Here Are The Financial Considerations You Should Make Before Coming To The U.S.

College is a major transition for everyone, even the most prepared students. There’s just an endless list of things to think about: studying for tough classes, preparing to meet new classmates , and packing to move overseas for the first time.

In the midst of this, it’s easy to miss out on key details in money matters, costing you a huge deal down the road.

But don’t worry! We’re here to give you a checklist of crucial financial considerations to make before coming to the U.S.

1) Demonstrate financial ability

Schools typically want students to demonstrate the ability to pay for academic and living expenses, while the US government also requires the demonstration of financial ability prior to a student being issued a Form I-20, a necessary step before applying for a student visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate.

Demonstrating financial ability can be accomplished through bank statements, employer letters or assets, as well as scholarships and financial aid letters from either home countries or the school themselves. For this step, work closely with your designated school official, or DSO, who serves as a liaison between a school and the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), a U.S. government program that ensures U.S. schools and international students comply with U.S. laws and regulations.

2) Draw up a budget

Assessing how to pay for college should have helped you be aware of specifically how costly education in America will be. Your next step is to draw up a budget for your 4 years as a student living abroad. Begin by first understanding both your maximum spending ability as well as your list of expenditures. For the latter, include factors such as rent, food, credit card bills and essentials such as phone and utilities. Be aware also of less visible, previously overlooked costs such as insurance premiums and book costs. Lastly, don’t forget to keep aside funds for emergencies or unexpected expenses in your plan.

Having tallied all of these, you’ll have to decide where you’ll need to cut down on leisure items, as well as how much part-time work you’ll want to take up as you study. The good news is that in general, international students who have an F-1 and M-1 visa are allowed to work on-campus and in specified training programs.

3) Apply for credit

Another way to pay for college is through student loans and more broadly, the use of credit. However, for international students, applying for loans and credit cards can be more difficult than for your US friends. You will often need a cosigner for your student loans, who is a permanent US resident with good credit who has lived in the US for the past two years. Not an easy bar to clear! Similarly, without credit history or a Social Security Number, international students still face challenges and an even harder time getting settled financially. For us here at ChrysCard, we’re working on how to make credit easily available to international students at low costs.

Hopefully, these steps have helped you understand the most important pitfalls to be avoided so that you can focus on the stuff that matters, like saying goodbye to friends and family, getting ready for classes and planning that weekend trip to Yellowstone or Washington DC after you arrive. In future, we will go in-depth on how to tackle each of these problems and how we at ChrysCard can help. Until then, take care!


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