International Student Information

What is USCIS?

On March 1, services formerly provided by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) transitioned into the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). In support of the DHS overall mission, the immediate priorities of the new USCIS are: to promote national security continue to eliminate immigration adjudications backlogs implement solutions for improving immigration customer services.


The USCIS will continue efforts to fundamentally transform and improve the delivery of immigration and citizenship services. This is the government bureau that Golden Gate University works with to ensure that we are servicing our international students safely and legally. Our main component is a database called SEVIS.

What is SEVIS?

SEVIS stands for Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. SEVIS is an electronic database that United States colleges and universities use to communicate international student information with the USCIS. As of August 1, 2003 all colleges and universities were required to enter information in SEVIS for all F-1 students. This information includes: enrollment, current address, change of status, reduced course loads, school transfers, employment authorizations.

Who pays the SEVIS fee?

Prospective students with initial attendance I-20s dated on or after September 1, 2004 who are applying for an initial F-1 visa from outside the US. F-2 dependents (spouse and children under age of 21) do not have to pay the SEVIS fee.

When do I pay the SEVIS fee?

The fee must be paid at least three business days prior to applying for your visa and attending your interview. For Canadians, applying for admission at a US port of entry, the fee should also be paid three business days in advance.

How do I pay the fee?

The fee can be paid to the DHS online, at a Western Union that offers Quick Pay service, or by mail and must be accompanied by a Form I-901. It can be paid by you or by a third party, inside or outside the US. AAU strongly recommends that you pay the fee online.


To Pay Online (Recommended): Complete the form online and supply the necessary Visa, MasterCard, or American Express information. Be sure to enter your last name, first name, date of birth, and SEVIS ID exactly as it appears on your I-20 form (located in the upper right corner of page 1). Print a copy of the online receipt.


To Pay By Mail: Complete the Form I-901. Be sure to write your last name, first name, date of birth, and SEVIS ID exactly as it appears on your I-20 form. Prepare a check, international money order or foreign draft (drawn on US banks only) in the amount of $100 USD, made payable to "The Department of Homeland Security." Mail the completed Form I-901 and payment to the address listed on Form I-901. A Form I-797 receipt notice should be mailed within three days of processing the fee. Be sure to make copies of your receipt, and keep it with your other important immigration documents.

What if my F-1 visa application is denied?

The SEVIS fee will not be refunded. However, if you reapply for a new F-1 visa within 12 months of the denial, you will not have to pay the fee again

If the visa in my passport expires while I am in the U.S. must I leave the country to renew it?

The visa in your passport is an "entry permit" only, so you need not be concerned if it expires once you have already entered the U.S. unless you plan to travel out of the U.S and re-enter, in which case you will need to go to the U.S. Consulate (preferably in your home country) and apply for a new visa stamp. When you go to the Consulate to apply for the new visa stamp, you should bring with you your I-20 (if you are a student on an F-1 visa), which, unless it's a brand new document (consisting of both the "school copy" as well as the "student copy"), should be endorsed on the back by one of the I-Center designated school officials. It is also strongly recommended that you bring proof that you have the funding to cover your tuition and living expenses and a letter from your advisor stating that you are in good standing and making adequate progress toward your degree.

Can I apply for a US visa in a country, which is not my country?

You may have reason to apply for a US visa in a country other than your home country. An advance appointment with the US Consulate or Embassy is almost always required in this case. Generally, you should have a good reason for applying for a US visa at a US Consulate, which is not located in your home country. A good reason might be participation in a professional conference or visiting a relative in the third country. Realize that US State Department preference is for you to handle visa issuance in your home country, so you will not have top priority in another country. For consulate specific visa application procedures, check the US Department of State website at

What is automatic visa revalidation?

F-1 students traveling to Canada, Mexico, or one of the islands off the US other than Cuba for pleasure or vacation for fewer than 30 days, can return to the US using an expired US entry visa of any type, as long as you have a valid passport, I-94, and signed I-20 or DS-2019 as specified above. Automatic revalidation does not apply to residents of Mexico or the islands who are returning to their home countries. Additionally, citizens of Cuba, Iraq, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, and the Sudan are not eligible for automatic revalidation.


NOTE: As of April 2002, the automatic revalidation policy does not apply to people who travel to Canada or Mexico for the purpose of applying for a new US visa. If the visa is denied, the person will not be allowed to reenter the US. Consult with an OIE advisor if you have questions regarding a US visa application in Canada or Mexico.

How often should the back of my I-20 be endorsed?

Each signature is valid for re-entry for up to one year or six months if you travel while on OPT. It is not necessary to have it signed every time you travel unless you need to go to a U.S Consulate to have the visa stamp in your passport renewed, in which case it is recommended that you have it signed shortly before travel. Keep in mind that if you remain out of the U.S for more than 5 month, you will need to request a new I-20 for re-entry, since the travel endorsement is not valid for an absence from the U.S of more than 5 months

What do I have to do after my degree completion or if I want to leave AAU before completing my degree?

Below is information that you must know as you near the end of your academic program. In most cases, you will want to contact our office at least three months before you graduate to find out your options. Remember that by law you have a limited time to take action from the date you complete your studies before your presence in the US is no longer legal. Be aware that the date you complete your studies is the day you finish the last requirement for your degree not the graduation date; for example, the day of your last final exam or the date you hand in your thesis corrections. This date is important for interpreting the following information.


A. If you are here in F-1 status (I-20), and have completed your course of study, you have 60 days from the day you complete your studies to do one of the following four things:

  • Leave the country
  • Apply for a change to another immigration status
  • Transfer to a new school or a new Academy of Art University program, get a new I-20 for that program, and begin attendance in that program in the next possible semester
  • Begin Optional Practical Training (Note that you must apply for OPT before you complete your degree requirements.)

This 60-day deadline is final and non-negotiable. Please check the expiration date on your I-20 located in item five of the document. If your I-20 will expire this semester and you plan to continue studying at Academy of Art University you must apply for an extension at least one month in advance.


B. If you are here in F-1 status (I-20) and you plan to withdraw from classes and leave Academy of Art University before completing your degree program you must contact us to request for an authorized early withdrawal or a leave of absence from a International Student Advisor. If you have been pre-authorized by your International Student Advisor to withdraw from classes because you are planning to leave Academy of Art University you have 15 days to do one of the following things:

  • Leave the country
  • Apply for a change to another immigration status
  • Transfer to a new school or a new Academy of Art University program, get a new I-20 for that program, and begin attendance in that program in the next possible semester


C. If you leave Academy of Art University without completing your degree program and without pre-authorization from your International Student Advisor then you do not have any additional days to remain in the US. You must leave the US or apply for a change of status immediately.


D. If you are planning to apply for practical training you must apply for the authorization before you complete your degree requirements or you will lose your eligibility for the training. Since it takes anywhere from one to three months for the authorization approval to arrive from immigration, this means that you should apply three to four months before you complete your program.


E. Your I-20 cannot be signed once you have graduated unless you have applied for practical training. This means that you should not plan any short trips to Canada after completing your program unless you have either received optional practical training work authorization, or you will return to your home country from Canada, or you will return to the US on a tourist visa from Canada.

Can I use more than one type of OPT?

Yes, but you only have 12 months of OPT per degree level sought. Part-time OPT is deducted from the 12 month total at a rate of 50 percent. For example, if you use six months of part-time optional practical training, this is equivalent to using three months of full-time optional practical training. You will need to file a new application and pay the $175 fee for each period of OPT your request.

When should I apply for OPT?

All requests for OPT must be received by the California Service Center before the date of your graduation. Your date of graduation is the date you complete all of the requirements for your program of study. Your graduation date is not the date of your graduation ceremony or the date you receive your diploma.  


Requests for employment authorization require a minimum of 90 days to process. Sometimes it can take as many as 120 to 140 days for the California Service Center to process your request.

What kind of work can I do under OPT?

You should engage in work that is directly related to your field of study. The type of work you do should be commensurate with the degree level you have earned.

When do I become eligible to apply for OPT?

You must have been enrolled on a full-time basis for one full academic year.

If I plan to use my OPT after I graduate, when do I need to begin working?

All optional practical training must be completed within 14 months following completion of study. In other words, you may request an OPT start day within 60 days of your date of graduation. OPT does not require that you have a job, but if you remain in the US on OPT after graduation you should be looking for employment.

Can I check my OPT application status?

Check Your Application Status Online at or call 1-800-375-5283 or 949-831-8427. You will need to have your 13-character application receipt number. It is a 10 digits preceded by the letters "WAC."

When can I begin working?

You must receive your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from the California Service Center before you begin working. The first day that you may begin work is the start date indicated on your EAD.

Can I continue using my optional practical training and begin a new degree program?

No. If you begin full-time study at another educational level, your OPT will be terminated. Students using OPT may take classes on a part-time basis if they are recreational in nature or considered incidental to status.

What if I don't receive my EAD in 90 days?

You may apply for an interim EAD at the San Francisco USCIS Office (444 Washington St.). USCIS now requires individuals seeking a temporary EAD to make an appointment.


You will need to bring the following documents with you:

  • Copies of all of your I-20s
  • Notice of Action Letter (original and photocopy)
  • Passport and photocopies of relevant passport
  • I-94 card and photocopy of front and back of the card
  • Newly completed I-765 form; write "interim EAD, no fee" on top of the form

How does OPT affect my ability to travel outside of the US?

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), an Office of the US Department of Homeland Security, recently revisited its policy concerning re-entry for students on OPT. Based on this new interpretation we advise students to travel outside the US only if they can establish that they are currently employed in the US or have a valid offer of employment.


Students on OPT should plan to present the following documents at the US Port of Entry:

  • A valid EAD
  • An official letter of employment or offer letter
  • A current I-20 with a travel signature on the third page, dated within the last six months
  • A valid F-1 visa
  • A passport valid for at least six months

I lost my EAD card, how do I get a new one?

You will need to apply to the California Service Center for a new card. You will need to submit a copy of your original application as well as a new $340 application fee. If you have a copy of your lost EAD card you should submit this as well. You may continue working with the same company while your request is being processed.

I applied for my EAD more than two months ago and I am scheduled to work very soon. Can the company pay me at a later date for the short period that I did not have my EAD?

No, working without a work permit is a serious violation of your immigration status, and could be grounds for deportation.

How long will it take to receive employment authorization?

Requests for employment authorization require a minimum of 90 days to process. Sometimes it can take as many as 120 to 140 days for the California Service Center to process your request.

What kind of work can I do under severe economic hardship?

You can work in any field. This type of work authorization does not limit the type of job you can do.

Does work under severe economic hardship affect my eligibility to apply for OPT or to work on campus?

No. This type of work does not count toward the 20 hour per week on-campus maximum. In other words, you may still work 20 hours per week on campus and also work off campus using your severe economic hardship authorization. It also does not affect your eligibility for optional practical training.

When do I need to submit the U.S Tax Return Forms?

You should file by April 15 of each year if you were an employee and received wages subject to US income tax withholding. File by June 15 of each year if you did not receive wages subject to US income tax withholding. If necessary, you may request an extension of the due date by filing Form 4868 by the required date.

Do I need to file Form 8843?

F visa holders are expected to submit Form 8843 whether or not they earned income in the US. If you are filing Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ, attach Form 8843 with your return. If filing Form 8843 only, you must submit it by June 15, 2005.

What if I do not file a Tax Return?

If no taxes are owed, there is no penalty imposed by the IRS. However, non-immigrant alien status requires that the individual not violate any US laws, including tax laws. There can also be immigration consequences for failing to file taxes. Applicants for permanent residency "green cards" are frequently asked to show proof of tax filing for previous years in the U.S.

I'm an F-1 student and I had no U.S. earned income or scholarships for 2007. Do I need to file?

Yes. You must file IRS Form 8843. Dependents in F-2 and J-2 status must also file Form 8843.

Is bank interest on checking/savings accounts earned income?

No. Simple bank interest and interest on CDs are not considered earned income for non-resident aliens, and therefore are not reportable. Your bank generally reports this interest on Form 1099 and you should retain this form for your records, but not mail it with your tax filing. If you file taxes as a "resident alien", bank interest is taxable income.

I only worked for a very short time in 2007 and I didn't earn very much. Do I still have to file?

Possibly. If the total sum of your U.S. source income was less than the personal exemption ($3,400 for 2007) you are not required to file IRS Form 1040NR-EZ or Form 1040NR. However, if you had any taxes withheld, you should file IRS Form 1040NR-EZ or Form 1040NR to get a refund of these taxes and you must still file Form 8843.

I'm unable to file by the deadline, what do I do?

File Form 4868, "Extension of Time to File", which extends the deadline to file till August 15. If you owe any taxes though, you must still mail your estimated tax payment by April 15 or you will be assessed penalty and interest as of April 15 on any payment owed.

Do I need to pay Social Security Taxes?

No. F visa holders are not subject to Social Security or Medicare taxes as long as they are considered a "non-resident alien for tax purposes" (IRS Publication 519). Refund of these taxes may be requested from your employer. If your employer is unable to refund these taxes, you may file Form 843 and Form 8316 for a refund from the IRS.


How do I apply for housing?

All housing applications are processed online. In order to be eligible for housing, you must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Be enrolled as a full-time student (12 units in Fall/Spring and 6 units for Summer)
  • Fill out the housing application form online
  • Electronically sign the Housing License Agreement online
  • Pay $500 deposit online
  • Must have health insurance. (All housing students are required to have health insurance.)

Learn More About Housing

What is the Housing License Agreement?

The Housing License Agreement (HLA) is the contract you must sign before moving into campus housing. The HLA covers the Academic Term of License, Terms and Conditions, and Community Policies.

How long is my Housing License Agreement?

All students who sign up for campus housing for the Fall semester sign a binding License Agreement for an academic year, or two semesters (Fall and Spring) with winter break in between. Students who sign up for Spring, Summer, or the Pre College Summer Program sign individual License Agreements only for that semester. If a student signed up for Fall then they also must sign up for Spring. We do not offer Fall only license agreements.

I signed a Housing License Agreement for the Academic Year and will move-in in the Fall; can I move off campus for the Spring semester?

No, you cannot move off campus for the Spring semester if your Housing License Agreement is for the Academic Year. In the event that you experience extenuating circumstances, you may appeal to terminate your License Agreement for Spring by submitting a Petition for Release from Housing. Requests will be considered by the Director of Housing on a case-by-case basis and the student may be placed on a waiting list to have their bed-space reassigned for Spring semester.

Does my health insurance have to cover my medical needs in California or do I just simply need insurance?

Your health insurance must cover your unexpected and expected health needs during the time you are residing in San Francisco, CA.

I just found out that I am assigned to Bed Space A. What does this mean? Are the desks assigned as well?

Bed Space A is the lower bunk and B is the top bunk. If you are in a triple, Bed Space C is the third, single bed. If you are living in a quad, Bed Space C is the lower bunk and D is the top bunk. The desks are not assigned so you will need to coordinate this with your roommate(s).

How can I change my room assignment?

Room Transfer Requests (RTR) consider a number of factors: Is space available? What is the reason for the request? Can you cover the potential increase in cost associated if it is an upgrade? Forms are available from your Resident Director or at the Housing Office. You may submit this form ten days after the start of the semester. Submitting an RTR is not a guarantee that you will be moved, approval is based on the criteria listed above.

Does rent need to be paid before I move-in?

If you are paying for housing out of pocket, rent is due in full for the semester before you may move into campus housing. If you plan to pay for housing with Financial Aid, you must work with directly with the Financial Aid Department to ensure the cost of housing will be covered. Financial Aid will then verify your coverage with the Housing Department before you may move into campus housing.

How can I make a rent payment?

In order to make a rent payment, you will need to log on to your Student Self Service portal with your username and password. You may also make a rent payment by calling the Accounts Receivable office at 1-800-544-2787 or 1-415-274-2200 (from outside the USA).

I am using financial aid to pay for my campus housing, but I have been informed that the aid will not be dispersed until a few weeks after school begins. Can I still move into campus housing?

As long as the Financial Aid Office has deemed that you will have enough financial aid to cover your housing rent, and this information has been confirmed with the Housing Department, you will be able to move into campus housing. However, if your financial aid allocation will only cover a partial amount of your housing rent, then you must pay the remaining balance in full prior to moving into your room.

What happens if I cancel my housing?

All students who choose to live in campus housing have signed the legally binding Housing License Agreement (HLA) which outlines the semester dates. Per the Housing License Agreement , students who terminate their HLA early are not eligible for any refund of the deposit or of rent and will be financially responsible for future payments required by the original HLA.


What is the address we can ship packages to if we are moving in from out of state?

The address to ship your packages depends on what building you're moving into (please see below). Make sure to use the following format as an example when sending mail to your residence hall or apartment:

  • First Name & Last Name
    1916 Octavia (use your building address), Room #410 (use your specific room number)
    San Francisco, CA 94109 (use your specific zip code)

Below are the addresses and zip codes for the various buildings:

Residence Hall Street Address Zip Code
Leonardo da Vinci 1080 Bush 94109
Frank Lloyd Wright 1153 Bush 94109
Bluxome Lofts 168 Bluxome 94107
Star Hall 1727 Lombard St. 94123
John Singer Sargent 1900 Jackson St. 94109
Johannes Vermeer 736 Jones St. 94109
Coco Chanel 1916 Octavia St. 94109
Auguste Rodin 1055 Pine St. 94109
Fritz Lang 560 Powell St. 94109
Half Moon Lofts 575 Harrison Ave. 94105
Howard Brodie 655 Sutter St. 94102
Edgar Degas 680 Sutter St. 94102
International House 860 Sutter St. 94102
Clara Gil Stephens 620 Sutter St. 94102
Commodore 825 Sutter St. 94109
Mary Cassatt 2209 Van Ness Ave. 94109
Da Vinci Villa Hotel 2550 Van Ness Ave. 94109

Packages will not be accepted in the buildings prior to the official move in dates. Please make sure to send packages to your residence hall building AFTER arriving to campus.

Will I need my student ID card before I move into my residential building?

You will want to make obtaining your photo student ID card a top priority on the day that you arrive to move on campus; however, you can go directly to your residential building first to move-in. Afterward, head to 79 New Montgomery where you will be able to obtain your student ID. All residential buildings and academic buildings require a student ID for entry; therefore, it is imperative that you have your ID card with you at all times.

When I move into my residential building on move-in day, will there be handcarts or furniture dollies available?

There are no carts or dollies available at move-in. With a little patience, you should be able to get moved into your room in no time. If someone is driving you to campus and you do have a handcart that you can use during the move, it would not be a bad idea to bring it. It is also advisable that you make every effort to schedule your arrival for late morning/afternoon, as most residents tend to arrive early causing the first few hours to be congested.

What types of security measures are taken to protect students at night?

Our student's safety is of primary concern to everyone at the Academy. Academy of Art University is an urban campus and each student must be mindful of their surroundings, try to travel in groups and maintain an awareness of their surroundings at all times. All on-campus, residential facilities have a Resident Assistant on duty at all times, as well as 24-hour roving security officers provided by Campus Safety. Our first year student residence halls have on-site Campus Hosts posted in the lobby 24/7 and many of the other buildings have night security coverage. If there is ever a concern regarding a student's safety, please call the Campus Safety communication center at 415-618-3896.

Who will be notified in case of an emergency?

The emergency contact listed in the Housing License Agreement will be contacted in the event of an emergency.

Can I bring a vehicle to campus?

The Housing Department highly recommends that you do not bring a vehicle to San Francisco. There is no parking available in any housing facility or anywhere on-campus. Academy shuttles provide free, convenient transportation between housing and academic buildings. Additionally, you do not need a car when you live in San Francisco; the city has one of the best and most efficient transportation systems in the U.S. For more information on public transportation in San Francisco, visit or .

What size bed will I have?

With few exceptions, we provide twin extra-long (XL) beds in our rooms and apartments.

Can I have my own room?

You may request a private room during the application process, but these room types are very limited. Placement is based on availability and is not guaranteed.

Can I bring my own furniture?

The Academy fully furnishes all of the units on campus. The use of additional furniture is not permitted. In the event that there is enough space in your room to accommodate additional furniture, pre-approval must be obtained by your Resident Director before bringing in any outside furniture. For sanitation and pest control reasons, no second hand, outside furniture will be allowed (purchased from thrift stores, garage sales, found or given away).

Do the on-campus housing buildings allow pets?

Campus Housing does not allow pets of any sort (this includes fish and reptiles). Certified Service Animals may be allowed for a person with a disability if he/she provides documentation for such assistance. In order to have a Certified Service Animal on-campus, the student must declare their disability with Classroom Services and be approved for this accommodation prior to bringing the animal to campus.

What is the alcohol/smoking policy?

Alcohol is not permitted in any Academy of Art University housing, leased or owned, regardless of age.  Students who are over 21 may consume alcohol off campus, but must return to campus in a calm and coherent manner.  Smoking is not permitted inside any Academy of Art University building, leased or owned.  Students who choose to smoke must do so 15 feet away from any building entrance, in accordance with California state law.

Do you offer housing to students with a family?

We do not provide family housing for students at this time.

Can I live in campus housing with someone who is not a student of Academy of Art University (i.e. children, relatives, boyfriend/girlfriend, friend, etc.)?

Only Academy of Art University students assigned to a particular room may live in that room. Cohabitation is strictly prohibited. Only students assigned by the Housing Office are allowed to reside in the apartments or residence halls.


Who accepts my packages?

For students living in the First Year community buildings, 24-hour security is provided during regular semester hours and will be able to accept packages. The rest of our residence halls handle mail as any other apartment complex would. Students are encouraged to track their packages online and make arrangements with their carrier to ensure the delivery of their package.

Is my room cable ready?

Most rooms within campus housing are cable-ready, but this is a service that you will have to order and pay for on your own. We suggest that you have a conversation with your roommate(s) regarding cable service and television use within your room prior to signing up for cable service.

Something in my room isn't working properly; who should I ask to fix it?

You can discuss any concerns about your room with your Resident Director or Resident Assistant. They can assist you in filing the appropriate Maintenance Requests. Maintenance requests can also be called in to the Housing Help Line at 415-618-6592.

What do I do if my roommate and I are not getting along?

Campus Housing seeks to create a positive living and learning environment for all students, and to help students develop critical life skills. College is a great time to develop effective communication skills. We encourage the student to work out problems with their roommate and, if necessary, reach out to the Resident Assistant or Resident Director who are trained in roommate mediation. Room transfers are only authorized as a last resort.

There has been a family emergency/death in the family and as a result my son/daughter will need to miss class. How can I make sure that his/her professors are informed?

Please contact Student Services at 415-618-6508.

Can I stay in the residence halls between semesters?

Residents who wish to stay in the residence halls between semesters (known as intersession) must apply to do so in advance.  Resident students must meet prerequisites and be approved to stay.  The cost for intersession housing is $60.00 per day and must be paid prior to the start of intersession.  Approved students may be temporarily relocated during the intersession period if their building is closed during the break period.

I won't be staying in my room over the break, but do I have to move-out?

During Winter Intersession (between the Fall and Spring semester), you may store your items free of charge provided that you are already registered for the Spring semester. Although you will be allowed to store your belongings in your room over winter break, we encourage you to take home any items of particular value. Your belongings must be boxed up, inventoried and left neatly on your bed so that preventative maintenance and building upkeep (shampooing carpet and deep cleaning bathrooms) can be performed during the break. It's important to also be mindful that if there is a vacant space in your unit, a student may be assigned to your room during Winter Intersession.

For any other Intersession period, students must find their own resources for storage. There are many companies in San Francisco that offer storage at an affordable rate.


What should I do if I require special accommodation for a medical condition or disability?

All requests for special accommodation must be submitted through the Classroom Services Department. They can be reached at or at 1-415-618-3775. They will require recent documentation from a professional who specializes in the area of the named disability in order to consider requests. Early applications are encouraged and requests for special accommodations must allow a minimum of 60 days advance notice prior to the anticipated arrival date.

Does Academy of Art University have a medical clinic on-campus?

No, the Academy does not have a medical clinic on-campus. For this reason, all students are required to provide proof of medical insurance and emergency contact information. If a student needs help in one of our Campus Housing facilities then he or she should reach out to their Resident Director or Resident Assistant.

Can you refer me to a doctor in the area?

The Academy Resource Center at 1-415-618-3917 can provide information about local services if needed. To locate free or low cost medical services you can search this link . (PDF)


Does Academy of Art University offer any off-campus housing referral resources?

Academy of Art University is not in a position to offer any advice to students seeking to live off-campus. We would encourage you to check out online search engines like , , or perhaps even Craigslist . However, we advise you to be very diligent in your selection of off-campus housing as not all landlords are created equal.

I chose to live off-campus and now I am facing loss of my housing; what are my options?

You may contact Campus Housing at 415-618–6335. If we have space in housing and you would like to sign a Housing License Agreement for the term, we will be happy to accommodate you. If you are seeking only a short-term solution, Campus Housing will not be able to assist you as we do not have any short-term housing available.

If I'm planning to visit my son/daughter for the weekend; what hotels do you recommend?

The city of San Francisco offers a plethora of amazing accommodations. Please check out for numerous hotel suggestions. Hotels in the Union Square area of San Francisco are the closet accommodations to the majority of our residence hall communities.

How much is a meal plan?

The meal plan fee is $2,030 per semester for fall or spring, $900 per semester for the summer. First-year students are required to have a meal plan for the first year they live in campus housing. Meal plans are also required for all residents living in The Commodore, International House, Howard Brodie, Auguste Rodin, and Clara Gil Stephens.

Learn More About Dining

Are vegetarian menus available?

Yes, the dining hall provides a vegetarian option at every meal. The café at Clara Gil Stephens offers a cook-to-order menu. Rodin & Ihouse Cafes both offer a vegetarian option on the daily menu. All cafes provide a salad bar station. Students are encouraged to speak with a dining hall staff member for specific questions regarding the available food options.

How do I select which meal plan I prefer?

First year students and those assigned to mandatory meal plan buildings will be automatically enrolled in the Platinum meal plan for 19 Meals a week and $100 Knight Kash. If you would prefer to switch your plan to the Gold or Silver, you must fill out the “Meal Plan Change” form. If you are residing in a building that does not require a meal plan but you would like to enroll in a voluntary election, you may also fill out the “Meal Plan Change” form to have a meal plan assigned to your account. If you are seeking only to utilize Knight Kash, you may set up your account directly at or by telephone at 1-800-345-6126.

Why can't I get into the cafeteria with my ID card?

If a student is living in campus housing and has a meal plan they are granted access to the side door at International House. If the student does not have access to this door they may contact housing reception at 415-618-6335.

I have classes during Cafe hours, can I still get a meal?

Absolutely! If you know you are going to be late, contact the Café and let them know your schedule. They can prepare a Brown Bag Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner. Please feel free to also contact the Café should you have any specific dietary and religious requirements. The staff will be happy to work with you to accommodate your needs.

Can I cancel my meal plan?

Freshman first-year students and residents of are required to have a meal plan and may not cancel their meal plan. If a student does not fall under these criteria they may cancel their meal plan in writing by either email, fax, or an in-person written submission at the housing office. Refunds will be pro-rated from the day the student cancels. Students may not keep the Knight Kash portion of their meal plan once they cancel and have the option to purchase Knight Kash individually by calling 1-800-345-6126.


What kind of career resources does Academy of Art University offer students and graduates?

The Academy of Art University offers multiple resources for finding creative careers:


- The Career Toolkit

The Career Toolkit answers many of your basic questions on job research, internships, professional correspondence, networking, resumes, thank you’s and more.

Download the Career Toolkit


- Academy of Art University Job Board

Top companies hiring for interns and entry level jobs, galleries looking for new artists to represent, freelance gigs, and paid projects post new opportunities daily. Exclusively for students and graduates.

Visit Our Job Board


- Career Workshops and Online Chats

With our career workshops and online chats, we cover a wide variety of new topics each semester. Past titles include: Getting in to a Gallery, Financing for Games, How to Network and Teaching with you Art Degree. We include industry panelists and alumni panelists to share their breadth of knowledge and experience.

Explore the Workshop Archives


- Industry on Campus

The Academy of Art hosts top industry partners year round for lectures, recruiting, information sessions, portfolio reviews and more.

Learn About Industry on Campus


- One-on-One Assistance

Personal assistance is available in person, via email or on the phone with your advisor.

Where do I look for a job or internship?

The best place to start is the Academy of Art University Job Board–use your student or alumni ID number to create a profile. Check often as new opportunities are posted daily.

Visit Our Job Board

Visit your department’s blog or on-campus bulletin board.

Ask your classmates, instructors and department director–your network is the best resource for finding a job.

Think about the companies, galleries, artists and designers of interest to you. Online research will yield their blogs, social media pages and web sites. Here you will find information on career opportunities, including open job positions, call for artists and internship guidelines.

Where can I get help with my resume?

Academy of Art University’s Career Portal is free to all students and recent graduates of the school. Here you can look at resume samples for multiple art and design disciplines, and upload your own resume for critique and comment.

Visit Our Job Board

Self-help is available in the resume section of our Career Toolkit

Download the Career Toolkit

Personal assistance is available by contacting:

What opportunities do online students have to get career help or job leads in my area?

The Academy of Art University Job Board attracts opportunities nationwide, and is an ideal place to start your job search. We also target the top employers in each major region to give all students the opportunity to explore a career path in a location of interest to them. Additionally, Industry Online events bring students together with our regional industry partners for company presentations.

Visit Our Job Board

What opportunities does Academy of Art University offer to meet directly with employers?

We host our industry partners at on campus and online events throughout the year. You’ll have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with recruiters and hiring managers looking to hire Academy of Art University talent. Check the online campus calendar, campus screens, and your email for announcements.

Find Career Development Events

Check with your department for special events and shows where industry talent will visit campus for portfolio review sessions and lectures.

We broadcast many events live so if you’re off site for an event or an online student you can still participate and interact with industry panelists. Whenever possible we record events for future viewing.

Visit the Video Archive

What companies hire Academy of Art graduates?

The Academy of Art has partnered with the leading art and design employers across the nation, and around the world. Companies like Apple, MATTEL, Disney, Adidas, Blizzard, BBDO, Nissan and Nordstrom routinely visit campus to recruit and network with students and new graduates.

Explore the career paths in your department to see who’s hired past graduates.

Browse Academic Departments

As an international student — what jobs/internships am I eligible for?

Contact the international department for complete information:

Can I work at the Academy while in school?

Current students qualified for financial aid can apply for work study positions. Contact for more information.

How do I make an appointment to speak with someone?

Contact us at


How many books am I allowed to check out? How long can I have them for?

Undergraduate students can have:

  • Seven books for 14 days, with two renewals allowed.
  • Two movies for two days, and cannot be renewed.
  • Flash drives for two days, with one renewal allowed.
  • 25 pictures per envelope and seven envelopes total.


Graduate students can have:

  • 10 books for 14 days, with two renewals allowed.
  • Two movies for two days, and cannot be renewed.
  • Flash drives for two days, with one renewal allowed.
  • 25 pictures per envelope and 10 envelopes total.


Students will be fined the following if items are not returned on time:

  • $0.25 a day per book
  • $3.00 a day per movie
  • $0.25 a day per sound or music CD
  • $1.00 a day per flash drive
  • $0.25 a day per picture file envelope


The following are items that are only to be used in the Library:

  • Company annual reports
  • Course reserve materials
  • Desk reference
  • Fashion files
  • Magazines
  • MFA theses
  • Reference books
  • Rare books

Can I renew my library materials online?

You can log into your library account by clicking on the “Log in to your library account” link on the top right of the library page, and then entering your student information. From this page you can renew circulating books up to two times if other patrons have not requested them. Some items, such as movies and course reserve books, cannot be renewed.

Login to the Library

What happens if I lose or damage an item?

You may either pay a $55.00 charge for lost or damaged items, or replace the item yourself (with an item in comparable or improved condition). All lost or damaged items will also be charged a $10.00 processing fee.

Can I request items for the library to purchase?

Yes, the library welcomes suggestions for purchasing of relevant items. You can request items via the New Materials Suggestion form. Magazines can be requested by using the Magazine Request form.

I am having trouble finding information on my research topic. How can I ask a librarian for help?

There are a number of ways that you can ask a librarian for assistance. You can email your question, or set up a one-on-one consultation, using the Ask a Librarian form. We will reply to you within 24 hours, Monday through Friday. You can also call us at 415-618-3842 or you can ask us in person at the library's Reference Desk.

How can I reserve the Group Study Room or the Theater Room?

To reserve these rooms, call us at 415-618-3842, email us at, or speak to a library staff member. You can use the group study room for up to two hours at a time. Since we want the rooms to be available to all of our patrons as needed, we do not allow recurring teacher-led study groups or classes to book this room as a weekly meeting spot. For more information on our room use policies, see our Group Study Room, Theater Room, and Library Classroom Policy page.

View Library Policies

Classroom Services (Disabilities)

What is Classroom Services?

Classroom Services facilitates accommodations for students with disabilities. We are located at 79 New Montgomery St., San Francisco, CA 94110 and can be reached at 1-415-618-3775 or . Our fax number is 1-415-618-3676.

How can I register with Classroom Services and obtain accommodations?

In order to obtain accommodations, students must submit recent documentation from a diagnosing professional, such as a doctor or licensed mental health practitioner. The documentation must include a diagnosis, an explanation of how your disability affects you in a university setting, and recommended accommodations.


Once your documentation is approved, we will give you accommodation letters that you may share with your instructors each semester. We are also here to support you should you have any difficulty using your accommodations, as well as provide optional regularly scheduled time management and organizational support sessions.


You may be interested in the U.S. Department of Education’s website, which provides more information regarding preparation for college, as well as students with disabilities’ rights and responsibilities.

Visit the US Department of Education

I'm not sure what to say, can my mom or dad talk to you instead?

We’re happy to work with parents in order to help students obtain accommodations. However, we recommend including students as much as possible in the process so that when they’re ready, they can transition towards managing their own accessibility-related needs as independently as possible. Please note that we will not provide information about students to other parties, including parents, without a signed release form.

Once I disclose that I have a disability, will others at AAU find out about it? Will my documents become part of my file with the university?

All documentation is kept in the Classroom Services office and is not shared with anyone outside our team of professionals. Accommodation letters state that you are registered with our office and list your accommodations, but don’t contain information about your specific type of disability. Students are in complete control of whom they choose to inform about their disability.

I think I have a disability but I don't have official paperwork. Can I get assessed here?

Classroom Services does not have doctors or licensed diagnosticians on staff. If you have health insurance, we suggest you consult with a licensed professional covered under your plan. If you don’t have health insurance, we can recommend resources that may be able to help. Please call or email us for more information. Students are ultimately responsible for obtaining and submitting any needed documentation.

Contact Classroom Services

I was in the hospital last week and missed all of my classes. Does that count as a disability? Can you call my instructors so I won't be penalized for late work?

If your illness is not due to a disability previously established with our office, the best thing to do is work directly with your instructors. Even if you are too ill to do your work, we suggest letting them know as soon as possible that you are ill. If you don’t have the contact information of your instructor, ask their department for assistance. If your illness results in a newly diagnosed disability, we suggest that you still follow this advice and also contact our office to set up any future accommodations you may need.

ID Badges

Do I need to wear my badge at all times on campus?

Yes, it allows you access to all buildings on campus. Visitors are not allowed on campus without an escort.

If I lose my ID what should I do?

First contact Campus safety at 1-415-618-3911 and report the badge lost. A new ID can be purchased at 150 Hayes St.

Contact Campus Safety

How do I use my ID?

Swipe your ID at small black boxes on the walls next to the front doors at our Academy of Art University buildings.  You will hear the door open and you can enter.

How else can I use my ID?

Your ID can be used for Knight Cash at restaurants and vendors near Academy of Art University properties.

Learn About Dining

Can I change my picture on my ID?

Yes, at 180 New Montgomery St., in the Campus Safety office.

Who do I call if my ID stops working?

Call Campus Safety at 1-415-618-3911.

Contact Campus Safety

New Students

How can I…?

Get a locker

Lockers are rented on a single semester basis only and must be cleared out by the last day of each term. The current rates are:

  • Undergraduate Students – $20 per semester locker rental.
  • Graduate Students – 1 locker FREE of charge, additional rentals $20 per rental
  • The university does not provide locks.

Students renting with a credit card may now login to their online account to rent lockers using a computer or mobile device. Graduate students may also rent their first locker online without payment. If paying with cash or check rentals must be paid at Accounts Receivable located at 150 Hayes on the 4th floor. All successful rentals will appear in a student's online account. Once a locker has been rented students may proceed to the building where they must provide proof of the rental to the campus host prior to use of the locker.

Add/Drop classes

All Add/Drop forms must be signed by an Admissions Representative or Student Services Advisor.

Contact an advisor if mine is absent

Any available advisor should be able to help you with any questions you may have. Call the Academy operator at 1-415-274-2200 and ask for an advisor.

How much does a bus ride cost in San Francisco?

Information on BART fares and Schedules can be found at any BART station, or at Information on MUNI schedules and fares can be found at

Who do I talk to if I have a housing issue?

The Housing Department is located at 79 New Montgomery on the 1st Floor, 1-415-618-6335. Office hours are Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m., Saturday – 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Please email with questions.

Admissions Contacts

  • International: 1-415-274-2208
  • Graduate: 1-415-618-6326
  • Undergraduate: 1-415-274-2219

Change of Name, Address and SSN

Records Office 79 New Montgomery, Basement 1-415-618-6454

Alumni Relations:

Contact Simone Octigon at or 1-415-618-8350 or visit

Campus Activities (Campus Life & Leadership):

Contact Campus Life at 1-415-618-8400 or visit Campus Life.


  • Utrecht Art Supplies
    • 149 New Montgomery Street | 1-415-777-6920
    • 1930 Van Ness Avenue | 1-415-409-1359
    • 466 Townsend Street, 3rd Floor | 1-415-908-3811
    • 60 Federal Street, 4th Floor | 1-415-904-8101

Events on Campus

Online Education

How to Reach your Instructor

Contact your department’s administrative assistant. See department pages for detailed information.

Emergency Contact

For Emergencies dial 911

ESL Support


When and where will commencement be held?

An email will be sent out with the commencement details, and you may also check the calendar to see details.

View Commencement Details

How do I get my cap and gown?

Events are held approximately a month prior to commencement and two weeks prior to commencement. Located at the Atelier between 9am-4pm, you will also be given tickets with your cap and gown packs. A photographer will be on site—announcements, class rings, and frame orders may also be placed at this time.

Are tickets available for family or friends to attend commencement?

Yes, each graduate will receive a set numbers of tickets for family or friends to attend the ceremony. The number of available tickets for each graduate will be emailed along with commencement details.

When will I receive my diploma?

Your diploma will be mailed to you 4 months after the Registrar has confirmed that you have met all academic requirements and settled all financial obligations.

When will the Graduation Ceremony be held?

Spring Commencement is in late May.

Summer Commencement is in late May.

Fall Commencement is in late May.

How can I find the specific dates for the Graduation Ceremony?

Students who have declared their final semester will be emailed information about:

  • Graduation dates
  • Ordering graduation announcements
  • Professional photography services


The commencement pack:

  • Cap
  • Gown
  • A limited number of guest tickets
  • A limited number of invitations
  • Rehearsal
  • Graduation Day Check-in      

How do I declare my final semester?

Log into Self Service > My Educational Profile > Academics > Apply for Graduation > Select a term and click on “Apply” and select your final semester


When do I need to declare my final semester?

To participate in the Fall 2013 Commencement Ceremony be sure to declare Fall 2013 as your final semester between February 10, 2013 and September 13, 2013

To participate in the Spring 2014 Commencement Ceremony, be sure to declare Spring 2014 as your final semester between August 5, 2013 and February 7, 2014

To participate in the Summer 2014 Commencement Ceremony, be sure to declare Summer 2014 as your final semester between February 10, 2014 and April 11, 2014

To participate in the Fall 2014 Commencement Ceremony, be sure to declare your final semester between February 10, 2014 and September 19, 2014

To participate in the Spring 2014 Commencement Ceremony be sure to declare your final semester between August 4, 2014 and February 6, 2015

Is there are fee for the cap and gown?

Caps and gowns are required to participate in the Commencement Exercises and Academy of Art University provides cap and gown at no charge.  Students residing outside the San Francisco Bay Area may contact the Office of the Registrar at to make alternative arrangements to pick up their caps and gowns, tickets, and invitations.

When will the Graduation Ceremony be held?

Spring and Summer Commencement 2013 is in late May, Fall Commencement is in Mid-December. Check the Academic Calendar for updated dates and information.

View Commencement Details