ExpensesThe cost of living in the United States may be high in comparison to your home country. The University cannot predict what individual expenses will be. Estimated expenses in the United States average up to $2000 per month, not including tuition and fees. Students should have at least $7000 available funds in US dollars upon arrival in Texas to cover registration fees and initial living expenses. For convenience, students should check with their banking institution and consider transfer of funds to a bank in the United States. Tuition and fees for the university may be paid with MasterCard or Discover Card credit cards. Banks in the US may supply students with debit/credit cards that can be used for expenses. Request the bank card to be MasterCard for tuition payment purposes.
Financial Backing Visa Requirements
The UHV Letter of Financial Backing Form, with applicant or sponsor's supporting bank documents. The bank documents must verify funds available in English with dollar amounts in US dollars. Bank document originals will be used for the visa process at the United States Embassy. You may submit a copy of the bank documents with the original UHV Letter of Financial Backing Form. If original documents are submitted, they will be returned with your approval letter. These documents must verify available funds for the student or sponsor. The INS Form I-134, Affidavit of Support, must be used by American sponsors. You may request this form from Admissions or see the INS website for Forms.
Annual expense estimates can be found on our International Admissions website.
You are free to open a banking account at any bank of your choosing. In deciding on a bank, keep in mind that banks offer a variety of accounts. Some accounts require a minimum deposit, fees per check, monthly service fee, and some offer free automated banking. You can visit bank websites and/or call different banks to see which bank offers the best plans and has convenient locations.
Wells Fargo www.wellsfargo.com
First Victoria www.firstvictoria.com
Bank of America www.bankofamerica.com
Money that you want to save can be kept in a savings account where it will earn a modest interest. Many banks do require that a minimum balance be kept. If the balance falls below the minimum, then the bank will charge you a fine or penalty. If a customer has a savings account and a checking account in the same bank, then the customer can transfer money from one account to another. Usually, a customer will keep a larger amount in their savings and withdraw it when they really need it. It is less for day-to-day expenses and more for emergencies. Banks will offer various types of savings accounts. A brochure and customer service representative should be able to help you decided which one is best for your needs.
People open checking accounts in order to pay for their everyday expenses in a quick and easy way. It is usually both convenient and safe. People usually mail checks to pay expenses such as rent, telephone and utilities. Like savings accounts, banks offer different types of accounts based on different needs of the customer, particularly how many checks will be written each month and what the minimum monthly balance will be. Paying by check is particularly helpful because it helps keep a record of payments you have made. When opening an account, use your passport as identification and use your name as it appears on the passport to avoid confusion.
While you are waiting to open a checking account, or if you have a problem opening a checking account, you can obtain a money order by going to the customer service counter of the post office or grocery store for a money order. You give them cash and in turn they give you a special check for the specific amount you requested. There are two copies; the top official check and the bottom copy/receipt. You should fill out the payee and then keep the copy. The post office or grocery store will charge you a fee for doing this service. It is usually between 50 cents and 2.00 dollars. This is both safe and easy.
ATM Cards / Debit Cards
The automatic teller machine is a computerized machine through which bank customers can make deposits or withdrawals at any time of the day or night. To operate an ATM, the customer needs a card that is issued by the bank. You must sign the back of the card. Some banks issue the card instantaneously. Other banks will mail the card to you. You will usually receive it a week or two after opening your account. You will receive a PIN (Personal Identification Number) in the mail as well, though not in the same envelope as the ATM (or Debit) card. There are ATM machines outside of banks, in grocery stores and on campus. If you use ATM machines from places other than your own bank's machines, you could be charge a fee. CAUTION: USING ATM MACHINES AT NIGHT, PARTICULARLY WHEN THEY ARE OUTSIDE CAN BE DANGEROUS. IF YOU MUST GET MONEY, GO TO AN ATM LOCATED IN A MALL OR GROCERY STORE. HAVE A LOOK BEHIND YOU BEFORE YOU START YOUR TRANSACTION.
Debit cards are similar but can be used to pay for transactions at most stores, restaurants, and gas stations. They are obtained from the bank where you have your account. They debit money from your checking or savings account. You can also use a debit card to get cash from an ATM or from a store once you have made a purchase. Sometimes the debit card is referred to as a check card because it allows you to do the same thing as writing a check but with the convenience of electronic transactions. Some banks offer a combination debit and credit card. This means that once your checking account funds have been used, it becomes a credit card that loans you the money.
Check your credit history and bank records frequently. Look for signs of inaccurate or suspicious activity.
How to Write a Check
1. Write the date on which you are "issuing" the check.
2. Write the name of the person or business to whom you are making the payment in the space labeled, “Pay to the Order of”.
3. In the little box, write the amount of the payment in Arabic numerals. Put the first numeral directly after the dollar sign, not leaving any space for another person to alter the amount of the check by writing in an additional numeral.
4. On the next line, spell out the number of dollars included in the payment, and write the number of cents in the form of a fraction (e.g., 50/100 means 50 cents out of the 100 cents in a dollar). Begin writing on the far left end of the line, and fill the entire line with your writing or draw a horizontal line through the remaining space so that no one can add numbers to the line.
5. Sign your name as it is printed on the check.
6. Note the purpose of the payment on the line marked "memo," if you need the information for budgeting
Immediately after you write a check you should record all the information from it on your check register. This includes the check number (personalized checks are numbered consecutively), the date the check is written, the name of the payee (that is, the person or business to whom the payment is being made), the amount of the check, and the fee for the check, if there is one. Then calculate the balance remaining in your account.
Some banks issue checkbooks that have carbon sheets behind each check. This affords you a record of each check without having to enter the information in a check register. You may keep a running balance on the check carbon. It is important to remember to calculate in fees and deposits on the carbons also.
Each month your bank will send you a statement of your account, showing the canceled checks you have written and they have paid. You should make sure your record of the amount remaining in your account coincides with the bank's record. The statement will reflect amounts subtracted from your account by the bank for service charges or for printing personalized checks. You should enter these amounts in your check register.
For more tips and helps on writing a check, go to: http://www.themint.org/spending/writingacheck.php