Financial Matters

It is important that students and scholars plan their finances carefully and not rely on earning a great deal of extra money after arrival in the United States. Employment in most non-immigrant visa categories is highly restricted by US government regulations, so new students and scholars should come prepared to meet all of their expenses. Moreover, financial assistance is usually not available to international students after arrival.

Cost of Attendance

The cost of attendance at Southeastern differs for undergraduate, graduate, and students in the MBA program.  Tuition and fees for each level of study are estimated as follows per semester (to get the fees per year, double each amount below):



Undergrad (12 Credit hours)

Graduate (9 Credit hours)

MBA (9 Credt hours)

Out of State Fees:




Tuition & Fees:




Books, ID, Student Fee:




Room and Meals:




Health Insurance:









*Note:Students in the Nursing program should expect additional expenses for travel during clinicals, supplies, background checks, etc.  For a full listing of tuition and fees, please see this link Tuition and Fee Information.  Please note that these amounts are subject to change.  Amounts for the I-20 issued will reflect one full year - i.e. double the amounts above.

Tax Considerations

Another factor to consider in one's financial planning is that federal, state, city, and/or social security taxes will be deducted from most US-source salaries, scholarships, and stipends. With tax deductions typically ranging from 14 to 30 percent of the total income, one's available income may be significantly less than expected. The amount of tax deducted depends on the individual's earnings, tax status and whether he or she is a beneficiary of a tax treaty.

All individuals with US-source income are required to report their annual earnings to the Internal Revenue Service by April 15 of the following year. Anyone who has overpaid taxes during the year will receive a tax refund after filing the tax return. For more information on how University payments to foreign nationals are taxed, please see the ISO. 

More information on taxes can be found at these links:

Tax Information for International Students 

Initial Expenses

The financial demands on new students and scholars are typically highest at the beginning of the academic year because tuition, health insurance fees, and housing finances are due before the first day of class. Tuition and fees must be paid in full unless a payment plan has been arranged through the Controller's Office. Initial household expenses, cell phone, food, and books are other extra expenses to take into account. Thus, it is advisable to come prepared to cover all of these costs which will range from $5000 to $10000.

How To Open a Bank Account

Having a checking account will assure safe and quick deposit of foreign checks and free the account holder from carrying large amounts of cash. Banks provide monthly and/or online records of individual transactions from the checking account, thus allowing easy tracking of one's finances. Checks are typically used to pay monthly bills like rent, telephone, and electricity or certain retail purchases if accompanied by identification. Cashed checks are returned to the account holder after they are cleared by the bank, and may serve as proof of payment. It is a serious matter to write a check without having sufficient funds in the account. In addition to the various fees the bank will charge, the individual may suffer serious financial consequences and will be vulnerable to legal action.

Once you arrive to Southeastern, you may choose any local bank to open your account. Many banks require an individual to have a Social Security Number before opening an account. If you are not eligible for an SSN, please contact the ISO for further information. Students will also need a letter verifying their enrollment at Southeastern to bring to the bank. To obtain this letter, please submit a request by going to the Student Online Request Form. The letter will be issued to you within three business days and you will receive an email once it is ready for pickup. Along with the letter, you should also bring your passport, I-94 card, and I-20/DS-2019 with you to open the account at the bank.

Currency Restrictions

Some governments restrict the amount of money that can be taken out of the country. Others may restrict funds for students until an enrollment confirmation letter from the admitting US institution has been received. Before leaving home, it is advisable to determine whether any documents are required from the University in order to authorize the transfer of funds. In some cases the ISO can provide students the necessary documentation upon seeing proof of full-time student status.

Money Exchange

One should be aware of the home country's requirements for exchanging money and the value of the home country currency in the United States. Travelers must declare currency amounts over $10,000 at US customs upon arrival. United States coins are different diameters and represent different proportions of one US dollar: penny (1/100th), nickel (1/20th), dime (1/10th), quarter (1/4), and dollar (1). American paper money is green and all bills are the same size. The following are common bill denominations: $1, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100.

It is recommended that one obtain a small amount of American currency in coins and bills before arriving in the United States to cover miscellaneous initial expenses such as cab fare and meals. Most major airports have banks available for currency exchange and automated teller machines (ATM's) for those who decide to obtain US currency after arrival.


Many new students wish to earn money while they attend college to cover extra expenses or for entertainment. However, if you are an international student on the F-1 or J-1 visas, you must be aware of what is considered authorized employment. Most students who are in their first year of study in the U.S. are restricted to on-campus employment only. Working off campus without prior USCIS approval is considered unauthorized, or illegal, employment. For information on authorized off-campus employment, please visit the current student section on employment.

On-campus employment is often referred to as Work Study. This allows students to work in various departments on campus part-time. This is the best option for a busy college student as departments will work around a student's class schedule to assign their work hours. Students are paid at an hourly rate once a month.

International students must follow all USCIS policy when working on campus. To be eligible for on-campus employment, a student must meet the following requirements:

  1. You must currently be in valid F-1 status and in good academic standing at Southeastern while engaged in a full course of study, except during summer and school holidays.

  2. A student who is out of status is not eligible for F-1 benefits, including employment. Once on campus employment is secured, students must only work part-time (20 hours per week) while school is in session and follow all policy as mandated by the Work Study Office.

It is important to note that students who apply for Work Study are divided into two different categories, State and Federal. The Federal Work Study program is federally funded and only students who receive these funds can work under this category. Most, if not all, international students CANNOT be classified as Federal.

Many international students are classified as State Student Workers. This is defined as a student worker who is paid out of the budget of the department in which they are employed.

For information on how to apply for a Student Worker position, you may visit our Student Employment Network page. Student worker positions are not guaranteed and are only available if listed on the network site.