University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

New Students


Preparing Your Financial Certification Form

Your I-20 or DS-2019 is a legal document that reflects the estimated expenses for tuition, fees, insurance, supplies, and living expenses. When you completed the financial certification form, you indicated that you have sufficient funding to cover those expenses.

The University and the USA government hold you responsible for the information you provided on the form. If you do not have the funds to cover these costs, you should defer your enrollment until you obtain adequate funding.

Bring Funds for Your Immediate Expenses

When planning for arrival, prepare to bring sufficient funds to pay your immediate expenses, such as a security deposit and two months’ rent, phone and electricity charges, and, possibly, the purchase of warm clothing.

We recommend that you open a bank account in the USA soon after your arrival. There are several different banks located near the University of Minnesota campus. When choosing a bank, ask if money can be transferred into the account from overseas if you plan to have money transferred to pay tuition, fees, mandatory health insurance, and ongoing living expenses.

If you choose to bring large amounts of money, we recommend carrying traveler's checks rather than cash. Do not put money in your checked baggage; you should carry it at all times.

Know Your Employment Options

Visa regulations vary about when/how international students can work in the USA. Additional information about employment is available in the International Student Preparation Course.

On-Campus Employment

J-1 students whose DS-2019 forms are issued by the UMN and all F-1 students may work on-campus for up to 20 hours a week during an academic year.

NOTE: On-campus student jobs are great opportunities to gain skills and experience. They can provide partial support, but they do not pay enough to fully cover a student's living expenses.

Off-Campus Employment

Off-campus employment is prohibited for F-1 students during their first academic year in the United States. J-1 students must receive approval from their J-1 sponsor prior to starting employment in the U.S.

Understand Your Assistantship or Fellowship

If you are a graduate student with an assistantship, your first paycheck will most likely not be issued until a month after the start of your assistantship. Therefore, you should bring funds to cover your initial expenses.

Your assistantship or fellowship may not cover all your expenses, so plan your budget and calculate how much additional money you may need for the rest of the year. The total value of your appointment or fellowship may be subject to a deduction of, as much as, 28 percent to cover taxes on the value of your tuition waiver.