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Before beginning your travel to the University of Cincinnati, please remember that your initial expenses here will be considerably higher than those you will incur later. Therefore, it is necessary for you to bring at least $2,000 in United States currency or traveller’s checks to cover these expenses.

Even if you are going to receive financial support from the University, your first check will not be available upon your arrival. The University issues paychecks on the first of the month for the previous month. Therefore, it will be at least a month after your arrival before you receive your first stipend check!

Before you arrive, you will need to pay for:

  • tuition & fees
  • health insurance 
  • books for your classes
  • apartment security deposit (if applicable)
  • first month’s rent
  • food and other necessities

You must figure your finances carefully and plan on these expenses without help from the University.


Foreign Currency

To prepare to meet your financial needs for the entire year, you should make the necessary arrangements with your government, your sponsor, and any banks involved to ensure that these funds will be available to you. Remember that checks drawn on foreign banks will require several weeks to clear and therefore you will not have access to those funds right away! In order to have money available to you upon arrival, the necessary funds should be transferred to a local bank in Cincinnati at least one month prior to your arrival.

Opening a Bank Account in the U.S.

As you begin to settle in to life in Cincinnati and begin your academic life at the University of Cincinnati, you will need to open a bank account. When you open an account with a bank, most banks require two pieces of identification, such as your passport and UC ID. Before you go to the bank, you need to be familiar with the basic customer identification programs that financial institutions must follow in opening any new accounts.

Documentation to bring with you

  • Your unexpired passport
  • Your I-94 card
  • Your I-20, DS-2019, or I-797 approval notice
  • Any secondary form of identification you may have
  • Form W-8 BEN if you are a student not eligible for a SSN or ITIN

To assist you, the UC International Services will provide you with a letter to the bank confirming your status at UC and asking for their assistance in opening your account.

* Opening a Bank Account 
A letter from UC International Services to help you open a bank account in the U.S.

Bank Customer Identification Programs (CIP)

In an effort to reduce money laundering, U.S. financial institutions are required to verify the identity of every individual who opens a bank account. In compliance with federal regulations, all banks operating in the U.S. have established Customer Identification Programs (CIP) that they are to follow for anyone who seeks to open an account. While the specifics of the CIP may vary, Department of Treasury regulations found at 31 CFR § 103.121 set forth the following minimal information that the banks must obtain from you:

  1. Your name
  2. Your date of birth
  3. Your street address (P.O. Box)
  4. An identification number

The regulations 31 CFR § 103.121(b)(i)A)(4)(ii) clarify that for a non-U.S. person, the identification number shall be one or more of the following:

  • A taxpayer identification number (see discussion below).
  • A passport number and country of issuance.
  • An alien identification card number.
  • Number and country of issuance of any other government-issued document showing nationality or residence and bearing a photograph or similar safeguard.

It is important to remember that banks establish their own customer identification programs and may ask for additional documentation because they are ultimately responsible for establishing the identity of their customers.

Checking Accounts

Banks offer different types of checking accounts designed to fit individual needs. The cost of checking varies from bank to bank. Some banks charge per transaction, some have a basic monthly fee, and others offer free services if you maintain a certain minimum balance in your account at all times.

You should be able to access information regarding your personal account, including all transactions and deposits, through the bank's website. This will be secure information that only you can access.

Be careful to keep an accurate record of every check you write in order to avoid having checks returned and incurring additional charges. “Bouncing” a check (writing a check for more money than you actually have in the account) is illegal and can cost you time and money. Through some banks, you can apply for a line of credit attached to your checking account that provides overdraft protection.

Debit Cards

A debit card, also known as a check card, allows you to withdraw or deposit money to your bank account using an automatic teller machine (ATM) and to make purchases at stores that accept the card. Some debit cards carry a credit-card logo (such as Mastercard or Visa), and can be used in place of a check or credit card. Debit cards are not credit cards, however, and they can be used only to pay with funds in the account to which they are linked.

Credit Cards

Credit cards may be convenient, especially if you unexpectedly have major expenses. You can pay University and medical fees, airplane tickets and car repairs with any major credit card. However, you can easily accumulate large bills with credit cards, and before you know it, you may be in debt.

Before you accept a credit card, you must be sure to understand all your obligations. Most banks charge an annual fee. If you are unable to pay your full balance each month, you will be charged high interest rates (usually 18% or higher) on the remaining balance and any additional charges you make. Make sure you stay within your budget when making credit card purchases.

Savings Accounts

A savings account enables you to save money and accumulate interest on your savings. Interest is paid either monthly or quarterly. The difference between a savings and a checking account is that you cannot write checks on a savings account.

Cashing checks

To cash a check, you will need to endorse it by signing your name on the back. In addition, you will be asked for personal identification in the form of a driver’s license, a State of Ohio ID card, or a UC ID card. Some stores will cash a check for you if you shop there regularly. Supermarkets may allow you to pay by check, with authorization from their credit department, if you present the ID they request (usually an Ohio driver’s license).

Bank Cards

Many banks issue cards that enable you to deposit and withdraw money 24 hours a day by use of an Automated Teller Machine (ATM). These machines, which are frequently located outside the bank, are very convenient. By using a bank card, customers avoid waiting in line at the bank and have access to funds or money after the bank closes. Banks that are members of a national ATM network allow you to access your funds with your bank card at selected ATMs throughout the country. There are many ATMs located on campus.


The subject of taxation can be complicated for Americans, let alone visitors to the United States. UC International Services is here to assist you in any way we can. Our responsibility in this area is to assist individuals and departments in understanding and complying with US Treasury regulations on taxation.

Our day-to-day functions primarily involve assisting visitors and departments with completing documents at the beginning of any employment/scholarship contract (W-4’s 8233’s, W-9’s, W-8BENS). We also coordinate a variety of programs to provide tax return filing assistance for non-resident and resident aliens, even if they are no longer in the United States. View our Employment & Taxes section for more detailed information on paying your taxes in the U.S.

Emergency Fund

For the 2016-17 academic year, the University of Cincinnati has established an emergency fund for international students who have experienced a severe and unforeseen economic hardship as a result of emergency circumstances in the home country that are beyond the control of the student or their sponsors. 

Emergency circumstances can include:

  • a severe devaluation of the home country’s currency,
  • natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, or tsunamis,
  • civil unrest, or
  • other special circumstances deemed legitimate by UC. 

Circumstances that will not be considered for emergency funding include:

  • loss of a graduate assistantship,
  • loss of a job by a parent or sponsor,
  • unexpected bills or expenses, and
  • other related expenses. 

Students must make every effort to obtain support from family, friends, and other sources before making this request. When considering requests for funding, students must demonstrate that they have actively pursued funding from their college/department.

The emergency fund is meant to be a temporary, supplemental fund. It is not meant to be a significant, long-term funding source for students. When necessary, preference will be given to students based on GPA and students in their final term of study.

Students who wish to apply for emergency funding must document to UC International Services the “severe” and “unforeseen” economic hardship using the application form linked below. Significant supporting documentation is required and is detailed on the application form itself. A special committee consisting staff from UC International, Enrollment Management, The Graduate School, the Bursar’s Office, and the VP for Finance will review all requests for emergency funding.

Questions about the emergency fund can be addressed to Ron Cushing at or 513-556-2879.