When you’re a student away from home, money is an important concern. Let us help you plan, save and manage your finances wisely.
Get answers to frequently asked money questions.
We recommend bringing traveler's checks in U.S. dollars. You may pay your tuition fees by traveler’s checks at the Student Business Services window, and they are safer to carry than cash.
You can also pay for tuition and fees with certain credit cards. If you pay online via Growl, keep in mind that Visa cards are not accepted. Growl only accepts Discover, MasterCard and American Express.
Do not bring a check or draft in foreign currency, even from a non-California bank, since access to your money will be restricted for up to one month until the check is cleared. This is also true for any wire transfers, as you will not have immediate access to the money.
All fees must be paid in full by the end of the third week, or your student status will lapse and you will be dropped from classes.
“Late” fees are not charged for your first quarter of enrollment as long as you pay your fees by the third week of classes. However, if you continue your studies at UCR for more than one term, make sure that you note payment deadlines in order to avoid late fees and/or having your classes being dropped.
Contact Student Business Services for details.
Please see our International Student Handbook for detailed information about banking in the U.S., including how to open a bank account.
These banks are all within one mile of UCR:
Schools First Credit Union
1209 University Avenue (University Village)
1299 University Avenue (University Village)
Bank of America
1680 University Avenue
1651 University Avenue
Automated Teller Machine (ATM)/Debit Cards
An ATM/debit card is like a credit card, but the money comes out of your bank account. Use it to pay for merchandise, withdraw cash from ATMs and get cash back at many non-campus businesses. UCR has multiple ATMs. If you use an ATM that doesn’t belong to your bank, you will pay a fee.
Most businesses take credit cards, but the type of cards they accept will vary. You should bring a widely accepted credit card. Check with your bank to see if you can use your credit cards in the U.S. – and see if there are any potential foreign transaction fees.
Cash/Foreign Money Exchange
Exchange foreign money for American dollars at Bank of America. You can also exchange foreign checks, international drafts and money orders, but there may be a long waiting period to access the money. Traveler’s checks (in American dollars) are accepted at most businesses. You can buy traveler's checks at all banks. Fees will vary.
Be sure to carry identification if you use checks. You can use your passport if you don’t have a California driver's license or ID card. Businesses will not accept a check or draft in foreign currency or from a non-California bank.
You may be tempted to buy a lot of items you won’t find in your home country, do a lot of sightseeing and eat out with friends. Over time, these expenses—not to mention university fees and living expenses—can add up! Here are some tips to spend wisely and still enjoy your stay:
Read your I-20 or DS-2019 for estimates on minimum expenses, they are usually accurate.
Create an Excel spreadsheet or use budgeting software to make a budget and track your spending. Include categories such as:
As you track your expenses by category, see if you are going over budget and adjust your spending habits accordingly.
If you receive income on a regular basis, schedule your bill payments around when your income arrives
If you work or receive a scholarship or money from an assistantship, the U.S. government (Internal Revenue Service) and the California Franchise Tax Board will tax this income. Learn more about tax resources.
Be careful with your private financial information while in the U.S.
Follow These Guidelines:
If Your Identity Has Been Stolen
Contact your credit card issuer, your bank and the business where the identity thief used your personal information.
For instance, if you discover that someone bought items using your information at Amazon.com, contact your bank or credit card issuer and Amazon to let them know about the fraudulent transaction. They should work with you to credit your account.
Some banks can detect if someone is spending your money. They may contact you to let you know about suspicious transactions on your account. notify their bank in their home country of their plans to study in the U.S. so that they don’t suspect fraudulent activity.
Learn more about how to prevent and resolve identity theft at the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information site.