Health and Wellness
Your health and wellness are very important components to your life at Clark. Clark provides a variety of resources to support its students, faculty, and employees.
The health care system in the United States might be very different than in your home country, so we encourage you to read through this section carefully and to reach out to the International Center with any questions or concerns.
In addition, health insurance is expensive and is especially complicated in the U.S. We encourage you to read more about health insurance requirements.
- If you are on campus and experience a medical emergency, you should contact Clark University Police at 508-793-7575. They will be able to respond to you the quickest and can contact emergency medical services.
- If you are anywhere off campus, you should call 9-1-1 for all emergencies. A 9-1-1 operator will assist you and, if necessary, call an ambulance to take you to a local hospital.
- It is important to know that in the U.S., emergency medical services and visits to a hospital emergency department are quite expensive and should be used only for serious medical situations.
- For routine, non-emergency health care, you should arrange an appointment at Clark’s Office of Health Services, an urgent care center, or your primary care physician.
Clark’s Office of Health Services, which is located at 501 Park Ave. on the corner of Maywood and Park, is an out-patient clinic and is a good starting place for any non-emergency health issues for all of Clark’s students.
Clark University’s matriculated (which means all degree-seeking) undergraduate students may use Clark’s Health Services at no cost to them.
Clark’s graduate students and students attending the American Language and Culture Institute (ALCI) or other non-degree programs may use Health Services on a fee-for-service basis. A fee-for-service means that there is a copay that is billed to students. The copay amount depends on the type of care received at Health Services.
If you need to see a medical provider at Health Services, you should call Health Services at 1-508-793-7467 to make an appointment before arriving.
When Clark’s Health Services is not open, phone advice is provided through UMass Memorial Hahnemann Family Health Center. If you have a non-emergency health issue that cannot wait until the Health Center reopens, you should call Hahnemann Family Health Center’s answering service at 1-508-334-8830. Identify yourself as a Clark student and leave your name and telephone number with the answering service, and the on-call physician will return your call in approximately one hour. The medical provider will ask you some questions and advise a plan of care.
If you are referred to an urgent care or emergency room for a medical evaluation, you are responsible for payment. Make sure you provide your health insurance information upon arrival at the urgent care or emergency room. The facility usually will bill your health insurance company, but you are responsible for any copay or remaining balance.
It is important to check with the urgent care center to make sure your insurance is accepted before you choose which facility you visit.
Clark provides many different health and wellness programs for it students, faculty, and staff. Learn more here.
Social Security Number (SSN)
A Social Security Number (SSN) is a nine-digit number issued for tax reasons by the U.S. Social Security Administration. Employers use Social Security Numbers to report salaries to the U.S. Government for tax purposes. Social Security Numbers are also used for a variety of other purposes, such as to check credit history.
COVID Update: Offices Closed
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all Social Security Administration (SSA) offices are closed to walk-ins in Massachusetts.
If you are eligible to apply for a Social Security Number, submit an application and the SSA will contact you to schedule an appointment for you to go in person to process your application.
Students, Faculty, and Staff
As an international student, scholar, or employee who is physically in the U.S., you are only eligible to apply for a Social Security Number if you have been authorized to work in the United States and you are in immigration valid status. You can apply for a Social Security Number only if you are a:
- F-1 student with on-campus employment, Curricular Practical Training (CPT) authorization, or who has an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card for Optional Practical Training (OPT) or other type of F-1 employment.
- J-1 student with an on-campus employment authorization or Academic Training.
- J-1 research scholar, professor, or short-term scholar who is paid by Clark.
- Employee in H-1 or O-1 status.
F-1 and J-1 students must have employment authorization from the ISSO prior to applying.
- F-2 dependents cannot apply for Social Security Numbers because they are not eligible to work.
- J-2 or H-4 dependents are eligible to work only if they have an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card issued by USCIS.
- Dependents can apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) if they do not have work authorization.
Yes! Your Social Security Number is a personal identification number that is unique to you, and it can be used to open bank accounts and loans. This means that you should only provide your SSN for valid business, employment, or tax reasons. If you are concerned that someone is asking you for your SSN when they should not be, please contact the International Center for assistance.
- Before you apply for a Social Security Number, you need to gather your documents including
- An employment letter from your Clark department or your ISSO off-campus work authorization
- For F-1 and J-1 students: Letter of support from the ISSO
- To request the letter from the ISSO, submit a Letter Request on the ISSO Portal.
- Completed Application form SS-5
- Your unexpired passport
- Your visa document (Form I-20 for F-1 students, Form DS-2019 for J-1 Exchange Visitors, Form I-797 for H-1 or O-1)
- Students should fax or mail copies of the documents listed above to the Social Security Administration Office. You should not mail original documents because you will need to bring these with you to your processing appointment.
- Once the Social Security Administration Office receives and reviews the application and supporting documents, you will receive a call to schedule an appointment. You will need to bring your original documents to the appointment. It may take up to two weeks to receive the phone call to schedule the appointment.
- As of February 2021, the SSA is scheduling appointments and not accepting walk-in appointments.
- The office locator is here, but the closest office to Clark is the Worcester Social Security Administration (SSA) Office:
Worcester Social Security Office
51 Myrtle Street
Worcester, MA 01608
- Students in F-1 status need a continued attendance I-20 before you can apply for a Social Security Number.
- You will receive your Continued Attendance I-20 after your submitted Immigration Check-In is processed.
- If you are a new student, it is recommended that you wait seven to 10 days after you receive your updated Continued Attendance I-20 before applying for your Social Security Number to allow for your immigration information to be updated in government databases.
J-1 Students or Scholars
- Students and scholars in J-1 status must also submit their Immigration Check-In and receive an updated DS-2019 prior to applying for a Social Security Number.
- New students and scholars should also wait seven to 10 days before applying.
New H-1B or O-1 Employees
Clark faculty, researchers, or employees should apply as soon as possible after arriving in Worcester and starting employment at the University.
- It may take three to four weeks to process your application. If approved, you will receive a Social Security Card containing your Social Security Number at the U.S. mailing address you provided in your application.
- Note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, processing times for Social Security Cards may take longer than normal.
- Once you have your Social Security Number, you need to provide it to the University so that Clark can update your information with payroll and report your salary and tax information to the U.S. government.
- Individual Taxpayer ID Numbers (ITIN) is a number that is issued by the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. government agency that oversees taxation.
- They are for individuals who may have taxable income but are not working in the U.S and are not authorized to receive a Social Security Number.
- Students and scholars who are not working but who have taxable U.S. income, such as taxable scholarships, should apply for an ITIN.
- You will need to gather the following documents to submit an ITIN application:
- Please visit the IRS website for the most up-to-date information on where and how to submit your ITIN application.
- Contact the ISSO if you believe you might need an ITIN before applying to confirm if it is necessary.
As an international student, scholar, or employee at Clark, you may have federal and state tax reporting obligations. Tax laws are complicated and the International Center is not authorized to provide any tax advice. However, we hope the information and links provided below are helpful.
- The U.S. tax system is based on a calendar year (Jan. 1 to Dec. 31). This means that the income you earn during this time period is used to calculate the amount owed in taxes for that year.
- U.S. income taxes are calculated at both the U.S. federal (national) level as well as the state and sometimes even the local (city) level. There are different tax rules and different tax rates for federal, state, and local income taxes.
- The U.S. has a “pay as you go” tax system. This means that taxes are usually taken out or “withheld” from your pay each pay period. Then, you submit a tax return by April 15 of the following year to determine whether you paid too much or too little tax during the year. If you have paid too much, you will get a refund. If you have paid too little, you will need to pay the difference between what you had withheld and what you owe in taxes.
- In U.S. federal tax laws, being categorized a resident or non-residents has several effects on taxes. Tax residency is used to determine the amount you are taxed, your tax treaty benefits, and the kind of tax forms you need to submit.
- Under U.S. tax law, all U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents are considered residents for tax purposes.
- Most students in F and J status are considered tax non-residents during their first five calendar years in F or J student status.
- J-1 scholars are considered non-residents for the first two calendar years in the U.S.
- For more information about determining your tax residency status, please visit the IRS website where there is information in multiple languages.
- You may find IRS Publication 519 helpful, which is a tax guide for non-residents published by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.
- Tax residents and tax non-residents can take advantage of different benefits and claim different deductions (deductions reduce the amount of income tax you owe) based on a tax treaty.
- A tax treaty is an agreement between the U.S. and another country that allows for residents of the foreign country to be taxed at a reduced rate or be exempt from U.S. income taxes. It is important to note that not every country has a tax treaty with the U.S., and the terms of each treaty are different and can change year to year. A full detailed list of current tax treaties between the U.S. and other countries can be found in IRS Publication 901 — U.S. Tax Treaties.
- If you are working at Clark, you can request that your treaty benefits be applied at the time of tax withholding (see next section on Tax Withholding) or your annual tax filing (see section on Annual Tax Filing). You must have a valid Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) when requesting your tax treaty benefits (see Social Security Numbers and ITINs).
- Clark uses a software that helps determine if a student is eligible to take advantage of a tax treaty. If you receive a taxable award (funds above tuition) or are employed at Clark, you will receive a link to complete a “FNIS” form online. Please make sure you complete this form immediately so that a determination can be made and your withholding amount adjusted accordingly. You will need to update your FNIS form each year you are at Clark.
- Tax withholding is when you have taxes taken from your earnings by the entity providing you with U.S. income, and the entity sends it to the IRS and state tax agencies, if applicable, on your behalf. In addition to employment, certain other types of income-generating activities like stipends and prizes and awards may be subject to tax withholding.
- The amount of income that is withheld for tax depends on your tax residency and your estimated yearly tax obligation. In addition, some tax non-residents may have tax treaty benefits (see above) that will affect the overall rate (percentage) that is withheld.
- Clark Employees: If you are an employee, you will submit your withholding forms to Human Resources as part of the hiring process. If you ever need to change your withholding, you should contact Human Resources.
When you start employment, you may be required to complete forms that tell your employer how much tax to withhold from your salary. For non-residents, these include:
- IRS Form W-4 withholding allowance certificate filed with employer (including special instructions for nonresident aliens).
- IRS Form 8233 to request exemption or reduced withholding based on tax treaty benefits and accompanying Tax Treaty Statement (from IRS Publication 519 Appendix A for students and Appendix B for professors/teachers).
If you are an undergraduate student with an on-campus employment position and have questions regarding your Form W-4 and other IRS forms, please contact Student Employment.
If you are a graduate student with an on-campus employment position or an international Clark employee and have questions regarding your Form W-4 or other IRS forms, please contact the Payroll Office.
All international students and scholars are required to file some kind of tax return to the U.S. government. Even if you did not receive any income, you are still required to complete and submit Form 8843.
It is important to understand that filing a tax return does not necessarily mean that you will owe taxes. In fact, you may receive a refund if the amount that was withheld from your pay was more than your tax obligation.
If you have earned less than $8,000 gross during the tax year, you do not need to file a Massachusetts state tax return. However, if you did work and taxes were withheld, you could receive a refund and therefore filing a return would be beneficial to you.
Obtaining Your W-2 Form
A W-2 is a tax form that you need in order to file your tax returns if you worked in the U.S. during the tax year.
If you worked for Clark and elected to receive your W-2 electronically, tax year 2020 W-2s are now available for viewing/printing on CUWeb.
Follow these instructions:
- Log in to CUWeb.
- Click Main Menu on left side of screen, then click Employment Information.
- Click Tax Forms then click W-2 Year End Earnings Statement. Choose Tax Year 2020.
- Click Display then click Printable W-2 (bottom of the screen). Enter your Clark password to see your W-2.
What is Sprintax?
The International Center has purchased a license for a tax preparation software specifically designed for international students and scholars who are non-residents for tax purposes. Clark students and scholars are able to use Sprintax free of charge to file their federal tax returns. You can also use this software to file your Massachusetts taxes but will have to pay a fee directly to Sprintax for that service.
To assist with the 2020 tax filing season, Sprintax is offering a series of free webinars that are available to Clark students and scholars.
- Thursday, March 4, 2 p.m. EST: Register now
- Monday, March 15, 11 a.m. EST: Register now
- Tuesday, March 30, 1:30 p.m. EST: Register now
- Wednesday, April 7, 2 p.m. EST: Register now
- Monday, April 12, noon EST: Register now
How to Use Sprintax
- Obtain a Sprintax code from the International Center if you have not yet received one.
- Register on Sprintax website and follow the simple instructions.
- Complete the online questionnaire
- Enter your unique code which you received by email.
- Sprintax will prepare your tax return — if you have any questions, the Sprintax team will be happy to help via its 24/7 live chat facility.
Contact Information and Additional Resources from Sprintax
If you need help while using Sprintax, contact them:
Sprintax also provides helpful educational resources
Clark University is an undergraduate residential campus and requires first- and second-year students to live in one of Clark’s residence halls. Living on campus is a key part of your educational experience. Visit the Office of Residential Life and Housing for more information about living on campus.
How to Find an Apartment
There are many options for living off campus in Worcester. There are many apartments within walking distance of campus and others that are a short ride away. It all depends on what type of living situation you are looking for.
The process of searching for an apartment in the U.S. may be different than in your home country. We have created a guide to help you!
International students, scholars, and employees may apply to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) for a Massachusetts driver’s permit, license, or Massachusetts ID card.
The process, in general, to obtain your Massachusetts’ driver’s license is:
- Start an online application for a learner’s permit.
- Study for the written permit test by reviewing the Driver’s Manual.
- Go to a RMV Service Center with your required identification documents (see below for list of documents).
- Upon passing your exam, you will get your learner’s permit and and you can begin to practice driving in the U.S.
- Schedule your road test with the RMV.
- Pass your road test and pay your license fees.
- Obtain your license! (Your permit may act as your temporary license until you receive your actual driver’s license.)
Note: If you do not already know how to drive, you may want to take lessons. Here are a few driving schools in the area.
- Central Mass. Safety Council
- LaPortes Driving School
- Richways Auto School LLC
- Best Driving School Inc.
Massachusetts state law requires that all applicants are eligible to stay in the United States for at least 12 months from the date of application. Students, scholars, and their dependents who are here less than one year are not eligible for a Massachusetts driver’s license.
The International Center recommends the following timelines for students considering OPT and who may want the option to drive to their job:
- Undergraduates planning to obtain OPT after graduation should apply for a driver’s license by the end of their junior year.
- Graduate students who are here for a two-year program and plan to apply for OPT should apply for their license by the end of their first year.
When you do go to the RMV to complete your permit and license application, you need to bring the following documents with you. It is best to bring multiple copies of each document with you to the RMV.
- Valid passport with unexpired visa
- Unexpired immigration document showing valid status for at least 12 months, such as
- A Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 (for F-1 / J-1 visa holders)
- I-797 Approval Notice (for H-1B and O-1 visa holders)
- Most recent I-94
- Proof of Massachusetts residence (e.g., a copy of a bill or lease document with your name and address, if you live on campus)
- Social Security Card or a denial letter from the Social Security Administration. If you are not eligible for a Social Security Number but want to apply for a driver’s license, you need to apply for a Social Security Number so that you get a denial letter.
For a complete list of identification requirements, go to the RMV’s Massachusetts Identification Requirements page.
Effective July 2018, Massachusetts Law was changed to allow licensed drivers from any country to operate registered motor vehicles in Massachusetts. Read complete details.
If your foreign driver’s license is not in English or does not contain an English translation, you must obtain and carry either a valid International Driving Permit or a translation into English alternative document that properly identifies the license holder and translates the relevant license information into English. This document can be found on Mass.gov/RMV in the “Learner’s permit, driver’s license and ID card forms” section.
An International Driving Permit (IDP) does not allow you to drive legally in the U.S. by itself; you must also carry a foreign license along with your IDP.
Some foreign licenses may be converted into a Massachusetts driver’s license without a written test or road test. For more information, go to the RMV web site.
Owning a car in the U.S. is very expensive. It is recommended that you not purchase a car unless you plan to live in Massachusetts for an extended period of time or if you do not have convenient public transportation options. If you do purchase and own a car, you need to keep in mind the following information:
- You are required to have car insurance.
- You are required to register your car with the State of Massachusetts and pay annual registration fees.
- Your car must be inspected every year and an inspection sticker must be placed on your car’s windshield.
- You must pay local car (excise) taxes. These are taxes that you pay to your city or town of residence. The Registry of Motor Vehicles will inform your city or town of residence when you register a car and they will send you a bill for the excise taxes.
- You may have potential car repairs.
- Purchasing snow tires and driving safely in snowy and wintery conditions (this is especially important in and around Worcester) is highly recommended.
- When driving in Worcester and in the surrounding area, there is often traffic.
- Understanding the rules of the road is essential for being a safe driver. It is also important to know that each state has its own driving rules, so if you are going to one of the surrounding states, it is important for you to research and know the driving rules.
- There are parking restrictions on the streets around Clark and if you park somewhere that is restricted, you may get a parking ticket with a fine or your car can be towed. If your car is towed, you will have to pay money to the company that towed your car and this can be very expensive.
- Clark has on-campus parking that you can purchase. For more information visit the Campus Parking and Permits.
To learn more about buying and owning a car in the U.S., consult this useful resource.
It is extremely important for international students, scholars, and employees to understand and follow all requirements for driving responsibly while in the U.S. You should be especially aware of the consequences of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or other drugs. A DUI arrest or conviction may lead to revocation of your visa as well as other extremely serious legal consequences. If you are subject to arrest or conviction due for driving under the influence or as a result of another serious driving violation, we encourage you to consult with the International Students and Scholars Office and a qualified immigration and/or criminal attorney to assist you.
Safety and Conduct
Clark is committed to providing all of its members with a safe campus. If you want to discuss a safety concern, Clark University Police Department should be your first point of contact.
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times. In particular, do not allow yourself to be distracted by your cell phone.
- Try to travel, especially at night, with others.
- If working or studying late, arrange to leave with a friend or use Clark’s Student Safety Escort Services.
- If traveling alone at night, tell a friend or roommate where you are, where you are going, and your expected arrival time.
- Familiarize yourself with campus emergency “blue light” boxes (E-boxes) which will put you in touch with a Clark University PD officer quickly.
- Guard your personal property, including laptops, cell phones, wallets, backpacks, and bicycles.
- Take care not to drink excessively, and never drive or operate a motor vehicle if you have consumed alcohol.
- More safety tips can be found here.
Clark is committed to providing an environment free of harassment, misconduct, and discrimination. It is also dedicated to being a community dedicated to learning as well as the intellectual, personal, and social development of all of its members. For more details regarding this, visit the Dean of Students Office.
All Clark students are bound by the Student Code of Conduct, which outlines the standards of behavior that support the educational mission of the University. If you have any questions about anything in the Student Code of Conduct, please feel free to contact the International Center.
If you wish to report a concern regarding harassment, misconduct, or discrimination, we encourage you to take advantage of different resources available to you.
- Clark University is committed to providing a campus environment where all students, staff, and faculty are safe from sexual violence, harassment, and discrimination. A strong Clark community is one where all people engage in relationships based on mutual care and respect. Visit Clark University’s Office of Title IX for more information.
- The Bias Incident Intervention Team responds to reports of bias and/or hate. To learn more about Clark’s Bias Incident Response Protocol, visit its website.
We further encourage you reach out to an International Center staff member about any concerns you may have about your experiences as an international student, scholar, or employee at Clark.
Scams and Identity Theft
Scams are essentially when there is an attempt to convince someone to pay money or give up other valuable items using deception and fraud. Scams are illegal, happen every day, and can lead to losses of large sums of money.
There are many different types of scams. Common scams and examples include:
- Scams involving immigration and visa documents: Pay money or your visa will be revoked.
- Tax scams: You owe a large tax bill that you need to pay immediately.
- Social Security scams: We can get you a social security number of you pay $10,000.
- Apartment scams: You can live in this apartment (that doesn’t exist) if you pay me $5,000.
Scammers also use different methods to deceive their victims. Scams can happen by telephone, email, and mail. For international students and scholars, telephone scams are among the most common. Many telephone scams have the following features:
- Someone calls you and pretends to be a government officer including the police, tax agent, Social Security official, or immigration official.
- The call seems very “real.” The call may look like it is from a government office and they may know a lot about you.
- The person tells you that you broke the law, owe taxes, lost your immigration status, or missed an important legal deadline.
- The caller demands that you pay a large fine immediately or face arrest, jail, or deportation.
- The caller insists that you act immediately and insists that you do not have time to contact your school, the International Center, or a lawyer, because they are “coming right now to arrest you.”
- The caller demands payment through unusual means, such as asking you to purchase gift cards, Bitcoin, or send money by Western Union.
Recently, scams have started to have people pretending to be an official from your home country’s government. If you get a call from someone who says that they work in your home government, always ask for a number to call back and call your consulate or embassy to confirm.
- Never give out personal information, including your address, Social Security Number, or credit card or banking information over the phone or over email.
- Ask the caller to meet you at the International Center or the local police station. If they refuse or hang up, it’s a scam.
- Ask the caller for their name, badge number, and a phone number to call them back.
- If it feels like you are receiving a strange demand over the phone, email, or in person, disconnect the call and call the International Center or the Clark University Police Department at 1-508-793-7575. You do not need to respond immediately to their request.
- In all cases, if you receive a demand that seems surprising, shocking, and unexpected, it is likely a scam. Hang up and contact the International Center or Clark University Police at 1-508-793-7575.
Quick Tip: The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Social Security Administration (SSA) will never call you directly about tax or Social Security matters. While it is possible you might be contacted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security or by the FBI, these direct contacts are extremely rare and will never lead to a demand for money. Always get the caller’s information and arrange to meet them at school. Contact the International Center and/or the Clark University Police Department to assist you.
Identity theft and “phishing” scams use email, text, and other techniques to steal your personal information. This information can include your name, date of birth, Social Security Number, address, credit card or bank account numbers, and other information. With this information, identity thieves can open credit cards or accounts in your name or gain access to your established accounts.
The easiest way to avoid identity theft is to keep your personal information safe and secret using these tips:
- Never give out your sensitive personal data, especially your date of birth and Social Security Number, over email.
- Never click on links in an email from a strange or untrusted source.
- If an email seems strange and it looks to be from someone you know, take a close look at the email address. Or better yet, before clicking on a link, confirm with the person that they sent you an email or a message with a link.
- Use two-factor authentication on your email and other online accounts.
- Shred paper records with your personal information.
- Use resources through the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to protect your identity and report identity theft.
For additional information, see How to Recognize a Phishing Scam.
Know Your Rights
International students and scholars are entitled to certain U.S. constitutional rights and protections while in the United States.
You should contact the ISSO with any questions about your non-immigrant visa status and for assistance in seeking additional information regarding your legal rights while in the U.S.
Please note that the information provided on this page does not constitute legal advice but is intended for information purposes.
Please feel free to contact the International Center if you have any questions or concerns.
We recommend that you read the resources provided below so that you can educate yourself in the event you have an encounter with the police officer or by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Massachusetts Immigration and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA)
American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)
- Know Your Rights handouts (multiple languages) explaining your rights in the event you are visited by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at home, in a public space, or at your place of employment.
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
- Main site – Know Your Rights
- Know Your Rights – Stopped by the Police
- Know Your Rights – Information Booklet
- Know Your Rights – Airport Enforcement
Immigrant Defense Project