Student Resource Manual
This resource manual will provide you with basic information about different resources at the UA and in Tucson. Adjusting to life in a new country and culture can be challenging, so use the information below as your guide. Become familiar with the resources here and take advantage of all that the UA and Tucson have to offer.
If you are an undergraduate student, check with your academic advisor or major advisor for help with:
Finding a degree to match your skills and interests
Declaring a major or minor
Making a graduation plan
Understanding UA academic policies
If you are a graduate student, check with your faculty advisor or program coordinator or the Graduate Student Academic Services Office for help with:
Keeping track of your progress
Confirming steps towards degree completion
Policies, forms, important dates and deadlines
Visit your professor and/or teaching assistants during office hours to ask questions about course material, your grades, class expectations and policies.
As an international student, you are expected to abide by local and federal laws, including rules set by the UA. Become familiar with the Dean of Students Office and the following concepts to stay in good status as a UA student and international student.
The Dean of Students Office enforces the Code of Academic Integrity and the Student Code of Conduct and supports students with the following:
Personal crises and emergencies
Personal behavior issues
Code of Academic Integrity issues
Other disciplinary issues
Code of Academic Integrity: The principle for honesty in all class work and ethical conduct in lab and clinical assignments
Student Code of Conduct: What the campus community has defined as acceptable behavior
Plagiarism: The intentional or unintentional act of presenting the words, ideas, images, sounds or the creative expression of others as your own
College Disqualification: Dismissal from a college for not meeting the standards of normal progress after two consecutive regular semesters
University Disqualification: Dismissal from the UA
The academic resources at the UA can assist you with specific course material and help you develop learning skills to apply in all subjects.
Content tutoring or supplemental instruction (help with specific UA courses)
Academic skills (study skills, note-taking and public speaking)
Learning techniques (test preparation, time and stress management)
Writing (punctuation, generating ideas, structure, formatting)
Don’t know where to go or can’t come in person? The THINK TANK has 5 different locations on campus and offers online academic support for math, writing and academic skills!
The Strategic Alternative Learning Techniques Center (SALT) provides support services to students with learning and attention challenges. It also offers Life and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) coaching as additional fee-based services to students.
The Disability Resource Center (DRC) provides accommodations for students with academic or physical barriers on campus.
Learning in a second language can be a special challenge for international students. Use the resources below to gain confidence in your ability to communicate in English so you can participate fully inside and outside the classroom.
THINK TANK Writing Center: Provides free and fee-based drop-ins and appointments. Also offers online writing center tutoring and plagiarism prevention workshops.
Writing Skills Improvement Program: Offers free professional tutoring in the areas of academic writing, library research, feedback on presentations, cover letters and program applications.
Center for English as a Second Language (CESL): Offers tutoring and fee-based evening classes on English for academic purposes, pronunciation and conversation.
Cosmopolitan Toastmasters: A public speaking club for non-native English speakers in a friendly, supportive environment to improve communication and presentation skills. Improve your self-confidence speaking in front of a group or when called upon, prepare for your dissertation, presentation or interview.
When selecting a cell phone plan, you have two main options:
A contract plan. These are more common and offer more discounts, but usually require a Social Security Number (SSN) or initial deposit. Remember that once a contract is signed, you will be obligated to pay for the entire contract period. If you break a contract, be prepared to pay a large fee.
A pay-as-you-go or prepaid plan. These plans typically have higher monthly fees, but are convenient because there is no SSN requirement. Expect higher phone costs and fewer phone options, but more flexibility with your plan.
The following chart represents five common cell phone companies in the U.S. that offer contract plans and prepaid plans. Please note that the information below does not represent any endorsement by UA International Student Services. The rates and information below are subject to change. For the most up-to-date information, check with the company websites directly.
Read about Verizon International Options
(no contract plan, prepaid only)
Questions to ask when choosing a cell phone plan:
Do I want a contract plan or prepaid plan?
Do I need an SSN or initial deposit for the plan?
How can I make international calls or texts or to a specific country?
Can I use my current phone from my home country with this provider?
Is there a student discount program?
For questions and to access the most up-to-date information, always check the Arizona MVD website or call (520) 629-9808.
You may legally drive in Arizona using a valid driver license from another country. An international driving license or permit is not required, but is recommended since it can be printed in English, and can be used in conjunction with the driver license from the other country. If an international driving license or permit is used alone, it must be issued by a country other than the United States.
Out-of-state students enrolled with 7 or more semester hours, are not considered Arizona residents, regardless of employment, and are not required to obtain a driver license.
You are required to obtain an Arizona driver's license if you:
Place children in school without paying the tuition rate of a nonresident
Pay school tuition fees at the same rate as an Arizona resident
Hours and Locations
Arizona Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) locations that process driver license applications:
Open Monday-Friday 8:00-5:00. You must arrive before 3:00 pm to take the road test. The MVD recommends Wednesdays and Thursdays for faster service. You should also avoid the first and last two days of the month and the day following office closure.
You must bring a vehicle registered in the state of Arizona to complete the driving portion of the exam, so it’s best to wait until you have a car (or you may use a friend’s vehicle) before applying for a driver license. However, if you would like to go to the MVD sooner to obtain a state license, then you can find bus routes on the Sun Tran website. From the UA campus it takes approximately 1 hour by bus, and you will have to make at least one transfer. The cost of the bus is $1.50 each way or $3.50 for a day pass (unlimited).
DS-2019 or I-20 (the MVD will use the expiration date to calculate the duration of your license)
You can complete and submit the initial application online (or download a paper version).
You will be required to pass a written test and a road test. Once you pay the application fee, you will have three chances to pass the written and road test within 12 months. After that, you will be required to pay the application fee again.
Consists of 30 multiple-choice questions. You’ll take the test at a computer work station using a touch screen.
The Arizona Driver License Manual and practice tests are available on the MVD website.
The test administrator will drive with you through a test route, giving you directions to follow. The driving exam will test your knowledge of traffic laws in a variety of different situations and your ability to safely operate the vehicle.
You must provide the vehicle used for the test. The vehicle must be in good operating condition (including seat belts), and must have current ARIZONA registration, plate and tab. You will be required to show proof of current automobile liability insurance.
For driver’s license, costs vary from $10 to $25 dollars, depending on age.
For Arizona State Identification Card (ID):
Ages 0-64 – $12.00
65 & over – No fee
The Bursar’s Office is responsible for student account and billing information, receiving payments for tuition and fees, collecting unpaid payments and delivering refunds. The Bursar's Office is located in the University Services Building, room 104. If you are a sponsored student, check with ISS Sponsored Programs for billing and payment information.
It is your responsibility to make informed decisions about banking and finances. As an international student, you may be particularly vulnerable to scams and fraud so it is important to educate yourself about the banking system in the U.S. and know how to protect your financial information.
How do I pay for my tuition?
You can use UAccess to pay for tuition, fees and related expenses. The Bursar’s Office will also mail you an account summary, but your UAccess account will provide the most updated information.
If you pay by credit or debit card, you will be charged a 2.5% service fee in addition to the University of Arizona payment amount. If you pay by echeck by entering your U.S. bank information, you will not be charged an additional service fee. You can pay with check by mail or in person. Cash payments must be made in person. For a detailed explanation of these methods, read about payment options on the Bursar’s website. If you are not sure how to write a check, watch this video for instructions.
The UA offers a Tuition Payment Plan for the fall and/or spring semesters which allows you to spread tuition payments over 3 installments per semester. You must enroll for this service in UAccess each semester prior to the tuition payment deadline and pay a $75.00 per semester non-refundable enrollment fee.
If you are a sponsored student, check with ISS Sponsored Programs for billing and payment information.
When is my tuition due?
Tuition is due by the first day of class each semester. Check the Bursar’s Office webpage for a full list of payment deadlines. Being aware of deadlines will help you avoid costly late charges and fees.
What should I know about banking in the U.S.?
Most purchases in the U.S. are completed by debit or credit card, so choose your bank wisely and take care of your banking cards and information. You can use the following factors to select your bank:
Service fees for ATM transactions
Fees for overdraft protection
Minimum fees for opening an account
Availability and location of ATMs
Most banks require that you present at least two forms of identification, such as your passport and your UA CatCard or State of Arizona issued identification card. Some banks also require a Social Security Number (SSN) to open an account or to apply for a credit card, but only international students with employment are eligible for an SSN. If you open an account through Wells Fargo bank, you can link it directly to your UA CatCard for quick and convenient transactions on campus.
If you would like more advice about banking and finances, the Take Charge Cats offer workshops on spending habits, budgeting and saving.
How can I be a safe and knowledgeable consumer?
All individuals are at risk for identity theft and financial scams. Unfortunately, international students are frequent victims of these scams. Here are some tips for your safety:
Do not share your checking or debit card PIN number with anyone, not even a close friend or relative.
Do not write your PIN number down. Memorize it!
Do not carry large amounts of cash in public. Instead, use a checking or debit card to make transactions to avoid losing cash or getting robbed.
Keep your purse, wallet, or backpack close to you at all times.
Carefully check your ATM or card transactions. Report any mistakes to your bank immediately.
Carry only the cards you need.
Use the following resources to protect yourself as a consumer:
The Federal Trade Commission has information on lost or stolen credit cards, credit card fraud, avoiding scams, privacy and identity and more.
ASUA Legal Services is a free on-campus service for students who need advice and legal assistance.
What should I do if my debit if credit card has been lost or stolen?
Immediately contact the bank or credit card company to report the lost or stolen card and ask them to put a stop on any withdrawals from your card. Once you report the loss of your ATM or debit card, federal law says you cannot be held liable for unauthorized transfers that occur after that time.
Follow-up by periodically checking your account activity.
Your well-being and safety are important. Being aware of potential dangers and taking the appropriate precautions can help you to avoid problems both on and off campus. The city of Tucson is a safe place to live, but remember that your health and safety are your responsibility. Check the UA Campus Safety page for a comprehensive list of resources on student safety and well-being.
As an international student, regardless of visa type, you are required to purchase the UA-sponsored Student Health Insurance Plan, administered by Aetna Student Health. More information about the health insurance and its coverage can be found on the Campus Health website and in the Campus Health Presentation on UA Health Insurance.
To learn more about the Aetna Student Health Insurance Plan watch the video below.
Campus Health: Comprehensive health center on-campus that provides the services below. Campus Health should be your first stop for non-emergency situations. If Campus Health is closed, you can go to Urgent Care, a type of walk-in clinic that can treat injuries or illnesses requiring immediate care, but not serious enough to require a hospital emergency room visit. If you are planning to meet with a medical professional, prepare questions beforehand, inform them of any medications you already take and ask questions if you do not understand.
Walk-in clinic for non-emergencies
Counseling and Psych Services (CAPS) for students to help cope with personal problems such as anxiety, depression, family problems and alcohol and drug concerns
Sexual Health provides many resources for students to help them make healthy, responsible decisions about their sexual behavior.
If you need to print an insurance ID card, use the Print ID Guide on the Campus Health website. ID cards can be printed 1 week prior to the effective date of coverage, in most cases.
Request emergency assistance immediately by calling 911.
UA Police Department (UAPD): Police department responsible for UA campus. Read their safety tips to help you make life safer and more secure. Call 911 for any emergency requiring police, fire or medical assistance. For non-emergencies, call (520) 621-8273. UAPD also sells U-Locks for your bike. You can also register your bike in case it gets stolen.
UAlert: A free service that delivers emergency alerts to your cell phone, mobile device and/or email account during a campus emergency. It is the most efficient way to receive notifications about critical incidents affecting the UA campuses. You must sign up for this service.
LiveSafe: A safety app that links students to emergency contacts.
SafeRide: This program offered by ASUA gives free rides to students, faculty, and their guests in the evening and nighttime as an alternative to walking alone at night.
SafeCats: An educational campaign that disperses information regarding safety on and off campus.
Oasis Sexual Assault, Relationship Violence and Trauma Services; Oasis services are located at CAPS. The Oasis counselor provides emotional support, counseling and referrals, as needed, for students who may have been victims of relationship violence, sexual assault or other related trauma.
Dean of Students Office: The Dean of Students Office provides programs regarding student health and safety.
Friend 2 Friend: Friend 2 Friend is a website where you can get information and advice to help a friend who might be experiencing problems (examples: drugs, alcohol, mental health, compulsive behaviors, self-injury, suicide, physical health, personal safety, food and body image, relationships and sex, or sexuality, etc).
Student Advocacy and Assistance: The Coordinators of Student Advocacy and Assistance seek to empower students to take a proactive role in exploring their own resolutions to challenging situations. They can provide 1-to-1 consultations with students who seek assistance regarding complex issues and crises that could affect their ability to remain successful.
What to do in an emergency
If you have or witness a medical or other type of emergency, call 911 immediately. If you don’t have your phone with you, you can use the phone in the emergency blue lights located throughout campus to call UAPD.
You can also obtain urgent medical advice when Campus Health is closed by calling the “After Hours” number (520) 570-7898. Check the Campus Health website for Tucson Area emergency and urgent care centers.
The UA Risk Management Services recommends that you follow these steps when calling to report an emergency:
Stay calm and keep others calm.
Carefully explain the problem and the location.
Remain on the phone until the dispatcher tells you to hang up—if you can’t stay on the phone, tell the dispatcher that you must leave and where you can be reached.
If you need translation services, let the operator know.
One of the biggest decisions you have to make as an international student is where to live. Living on campus in the residence halls is a great way to become part of the UA community – you can learn about American culture, be close to classes, resources and campus activities, and meet friends. Another benefit to living on campus is winter break housing.
If you choose to live off campus, this option offers privacy, affordability and proximity to the Tucson community. Whether you decide to live on or off campus, you should familiarize yourself with the resources and housing options available and know what is expected of you as a resident or renter.
Resources for Housing
Residence Life: This office assists students with undergraduate on-campus housing options. The Residence Life website includes information on choosing a hall, the selection and assignment process, and a special section for international students.
Graduate Housing/La Aldea: On-campus housing option for graduate and professional students
Off-Campus Housing (OCH): This office provides students with off-campus living options and resources. The OCH resource page contains sample budget spreadsheets, apartment checklists, roommate contracts, emergency contacts and even helpful housing tips for international students.
Off-Campus Housing Guidebook: This guidebook offers information about the following:
How to search for a place
Expenses and budgeting
Leases – You can take a copy of your lease to ASUA Legal Services and have it reviewed for free before you sign it.
Landlords, neighbors, and roommates
Be cautious when using non-UA sites such as Craigslist to secure housing especially when potential landlords request bank information or payment before you have viewed a property.
As University of Arizona employees, we cannot provide legal advice. Please speak with ASUA Legal Services for additional information. ASUA Student Legal Services (SLS) is a free service offered to all currently enrolled UA students. You can receive a 30-minute consultation with a lawyer.
Driving and Traffic Laws
You must learn local traffic laws before driving. Observe all road signs, and know that going over the speed limit by even a little bit gives a police officer the right to pull you over. For a detailed explanation of Arizona motor vehicle laws, read the Arizona Department of Transportation Customer Service Guide and check the City of Tucson website.
Car Insurance and Registration
The state of Arizona requires that every motor vehicle be covered by insurance. If you are driving someone else’s car or renting a car, make sure your insurance includes this coverage. Keep a copy of your insurance and your registration in the car’s glovebox at all times and register your car annually.
Police Traffic Stops
If a police car wants you to pull over while driving, they will flash their lights. Pull over onto the right shoulder as soon as you safely can. Remain in the vehicle and give the officer your driver’s license, international driver’s license, proof of insurance, and registration.
Never leave the scene of an accident until you’ve made contact with any other affected drivers or, in some circumstances, the police—even if the accident isn’t your fault.
Driving Under the Influence
Arizona also has particularly strict laws regarding driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI). An arrest for a DUI could affect your immigration status; if you’re arrested for a DUI, contact a private attorney or a public defender immediately. If you can’t reach a lawyer yourself, ask your arresting officers to contact one for you.
It’s simple: don’t use the dark web. Many of the activities on the dark web are illegal and your search history can be tracked. Under both U.S. federal and Arizona state law, many dark web activities are felonies, which are punishable by jail time and/or deportation.
In Arizona, domestic violence is defined as almost any criminal act of abuse (assault or battery, assault or battery with a weapon, criminal trespassing, disorderly conduct, threatening, kidnapping, witness intimidation, etc.) committed by one family or household member against another. Even roommates can be cited for domestic violence.
If you are in imminent danger, are seriously injured and need medical assistance, call 911 (even if you are on campus, calling 911 will connect you with law enforcement and emergency services).
If you are a UA student, faculty, or staff member, you can also contact OASIS Sexual Assault and Trauma Services at (520) 626-2051.
Drugs and Alcohol
The legal drinking age in Arizona is 21. Be prepared to show a valid picture ID proving you are 21 or older when ordering (or possessing) alcoholic beverages at local drinking establishments. The same is true when drinking at a party in someone else’s apartment.
The University of Arizona is smoke and tobacco free effective August 25, 2014. This policy applies to University students, faculty, employees, contractors, volunteers, and visitors on its campuses and in its vehicles. For more information, please visit Tobacco-Free UA.
The possession or use of marijuana for any reason is prohibited by federal (national) law. Even though medical use of marijuana is legal in the state of Arizona, it is still a federal crime to process or consume marijuana and can have serious immigration consequences.
As an international student, you will need to become familiar with different transportation options in Tucson. If you do not plan on buying a car, there are many other ways to get around campus and explore your surrounding areas. Understanding Tucson laws is also important for your safety. This includes laws you must follow while on foot, on bicycle or driving a vehicle. For information on local safety, policies, and laws, check the City of Tucson website.
Tucson is known as one of the most bike-friendly cities in the U.S. Even on the UA campus, there are many bike paths and services available for students.
These are some of the best on-campus resources for bikes:
Cat Wheels Bike Sharing Program- Free bike rentals for 24 hours
Campus Bicycle Station- Free bike-related services such as tire pumping and flat tire assistance
Tip for bicycle owners—invest in a good U-Lock for your bike and register your bike in case it gets stolen!
Bus: CatTran and Sun Tran
The CatTran is the free UA campus shuttle. Use the CatTran map to find stops, routes, and pick-up times. If you need on-campus transportation between 6 pm and 12:30 am, you can use the NightCat. You can also download the app to track the CatTran’s current location.
The Sun Tran is the Tucson city bus. As a UA student, you can purchase a discounted U-Pass and receive a SunGO card which can also be used on the Sun Link streetcar. The non-discounted fare is $1.50/ride.
Sun Link Streetcar
The Sun Link streetcar is a convenient way to go from campus to downtown. If you buy a discounted U-Pass, you can use this on the Sun Tran city bus. Watch this video to learn how to ride the streetcar.
If you decide to purchase a car, you will need to fill out required paperwork to register your car with the Arizona Department of Transportation. This can be done in person at your local MVD office within 15 days of purchase. You can find more information about how to apply for an Arizona driver’s license here.
Arizona also requires that every motor vehicle (including motorcycles) operated on roadways be covered by insurance through a company that is authorized to do business in Arizona. Car insurance policies vary across companies and depend on the car’s condition, your driving record, and the intended use of the car. Obtain several insurance quotes before purchasing.
The list below includes four common insurance companies. Please note that the information below does not represent any endorsement by UA International Student Services. For the most up-to-date information, check with the company websites directly.
Paying for a Car
Two common ways to purchase a new or used vehicle in the U.S are:
Cash: You can often get the best price for a car by offering to pay the full amount in "cash." Remember it can be dangerous to carry around large amounts of money with you so ask if a cashier’s check from a bank or traveler’s check is an option.
Financing: Whether buying a new or used car through a dealer, compare the cost of different methods of financing. Loans may add 20-30% to the total price of the car. Before signing ANY documents make certain that you understand all the details of the sale and payments required. Keep copies of all documents.
Tips for buying a car
Use extreme caution when purchasing a used car—used cars are less expensive than new cars, but sellers could be hiding information about the real condition of the car.
When buying from an individual, pay no cash until you have obtained a title.
If purchasing a used car, ask the seller for a vehicle history report.
Have a mechanic look at the car or bring a friend who is knowledgeable about cars.
Parking on campus
You will need to apply for a permit to park at a designated lot of parking garage on campus. Check the Parking and Transportation Services website for more information.
UA offers access to rent zipcars by the hour or day. Reserve online. Hourly and daily rates include gas and insurance.
The list below includes four common taxi companies. Please note that the information below does not represent any endorsement by UA International Student Services. For the most up-to-date information, check with the company websites directly.