Health Information for International Students

Our team of medical providers is experienced working with college-aged students with diverse backgrounds and experiences.  We hope you will feel comfortable approaching us with any medical issue or question you may have and that you will let us know how we might best support you during your time at Colgate.

New International Students

Please review the Student Information page for information that applies to all new students – domestic and international.  

Please also carefully review New York State and Colgate University’s Mandatory Immunization and Tuberculosis Screening Requirements.  


Health Insurance

The United States does not provide socialized medical care; currently, no national health insurance coverage system will cover foreign nationals. Consequently, you must purchase the Colgate Student Health Insurance plan. This Colgate policy has been specifically designed for college students. In developing this policy, Colgate has worked with its insurance carrier to strike a reasonable balance between cost and comprehensive coverage. The plan includes benefits for medical evacuation and repatriation.

For further health insurance information, please see our Health Insurance page or contact Student Health Services at 315-228-7750.

Health Care in the United States 

In the United States, unlike those countries with nationalized health care, fees are charged for all health services received.  The cost of those services generally increases with the level of care provided, with “primary care” services being the least expensive and “emergency care” or “hospitalization” being the most expensive.  While a student at Colgate, your student tuition covers the majority of costs associated with any visit to Student Health Services. Colgate’s required health insurance is intended to help defer the costs of other medical services, should they be necessary.  Please see the description below.  

Primary care

In the United State, for most illnesses, injuries, and preventive health care, people usually go first to their “primary care provider” – similar to your family doctor or health practitioner at home.

For Colgate students, Student Health Services (SHS) will be your primary care provider.  That means that for most of your medical needs you should start with SHS. If necessary, we will make a referral to other community providers.  For a listing of the services we provide, please refer to our Treatment and Services page.

Specialized care

Student Health Services provides some limited “specialty” medical services, including sexual health care, travel health consultations, limited laboratory testing, allergy shots, and some medication.  Additional “specialized” services for mental health counseling, alcohol and substance abuse and nutrition counseling are available from our campus Wellness Partners.  

Should you require specialized care that is beyond what is available on campus we can assist in helping you locate a community provider.  It is important to know that In the United States, medical providers, both primary care physicians and specialists, must be trained and licensed to practice medicine.

If you should require dental or vision care while you are studying in Hamilton, a list of local providers may be found here: Dental Services; Vision Care

After-hours urgent care

Should you experience an urgent health concern when Student Health Services is closed, you are encouraged to visit Hamilton’s Urgent Care facility, between the Community Memorial Hospital and the Colgate townhouses.  Visit Community Memorial Hospital’s Urgent Care page for hours and more details.  

Emergency care

For life-threatening health problems – such as traumatic injuries, breathing problems, high fever, alcohol poisoning, mental health crises, etc. – you should contact Colgate’s Office of Campus Safety or go directly to Community Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Department.  If necessary, Campus Safety will dispatch an ambulance to your location.  Campus Safety’s emergency contact number is: 315-228-7911

Prescription Medication

If you take prescription medications or use a medical device, be sure to read guidelines on Traveling with Medication from the US Customs and Border Protection website.

Please arrange for prescription renewals and/or a supply of medications for the time you will be in the United States.  All medications should be stored in their original containers.

When you need additional medication, Student Health Services can look up your medication in an international database to determine the closest product available in the United States.

If you are currently in the United States, we encourage you to contact Student Health Services (315-228-7750) prior to your arrival regarding any transfer of prescriptions from within the United States.  

If you wear glasses or contact lenses, you should bring a copy of your current prescription, in case they need to be replaced.   

Counseling & Support Services

Americans consider emotional well-being as an important aspect of overall health care.  

Increasingly in the United States, international students are utilizing university counseling centers to assist them in addressing issues related to transition, adjustment, academic, and personal or family related concerns.   
Sharing very personal or private information with a professional counselor may be a new experience for some international students, especially for those more accustomed to sharing problems with friends or family members.  However, Colgate’s Office of Counseling and Psychological Services routinely sees international students for a variety of issues ranging from coping with cultural shock to depression, anxiety or other mental health concerns.  To schedule an initial appointment with a counselor, please call 315-228-7053.


All Student Health Services are confidential by law. See Confidentiality for details. 

Medical care at Student Health Services is strictly confidential.

The privacy and confidentiality of your health record are protected by law. Colgate University’s health records are maintained through a secure electronic health records (EHR) system and are completely separate from all other University records. Student Health Services will not release any of your health information without your written permission, except in the following instances:

  • In the event of your treatment at Community Memorial Hospital or another hospital or urgent care center, the community provider and Student Health Services will share relevant health information as needed for continuity of care.
  • If, in our judgment, releasing information is necessary to protect you or others from a serious threat to health or safety.
  • If it is authorized or required by law.

Similarly, Student Health Services does not routinely share information about your care with parents, faculty, or deans without your permission. Health information will be discussed with parents and faculty only at your request and with your written permission.

If you have any concerns about the confidentiality of our services, please speak with one of your healthcare providers.

  1. Be treated with respect, dignity and consideration without discrimination as to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or veteran status.  
  2. Have all aspects of your care explained to you in understandable terms and any questions answered.
  3. Discuss treatment options and their effectiveness, possible risks and side effects.
  4. Participate in decisions about your care and to give your informed consent to any diagnostic procedure.
  5. Have access to resources for health education regarding wellness/self-care and prevention of illness.  
  6. Be assured of the confidential treatment of disclosures and records and to have the opportunity to approve or refuse the release of such information except when release of specific information is required by law or is necessary to safeguard you or the university community.
  7. Refuse any medical treatment or procedure and to be informed of the consequences of such a decision.
  8. Receive information and/or guidance for continuing care to maintain optimal health.
  9. Receive appropriate referrals to other providers and services.
  10. An explanation of any financial obligations or charges.
  11. Discuss concerns about the care you receive.  
  12. Review your medical record with a clinician.  
  13. Refuse to participate in any research project. 
  1. Understand and use these rights.
  2. Seek medical attention promptly.
  3. Provide accurate and complete information about your past health history, that of your family, current status, relevant personal habits, and any other information pertinent to the public health of the campus community.
  4. Inform your care provider of any changes in your health status that could affect your treatment.
  5. Assist health care providers to compile a complete medical record by authorizing the Student Health Services to obtain necessary medical information from appropriate sources.
  6. Ask questions and get clarification regarding your condition or any suggested treatment.
  7. Ask about anything you do not understand.
  8. Follow the prescribed treatment plan and discuss any desired changes.
  9. Be considerate of other patients and Student Health Services staff.  
  10. Treat Student Health Services’ staff with courtesy and respect.
  11. Be prompt for scheduled appointments.
  12. Cancel appointments if you are unable to keep them.
  13. Accept financial responsibility for any charges you have incurred.