Tax season has already begun and many international students are not aware that they must file a US tax return as well – even if they’ve never earned any money in the US. All students must file their US taxes on or before April 18, 2016. For most international students, this process will be easy and straightforward. Read on to see what you need to submit, as well as helpful resources in case you need assistance
Does Everyone Need to File?
As part of your visa requirements all international students are required to file taxes. The forms you will need to submit are dependent on whether you have made any income or not.
Regardless of whether you’ve earned income or not, all international students and their dependents must file Form 8843. If you are in the US with dependents, this form must be filed by your dependents independently (which includes a separate envelope!).
What is Eligible for Taxation?
If, as an international student, you have been receiving an income in the US, then you will need to pay taxes on it. Below are 3 common sources of income for international students:
- Wages from a job in the United States (on-campus, off-campus, OPT job)
- A scholarship from an American organization
- Interest made from an American bank account
For a complete list of what could be considered a potential income source be sure to check the IRS website. If you have received income in the last calendar year, you will also need to file Form 1040NR-EZ.
For more in-depth information regarding how to file your taxes and what forms you’ll need to submit, be sure to read the Student Tax Return page from InternationalStudent.com.
Most of you have started or will be starting a new semester. At the start of each new semester, is when students find themselves spending the most money. On what, you ask? A new course load means new classes and new classes mean lots of new books. It´s that time of the year where you need to go through your class syllabi and add up how much you´ll be spending on books. Every year it seems that textbook prices keep on rising, but at the same time the opportunities to save money on books are constantly growing as well. Below are 3 ways to save money on textbooks, which you can then use to enjoy your weekends! Read the rest of this entry »
As globalization continues, so does the opportunities for international and cultural exchange. In the past month of October, The Institute of International Education participated in a historical event which allowed representatives from 12 U.S. universities to travel to Cuba to learn more about its higher education system and to explore what opportunities may exist for future partnerships. The delegation, comprised of about 30 university representatives, was led by IIE´s President and CEO, Allan E. Goodman. Participating universities included Associated Colleges of the Midwest; Central Washington University; Indiana University; Lehman College, CUNY; Oberlin College; Rutgers University; SUNY New Paltz; University of Arizona; Montclair State University; University of Tampa; Virginia Commonwealth University; and West Texas A&M.
Although there have always been travel restrictions between the U.S. and Cuba, there have been opportunities for American students to participate in Cuban study abroad programs. According to the IIE´s Passport directory there are currently 25 Cuba programs available for students. IIE´s Open Doors Report demonstrated that during the 2014/2015 academic year about 1,845 students participated in for-credit study abroad programs in Cuba. Unfortunately, Cuban university students have not had the same opportunities. With political relations opening between the two countries, IIE now has a new initiative to foster partnerships between the U.S. higher education system and that of Cuba. This delegation´s trip is only one of many stepping stones that are being taken on behalf of IIE´s Cuba Higer Education Initiative .
The birth of this initiative comes after Secretary of State John Kerry attended the official reopening of the U.S. Embassy in Havana in August. During this visit Cuba´s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodrigues Parrilla addressed the mutual interest of both countries to open ¨new areas of dialogue¨ and Secretary Kerry stated that it was of great importance that as neighboring countries, the citizens of each have the opportunity to meet each other and learn more about each other
IIE´s Cuba Higher Education Initiative includes a six-month program with Cuba called the International Academic Partnership Program (IAPP). This program focuses on assisting participating universities in the development and planning process of creating relationship and partnerships with universities in Cuba. To facilitate the process the initiative has an advisory board comprised of members from all different backgrounds. This advisory board and its members are work with these universities throughout the six-months.
Be sure to stay tuned, because with the growth of initiatives, comes the creation of scholarship programs!
Already decided where you want to go? For ideas on how to pay for your study abroad program, check out our section on Funding Your Education Overseas!
On October 1st, the Institute of International Education (IIE) announced that more than 600 partners have committed to the Generation Study Abroad Initiative and have pledged a total of $185 million.
Established by the Institute of International Education in 2014, Generation Study Abroad is a five-year initiative whose goal is to double the number of U.S. students who study abroad by the end of the decade. This initiative has brought together partners from K-12 organizations, U.S. universities and colleges, social networks, and international universities and organizations to address the biggest obstacles students face when deciding to study abroad: cost, curriculum, and culture.
In just one year, these partners have begun to make practical changes to address these issues by focusing on: Read the rest of this entry »
Once you have arrived to the US and begin settling into your new college environment, you may start to notice that most people do not carry around much cash. Almost everywhere, including parking meters, allow for the option of paying with a debit or credit card. For those international students who plan on staying a year or more, opening up a US bank account will make almost every aspect of your financial life a little bit easier.
Why Open Up an Account?
In the US, the norm has shifted from carrying a wallet full of bills to a wallet full of cards. However, having a bank account won’t just be convenient when it comes to your personal spending, but can be useful in paying for bills and cashing checks.
- Rent & Utilities: Although most students live on campus their first year, many tend to move off campus for their second. Off-campus housing means that you´ll be renting an apartment from a private owner that may have no affiliation with your university. Many off-campus residencies provide online portals for their tenants to be able to pay rent via the internet. Many gas and electric companies also utilize an online payment system. By having a bank account you’ll be able to make all of these payments quickly and easily.
- Cashing Loan Checks: Whether you will be receiving extra money from financial aid or you will have leftover money from your student loan, you will most likely receive it in the form of a check. With an account open, it will make the process of cashing these checks easier and give you a safe and secure location to keep it stored away.
- Getting Paid: For those of you who are planning to make some extra cash by working on campus, you will learn to love direct deposit. In the US most people receive two paychecks a month. With a bank account open you will be eligible to receive direct deposit, which means that rather than receiving your check then having to go into a bank to cash it, your money will go straight to your account on payday.
Read the rest of this entry »
In addition to planning and creating a study abroad budget, there are a few ways that international students can cut down on their educational costs – pre-departure.
If you want to study in the US, any penny pinching done before going abroad is extremely helpful. However, having a college fund isn’t the only way to save money. What many international students are not aware of is that the process of applying to US universities costs money too. What am I talking about?
Most universities charge a fee to submit an application. It is also quite common for public universities to charge a slightly higher application fee for international applicants, whereas many private universities usually offer a standard fee for all incoming applications. In the table below you can see 6 examples of application costs and the difference in fees dependent on your residency status. Read the rest of this entry »
This past February, Education in Ireland joined IIE´s Generation Study Abroad Initiative and committed to providing $100,000 for the project. Ireland’s Minister of Education and Skills, Jan O´Sullivan, T.D, stated that over the past ten years Ireland has been able to welcome over 60, 000 US students; as a result, according to IIE´s Open Doors Report on International and Educational Education, it has become the 9th most popular study abroad destination for American students. Now, as a lead signature partner of Generation Study Abroad, Ireland´s higher education system has found itself in a unique position that will allow it to showcase its universities and programs to a broader range of students.
Now you may be thinking, what if I don´t want to study in Ireland? Well not to worry! Education in Ireland is only 1 of the 67 international organizations who are currently committed partners of the Generation Study Abroad Initiative, in addition to 298 US universities. Read the rest of this entry »
For those U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have been thinking of studying abroad or enrolling directly in a European university, there´s good news for you! Over the past couple of months, the euro has been dropping in relation to the dollar; for the first time in about 12 years, it has fallen below $1.10. Why is this important? In terms of budgeting for your time abroad, the European Central Bank (ECB) has just helped you out. If you´ve been on the fence about whether or not now is the time to study in Europe – the answer is yes!
What is the European Central Bank?
In the United States, the entity that heads our monetary and financial system is the Federal Reserve. The European Central Bank, based in Frankfurt, Germany, plays the same role for all the countries that use the euro as their single currency. The countries that currently utilize the euro are the following: Read the rest of this entry »
There may be those of you out there who have stayed on top of the application process and scholarship deadlines, but have also taken the time to determine what extra funds may be necessary apart from tuition. These extra funds can sometimes be crucial, due to the fact that most people underestimate what their daily living costs may actually be. It is always better to be prepared for unexpected expenses. The idea of spending an extended period of time in a foreign country and not having an influx of cash may be daunting, but you do have options. Although there are many international students who do not work during their time in the US, it is not impossible and could be a great option for those of of you who would like to make some extra cash.
What Qualifies as an On-Campus Job?
As an international student, when you are accepted into a university you are given a student visa (F1, J1, or M1). Attending a university with any of these three visas requires you to be a full-time student. As part of this requirement, you do not qualify for employment in the any US establishment. However, most campuses offer employment opportunities targeted at the student body, which also includes international students. Read the rest of this entry »
If you are a US student planning to directly enroll in a foreign university, one of the most important things to stay on top of are the deadlines. Having a solid timeline outlined for applications (university, financial aid, loans) will help ensure that you take advantage of all financial assistance at your disposal. If you have made the decision to take out a private student loan, make sure that you have exhausted all your other options: scholarships and savings (and FAFSA if you are a US student). The college application process can be overwhelming, but here are some key loan tips to help ease the stress.
1. Ask and You Shall Receive
Knowledge is power; the more informed you are the easier your decisions will be. Foreign universities may have a different system than what you are familiar with, so it is a good idea to get in contact with the financial aid department. Opening a line of communication with the school´s financial aid advisors can help you create a solid financial plan. You can normally find the financial advisors’ contact information published on the school website. Here are some ideas of what may be worth asking: Read the rest of this entry »