University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

Frequently Asked Questions

1: Does ISSS have any financial assistance or scholarships for international students?

Our office has a limited amount of funding for international students on F-1 or J-1 student visas. The International Student Funding Programs (Need-Based Academic Support, Emergency Funds, and ISWOP) can only help support educational expenses such as the cost of tuition, mandatory student fees, health insurance, books (sometimes), and expenses related to emergency situations. Our Need-Based Academic Support program is need-based, and it is targeted to help students who are experiencing unexpected financial hardship and are in the final stages of their degree programs.

2: What is the difference between International Student Funding and other scholarships?

The International Student Funding Programs (Need-Based Academic Support, Emergency Funds, and ISWOP) are need-based, rather than merit-based; academic performance is only one funding criteria.

There are other scholarships also available through ISSS. For more information, please view the Colonial Dames of America Scholarship for graduate and professional degree students and new student scholarships for incoming undergraduate students (current undergraduate students can not apply for these funds).

3: Who can apply for International Student Funding?

You must be on an F-1 or J-1 student visa to be eligible to receive International Student Funding, There are additional eligibility criteria for each type of funding. Please see each application's information for more details.

4: I want to attend the University of Minnesota. Can I receive financial assistance?

There are very limited scholarships available for new undergraduate international students. To find more information, please visit

The Need-Based Academic Support funding program does not fund first-year students. This program is designed to help students graduate who are in the final stages of their degree program and who are experiencing unexpected financial hardship.

5: Can I appeal a decision regarding my International Student Funding application?

If your application for Need-Based Academic Support has been denied, or if your award has been withdrawn or reduced, you can request that the decision be reconsidered by the Appeals Committee. An International Student Funding Counselor can give you an appeal form and explain the process to you. When appealing, you will need to provide new or additional information to support your case. All decisions made by the appeals committee are final and cannot be appealed.

6: Are there any loans for international students?

The following websites provide information about loans for international students. ISSS does not endorse the options given on these websites.

7: How do I demonstrate financial need?

When you complete the Need-Based Academic Support application, you will need to download and complete a "Verification of Source of Funds" form. The person/organization listed as your source of funding on your I-20 or DS-2019 must complete this form. If you have more than one source of funding listed on your documents (for example an assistantship or funds from relatives, friends, or yourself), a separate form needs to be completed by each funding source. For example, if your parents are the source of your funds on your I-20, your parents must complete the "Verification of Source of Funding" form.

8: Do I have to be employed?

Because the International Student Funding program has limited funds, it is not intended to cover ongoing living expenses such as rent, food, clothing, etc. We give priority to international students who are employed either on or off-campus.

Please remember you must receive a work authorization before you can work off-campus.

9: How do I find a job?

On-campus employment options can found be found here.

International students are not eligible to apply for any type of work-study position. Before pursuing any off-campus employment, please consult with an ISSS Adviser.

10 : I am a graduate student and my department cannot give me an assistantship. What should I do?

You have several options, including:

  • You can look for assistantships in other departments.
  • You can pursue regular student on-campus employment to help you cover your living expenses.
  • You can also consult with an ISSS Adviser regarding off-campus employment authorization.
  • If you have had an assistantship of 25 percent time or more for at least one academic year, you can contact the Graduate Assistant Employment Office and apply for the extended tuition benefit. If approved, you could, potentially, be charged the resident rate for your tuition.

ISSS offers the International Student Work Opportunity Program (ISWOP) which provides half the salary and benefits for a graduate assistantship position. A student’s department covers the other half of the salary. ISWOP funds are given to the department, not the student.

11: Do I have to repay the International Student Funding award from ISSS?

No, you do not have to repay funding once it is awarded. Only in extraordinary circumstances (such as when a student provides fraudulent information on their application) have students had to repay their award.

12: I have a 4.0 GPA. Am I entitled to receive a scholarship from ISSS?

The International Student Funding Program is primarily need-based, so academic performance is only one criterion that is considered when making a decision.

You may ask your college office or academic department if there are any merit-based scholarships available. If you are an international graduate student, you may want to consider applying for the Colonial Dames Scholarship.

13: My GPA is below the minimum (2.5 for undergraduates, 3.0 for graduates/professional students). What should I do?

You should discuss your concerns and your situation with an International Student Funding Counselor. Decisions about International Student Funding applications are made on a case-by-case basis, and individual circumstances are taken into account whenever possible.

14: When is the application deadline? What happens if I miss the deadline?

There are priority deadlines for Need-Based Academic Support each semester. Check with an International Student Funding Counselor for the specific deadlines. If you miss the deadline, ISSS will accept applications until funds are exhausted. The longer you wait to apply, the greater your risk of not being awarded.