Budgeting Hints & Tips

Managing your finances is one of the most important and challenging aspects of a successful and enjoyable academic experience. Dealing with a new currency and cost of living are the beginning of the challenge.

When you are admitted to a U.S. institution, take a close look at the budget you prepared for yourself based on estimated expenses. Use this list to help you think about all the possible expenses you may have.

The estimates that appear on the I-20 or ISAP-66 are usually accurate, and international students are expected to have funds to cover the full amount shown. It is not possible to arrange for more financial aid once you arrive an an institution. If you are a graduate student and are awarded an assistantship, be sure you understand what it will include and what you will be expected to pay form your own pocket. If you will receive a scholarship or fellowship, determine ahead of time what portion of taxable and include the necessary taxes in your budget.


  • Tuition
  • Fees
  • Rent
  • Meals (Board)
  • Health Insurance
  • Recreation
  • Travel
  • Taxes
  • Family Expenses
  • Books
  • Transportation
  • Communications
  • Clothes
  • Personal Expenses

Financial aid awards are typically paid to you by checks and your U.S. bank account will have to be established before you will be able to cash a check. If you are receiving a scholarship or assistantship from your U.S. university, keep in mind that these awards are usually taxed are made. It is particularly important for you to realize that if you do get an assistantship you will not be paid for your first month's work until you have completed the month. Be sure you have enough money to support yourself for at least the first month.

IEFA logo
Thank you for visiting IEFA.org
Providing information about international financial aid & scholarships since 1998
2024 MPOWER Financing, Public Benefit Corporation
1101 Connecticut Ave NW Suite 900, Washington, DC 20036