Before you come to the U.S. you should become familiar with your government's regulations regarding currency restrictions and the transfer of funds. Some governments restrict the amount of money that can be taken out of the country or require specific documentation before you are allowed to do so. If you need a letter from Wheaton stating that you have been accepted to study here and an estimate of the costs involved, contact the Foreign Student Advisor in the Foreign Student Office. We will supply you with a pro-forma invoice.
Immediate money needs upon arrival in the U.S.
As you will need some cash when you arrive, it would be a good idea to bring at least $100 per person with you in the form of traveler's checks. Money that has been deposited to your account at Wheaton will not be available to you until after you have registered for classes, about two weeks after you arrive. In addition, it usually takes about two weeks for banks to cash out-of-town checks.
It is a good idea to exchange currency for U.S. dollars before your departure, but you should not travel with large amounts of cash--there is too much danger of loss or theft. If you anticipate bringing large sums of money to the United States, ask a bank about the safest and most convenient means of carrying or transferring funds. If you make arrangements for funds to be transferred in U.S. dollars to a U.S. bank before you leave home, that money will be available to you when you arrive on campus. Foreign currency is not available in most U.S. cities, and the University and all local businesses accept only U.S. dollars.
When you arrive in the U.S., you should have sufficient funds to cover your expenses when you reach Wheaton. The amount depends, of course, on your travel plans. Once you have decided on your itinerary and estimated expenses, you should purchase traveler's checks in U.S. dollars for the amount of money you need. Traveler's checks, obtained at banks or travel offices, can be cashed by banks and most businesses, including hotels, restaurants, and airports.
It is also advisable to carry a small amount of cash--at least fifty dollars in paper currency and two or three dollars in coins or "change" for telephones, baggage lockers, bus fares, and tips. The lower denominations of U.S. paper money are: $1, $5, $10, and $20 bills; coins are 1 cent, (penny, $.01), 5 cents (nickel, $.05), 10 cents (dime, $.10), 25 cents (quarter, $.25),
50 cents (half-dollar, $.50) and 1 dollar ($1).
When traveling, it is best to carry any large sums of money in the form of traveler's checks. These may be purchased in amounts of $10, $20, $50, and $100 from most banks, foreign exchange brokers and American Express offices. A one percent commission is usually charged. At the time you buy traveler's checks, you sign your name on each one. You sign each one again when you cash it in order to prove your identity. Traveler's checks are a safe and convenient way to carry money, as most businesses, stores and restaurants accept them as payment for goods and services. You should keep receipt which you recorded the various check serial numbers and the date and place of purchase separate from the checks. This receipt will be needed for you to seek reimbursement if your checks are lost or stolen. It is a good thing to have $10-20 in $1.00 bills. They are negotiable in airports around the world and are an excellent resource in an emergency.
Payment of tuition, fees, and other charges is due at registration (when you enroll for classes).
If you wish to deposit funds in your student account before arrival, you may send a check to Student Accounts, Wheaton College, 501 College Avenue, Wheaton, IL 60187 U.S.A. Write on your check the student identification number assigned to you by the college and make the check payable to Wheaton College.
Do not proceed to the College with the expectation that you may be awarded an assistantship at a later date; plan on meeting your own educational expenses for the duration of your studies. No long term loan funds are available through Wheaton College. All students must therefore bring enough money to cover their expenses.
Married students who wish to have their families join them should realize their financial burdens. A married couple who can live inexpensively will require at least $8000 more per year than a single student will. Additional funds are necessary for each accompanying child for a minimum standard of living. Visas are not issued to the family of students unless they have sufficient funds for dependents in addition to the amount required for the single student. Many students find it best to delay bringing their families until they have found housing and settled in the community.
Money tranfers from foreign points to the U.S.
If you have a checking or savings account with an American bank which has a "correspondent" relationship with a bank in your home country, it will shorten the time necessary to receive the money. The American bank can tell you if it has this status. You should have the following information for each transfer:
- The name of the individual sending the money.
- The name and location of the bank sending the money.
- The date the money was sent.
- The method by which the money was sent.
- The exact destination of the money (bank name, street address, and branch number.)
All money transfers take time. Sometimes uncontrollable factors can lengthen the time necessary to receive a transfer. It is wise to maintain a savings account to meet your living expenses if such a problem should occur. You should make plans to receive the money well ahead of the time you need it.
Money transfers from the U.S. to foreign parts
Generally, there are two ways to send money abroad:
- You can send the item directly to the payee by purchasing an International Money Order or Foreign Draft or
- You can have the bank send the funds to the payee in care of a foreign bank, via air mail or cable remittance. The receiving bank will then notify the payee or deposit the funds to the payee's account.
Items relying on mail delivery are subject to theft, loss or delay. These should be sent by "registered" mail as an extra precaution. There can be tremendous delays (sometimes 6 months) in refunding money lost through the mail or cable systems, as the sending bank might have to trace the item before issuing a refund. These systems are not foolproof, but experience has shown that, in most cases, they provide adequate security.
It is not acceptable to send a Cashier's Check or personal check outside the United States, though this is sometimes done (primarily to Mexico and Western Europe). If a Cashier's Check is lost or stolen, the issuing bank may not be required to refund the money. Also, foreign banks are not required to accept such items. Frequently these checks are sent back to the U.S. for collection so the payee does not receive the money for a long time (frequently two months or more).