General Financial Tips and Resources for International Students

On Campus Support

Financial Aid Office-Counselors
Student Services Center, 3rd floor north
9500 Gilman Drive, Mail Code 0013
La Jolla, CA 92093-0013
Phone: (858) 534-4480

General Tips

  • Contact your home government and US Embassy in home country regarding specific scholarships
  • Contact ex-patriots of your home country to ask about support, networks, or potential scholarships
  • Contact your specific department at UCSD to ask about potential work or scholarship/grants for international students
  • Contact alumni from your program and/or home country to see if they know of any  specific funding opportunities
  • Monitor your accounts, review your bank statements on a regular basis and keep records. If there is a mistake, be sure to contact any relevant parties (i.e. the bank or the university).
  • Pay attention to any limits to the number of withdrawals or transactions that can be made from your bank account, as well as any fees.
  • Pay bills on time; it is important to establish a good credit rating*, and there may be extra charges for paying a bill late.
  • Be careful authorizing “automatic debits”, once authorized, the bank cannot prevent the organization from accessing your account.
  • Be smart about making purchases:
    • “shop around” by comparing prices from one shop to another
    • wait for sales
    • shop at discount stores
    • use your student ID for student discounts where applicable (i.e. museums)
    • buy used textbooks
  • Create a budget at stick to it. A typical budget includes:
    • Tuition and Fees
    • Rent
    • Utilities (i.e. gas/electric bill, internet provider bill, etc.)
    • Groceries
    • Health Insurance
    • School-related expenses (i.e. books, supplies, etc.)
    • Transportation
    • Phone and electronics
    • Personal Expenses
    • Travel
    • Fun and Recreation

Cost-Saving Tips

  • Apply for a job as a hall counselor or resident advisor (RA)
  • Apply for other on-campus jobs
  • Explore the possibility of taking general courses at a community college
  • Keep on top of your program and degree requirements, and make continual progress to completing your program of study in order to avoid costly delays
  • See if your own government has scholarships for studying abroad
  • See if there is funding available through the United States (US) Department of State or the US Agency for International Development

Common Banking Terms

  • Automatic Debit: funds are withdrawn automatically from your accounts by another institution
  • ATM (Automated Teller Machine): machine that is connected to  personal banking accounts where you can check your balance, transfer funds, and make cash withdrawals and deposits
  • Balance: amount of money in your bank account;  can also be used as verb to refer to the process of comparing statements and transactions
  • Charge-back fee: processing fee for a check cashed with insufficient funds
  • Checkbook: booklet that contains checks, deposit tickets, and a ledger to record transactions; The checks and deposit tickets are connected to your checking account at your personal bank
  • Credit: a deposit of funds to a bank account
  • Credit card: a small, plastic card issued by banks, businesses, etc. that enables the holder to obtain goods and services on credit; the user must pay back the lending institution monthly with interest
  • Credit rating/score: an evaluation of the creditworthiness of an individual based on an investigation of their financial resources, prior payment pattern, and personal history or degree of personal responsibility for debts incurred
  • Credit Union: an institution that provides banking services to its members, different from a bank in that it requires membership
  • Debit: a withdrawal of funds from a bank
  • Debit card (ATM card): A card used in place of cash, checks, or credit cards to pay for goods and services; connected to your checking account at your personal bank.  A debit card debits/withdrawals the amount paid for a good or service immediately.
  • FDIC insurance: insurance protection of your funds in your bank, backed by the US government
  • Insufficient funds/overdraft: withdrawing more money than is in your account
  • Personal identification number (PIN): security code used with your ATM card
  • Service Charge: a fee the bank withdraws from your account for various services
  • Stop payment:  an order from you to your bank to prevent a check that was written from being deducted from your account
  • Teller: a bank employee
  • Truncated checks: processed checks that are not returned to you with your bank statement; they are kept on file at the bank

Other Resources

  • is a financial publishing site that has tips for college students, including 12 Money Management Tips for College Students.
  • eduPASS, The Smart Student Guide to Studying in the USA, provides excellent articles, charts and links about financing college.
  • The Foundation Center is an online resource devoted to foundations that fund individuals. The site also features a section for international grant seekers!
  • is a database of scholarships, fellowships and grants organized and maintained by the Institute of International Education (IIE).
  • The Fulbright Program provides funds for students, scholars and professionals to undertake graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and teaching in elementary and secondary schools.
    Established in 1946, Fulbright aims to increase mutual understanding between the peoples of the United States and other countries, through the exchange of persons, knowledge and skills.
  • GrantsNet features a database of funding opportunities in biomedical research and science education. Post-graduate status is necessary for most awards without U.S. citizenship requirements.
  • is an online financial aid resource for students wishing to study in a foreign country.
  • provides access to loans for non-U.S. students wishing to study in the USA, U.S. citizens studying abroad, and Canadian citizens studying abroad. Its sister site,, is also a valuable resource for globally mobile students.
  • The International Education Financial Aid Page features a searchable list of grants, scholarships and loan programs for international students.
  • Peterson’s College Search provides information about different colleges and universities and related topics.
  • Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation administer a broad range of humanitarian and educational programs designed to improve the human condition, world understanding and peace. Learn more about Rotary's Ambassadorial Scholarships, Grants for University Teachers, and World Peace Scholarships for study at their Centers for International Studies in Peace & Conflict Resolution. 
  • Mobility International USA offers a top-notch Financial Aid Resource Sheet for people with disabilities. The organization empowers disabled people around the world through international exchange, information, technical assistance and training.
  • NAFSA: Association of International Educators  promotes international education and professional development; its site offers resources, such as Financial Aid for Undergraduate International Students.
  • The National Collegiate Athletic Association's official web site provides details of limited scholarships available for outstanding student athletes.
  • The Soros Foundation Network supports the development of an open society through funding specific educational opportunities around the world.
  • US News & World Report is an American news magazine that offers information on higher education schools, rankings, and financial information, including tips on paying for college.
  • Young Money Magazine is a resource that provides financial information on a variety of topics specific to young people.