credit hours of “online” or digital delivery coursework may count towards the minimum full-time enrollment during any semester. On average, students take 12 to 18 credit hours per semester. If your student has questions about their enrollment status or to see the most up-to-date regulations, please visit the International Student & Scholars website

What can my student expect in the classroom?

American classrooms can be very different than previous experiences of international students. Some instructors keep a more formal classroom setting as where other instructors allow a casual environment. American students often dress casually and may bring drinks or snacks to class. Students are often expected to contribute in the classroom setting and can often be evaluated on their participation in class. It is not disrespectful to question or engage your instructor, but rather it can be considered a sign of interest and original thought. The best thing a student can do is observe their setting and adapt to the degree in which your student feels comfortable. It is important for students to familiarize themselves with the Academic Integrity ( guidelines at Purdue. All forms of cheating, plagiarism, and fraud are taken seriously by Purdue University. If your student has questions about what constitutes academic misconduct, encourage your student to speak with professors, teaching assistants, or the staff at the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities.

How will my student have access to health care/insurance? 

International students are required to purchase student health insurance or obtain a waiver by supplying proof of appropriate coverage. More information and instructions on how to enroll can be found on the Purdue University Student Health Center’s (PUSH) website

How can my student improve English skills?

ENGL 10600 is the standard composition course for first-year students. It is recognized that non-native English speakers may struggle with this course therefore some sections of English 106 that have been designed carefully to meet the unique cultural and linguistically needs of second-language writers. Students can speak with their Academic Advisor about getting into these sections of English 106. 

The Purdue Writing Lab hosts one-on-one consultations to help students review papers and obtain feedback on various writing assignments. Students can schedule an appointment to meet with a tutor by visiting

Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) offer many resources to help students navigate everything from grammar to citing sources. The OWL also has resources specifically for those who have learned English as a second language:

What is the weather like in West Lafayette, Indiana?

The climate in West Lafayette varies from season to season and even sometimes in the same day. During the summer (May – September), temperatures average around 26.7⁰ Celsius (80⁰ Fahrenheit) during the day. In the winter months (December – March), the average high is 4.4⁰ C (40⁰ F) with the evenings averaging a low of -4⁰ C (24⁰ F).

I am planning to visit Purdue. What are my transportation options? 

The Purdue campus is accessible from the Indianapolis (IND) and Chicago O’Hare International (ORD) airports. The Purdue University Airport is less than one mile from campus and is available for private planes, but it does not currently serve commercial airlines. Shuttle services is available from both airports as well as options to rent a car, travel by train or bus. Specific information for each airport can be found on the Visitor’s Information page.

I want to learn more about West Lafayette. Where can I learn more? 

The Lafayette - West Lafayette Visitor Bureau is a great resource to learn more about the West Lafayette community. Check out information on where to stay, events in the community, and more at

Where can my student find scholarship information?

Due to a citizenship requirement, international student often do not qualify for a large number of scholarship or grant opportunities. However, there are still opportunities out there for international student to receive aid money. Students should note that any aid received is taxable by Internal Revenue Service and students will need to file a tax return.

How does a student obtain a Social Security Number?

Social Security numbers (SSN) are generally assigned to people authorized to work in the U.S. Your student will need to obtain an F-1/J-1 Social Security Number Request Form from their employer and take it to ISS for signatures. Be sure your student also takes their I-20 or DS-2019, passport, visa, and job offer letter to Schleman Hall (SHCL), room 136. Please visit for the most up-to-date information. 

I am planning to visit the U.S. and need a tourist visa. How does my student obtain an invitation letter?

Invitation letters are not required to apply for a visitor visa to the United States (U.S.). A letter can be written by the student, in English, and addressed to the individual(s) they are inviting to the U.S. The letter should state the purpose of the visit, how long the visitor will stay in the U.S., and what accommodations the student will provide for guests. A copy of the student’s I-20 or DS-2019 and a certification of enrollment will also be required. Please contact International Students and Scholars (ISS) for assistance. ISS can be reached at or 765-494-5770. 

For commencement only, the Office of the Registrar will provide invitation letters. Please have your student visit

Other than International Students and Scholars (ISS), what are some resources specifically for international students?

Purdue University has five cultural centers on campus that help prepare students to thrive in a global environment. These cultural centers not only help to introduce students to new cultures, but also serve as a support system to students. The cultural centers include:

Asian American and Asian Resource and Cultural Center:

Black Cultural Center:

Latino Cultural Center:

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Center:

Native American Educational and Cultural Center:

Purdue has over 900 student organizations on campus. Several student organizations help connect students culturally. To check out these student organizations please visit

What is the best way to make a tuition payment?

The Office of the Bursar oversees tuition payments and offers multiple avenues to pay tuition. Purdue partners with Western Union Business Solutions for wire transfers, but students can also pay tuition through several other avenues. To see a list of payment options, please visit the Office of the Bursar’s website. Please note, Purdue is not a financial institution and payments to the University should be made in the amount due. Overpayment may result in the excess funds being applies to upcoming semesters or the payment will be returned to the sender.

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