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Anyone sent money to usa for university fees

(20 Posts)
Purplecarpet Fri 28-Jul-17 11:06:23

I've got to send money for ds's accommodation and insurance to the university in usa but they don't accept direct transfers from none US banks, probably because they'd have to pay fees. They have suggested sending it via Flywire and I've googled it and it seems to be what quite a lot of their universities use for international students. Anyone had any experience of this? I'm quite nervous (stressed to bits by it all tbh) about sending money this way as it will be about £5000. It all looks legit from what I have read.

OP’s posts: |
Borderbroons Tue 30-Jan-18 22:32:32

I'm just having to do the same for my daughter's University accommodation in the USA and wondered how you got on using Flywire? Or if anyone else has any experience of using it? The Uni have recommended it but I'd never heard of it although it does look reasonably OK - like you I'm a bit stressed at the thought of sending such a large amount of money through something I don't know much about!

Fortysix Wed 31-Jan-18 14:40:53

Flywire is great. Honestly really good. Used it four times now for various things. Took literally 24 hours to complete and not the time it stated.
The bit I needed to pay most attention to is when you go on to your own bank to transfer funds to Flywire. You have to remember you are transferring in £s sterling.
Also hugely recommend your DD opens a MONZO current account. Since the New YearMonzo do proper accounts and not just cards. DC finds this so much easier to use when transferring money back and forward from international friends when they share taxis/ pay for weekend trips etc

Peggyandkitty Tue 24-Apr-18 22:47:22

I've used flywire twice for transferring uni fees to USA and it is excellent. As forty says, it was done within 24 hours and the flywire staff are really helpful if you have any queries, emailing straight back and they have a live chat thing as well.
I was very nervous too but would definitely use again.

Needmoresleep Wed 25-Apr-18 13:05:29

Any other tips?

DS received a funded PhD Offer in the US two weeks ago, which is brilliant and something he has worked very hard for. However he has exams and then a pre-arranged holiday, and then has to be in the US at the start of August for a compulsory summer course. So a crash course in DS2019/SEVIS I-901/J1s.

He is lucky that there are a couple of Brits and a couple of people who graduated from the same UK University as him, who he got to meet on the offer-holders day so he has some tips on good places to live. But the admin, whether visa, banking or finding accommodation, still seems rather daunting.

Fortysix Wed 25-Apr-18 13:43:26

On top of Monzo and Flywire, mine has an emergency credit card which is really a '2nd cardholder' card on DH's UK based card. It's a Santander Zero account so does not incur individual foreign exchange transaction charges. It is set up so DC clears the balance every month from DC's account so DH doesn't actually use the account.

Finally DC set up an American bank account Wells Fargo on arrival once able to provide a permanent US address - ie US halls of residence.

Needmoresleep Wed 25-Apr-18 15:26:49

Thank you. DS will need to find a flat so it looks like he will have a bit of a catch 22. No address so no bank account, and no bank account so perhaps difficult to pay the deposit and first months rent. Other admin too. SIM card etc. He will have a busy few weeks.

mathanxiety Wed 25-Apr-18 20:43:53

Needmoresleep - does the university not offer postgrad housing?

mathanxiety Wed 25-Apr-18 20:45:19

Purplecarpet I recommend posting a duplicate thread in 'Living Overseas' for extra traffic and the experience of others who are in the US though not necessarily as students.

Needmoresleep Thu 26-Apr-18 08:19:08

Mathsanxiety, he is lucky in that the University he will be attending has plentiful cheap and safe accomodation near the campus and public transport is good. In contrast the postgrad housing is expensive, so everyone he met advised him to live off-campus. The difference will be being comparatively (for a student) well off or not.

He will manage. A few things have been immediately striking, like the support from fellow Brits, and from those who graduated from his University. Without being a natural networker, he seems to be part of some. I also suspect it feels more daunting, both because he has exams looming and relatively little time, but also because his current University is within walking distance of our home (and of the hospital where he was born, his nursery, his school etc). So this is the big adventure.

And my chance to make lists, and to research. I like lists so happy to receive suggestions.

user2222018 Thu 26-Apr-18 08:22:41

DS will need to find a flat so it looks like he will have a bit of a catch 22. No address so no bank account, and no bank account so perhaps difficult to pay the deposit and first months rent.

People coming to the UK have the same problem.

IME it is usually possible to use the university department as an address in the US (for PhD students and academic staff), although rules definitely vary by state.

Also look into traveller's cheques - the US still uses cheques more than we do, so not uncommon to pay rent by cheque.

As pp wrote, it would be unusual for the university not to have accommodation for international students, at least for the short term.

(If you name change for anonymity and then tell people the university/city, they may have more specific advice.)

mathanxiety Thu 26-Apr-18 08:34:14

A lot of the time university postgrad housing is covered in the financial package offered. I assume you have read through all of that though.

Off campus housing might also be covered though - DS's state university paid a housing stipend to undergrad students qualifying for financial aid, and the students paid rent to private landlords out of that. Not sure what the arrangement for postgrads was wrt private landlords and financial packages, I hasten to add, but I know there was postgrad university housing.

Some universities offer a postgrad student the opportunity to be a house parent in a dorm and accommodation comes with that role. It's sort of like a RA (resident assistant, aka house fellow, resident advisor, community assistant, resident mentor, residence don, peer advisor, community advisor, collegiate fellow, or senior resident). DD1 for various reasons roomed in an international dorm of her university and had a resident postgrad couple with their toddler living on the ground floor in a suite of rooms. They were responsible for four floors with eight students per floor. (Actually fewer students on the fourth floor which had single rooms iirc).

Needmoresleep Thu 26-Apr-18 08:58:19

My, very limited, understanding is that Private Universities tend to offer better packages than State Universities. Mainly because they have more money. Which means that many PGs will be trying to live on less than a UK student loan, so needing to save costs where they can. In contrast the most competitive Universities (Stanford, MIT, Harvard) seem to offer some seriously generous packages. DS' includes a free rail pass, so a further incentive to live off campus. And great because he has never learnt to drive. DD knows some UG there including one of her close friends. She reports that they seem to work far harder than at UK Universities: only one night out a week and no alcohol for under 21s. I assume PGs work even harder. That said, now the offer has sunk in and decisions made, it's starting to feel quite exciting.

First get him there and then deal with the empty nest.

user2222018 Thu 26-Apr-18 09:32:53

I assume PGs work even harder.

Yes, there is a culture of working long hours in the top tier US institutions (and indeed in US business). The long hours are not always productive but in grad school they are definitely expected.

(From the package mentioned I know which university it is!)

Needmoresleep Thu 26-Apr-18 10:18:14

User, thanks for the earlier advice. I had thought travellers cheques were a thing of the past. But equally what seemed to be the US equivalent of Zoopla or Right Move seemed seriously clunky, though there was enough suitable looking rental property to reassure him that there will not be a problem. I am not sure why I assumed the US would be ahead of us in routine stuff.

DS has had a bit of exposure to the US work culture at school where some of his peers were pushed very hard. To me the idea of a PhD and focussing academic study in a single area for five years sounds unappealing, but it is something he really wants to do, and first impressions are that the postgrads support each other.

I will PM you with the name of the University. Perhaps there is more than one that supports local public transport.

My research focus has now shifted to places to see when we visit him. The upside to the empty nest.

mathanxiety Thu 26-Apr-18 17:15:46

It's not really true across the board that private universities offer more for postgrads (or undergrads) though the top universities and a select few well endowed small colleges offer to meet 100% of demonstrated financial need for undergrads.

In both cases the circumstances of the student are taken into account. DS got a free ride to the local state flagship U for undergrad. This included free transport on the local buses serving the campus and surrounding urban area, which all students got. DD1 got a 95% of total cost financial aid package to the local top 10 in world rankings U. She managed to pay off her loans before graduating thanks to a punishing regime of PT work plus study/classes but she was well set up at graduation. (I think US students do work harder).

In part, the financial package depends on the subject area too - DS' state U pays top dollar for engineering talent across all engineering fields. Not so much for English Lit.

There may be a Tenant Union office in the surrounding area serving grad students (and others) who may or may not be familiar with private leasing, tenant rights, etc. The Tenant Union office was an invaluable resource to a cousin of mine who woke up one day from a nap in her sitting room to find a rat sitting on the arm of the couch looking at her. She terminated her lease and found another apartment with their help.

Some universities offer a list of private certified housing for postgrads and undergrads. This might be worth looking into.

You and DS should really find and then thoroughly mine the resources of the university where housing is concerned.

Your DS should get an Amex card and establish some purchase and payment cycles before heading off. His Amex credit record will follow him to the US.

It's a really good idea to attend international student or PG orientation day, where banks often have a booth offering account starting services, giving out brochures, etc. It's usually considered important to choose a bank with ATMs on campus or close to where the student lives. Since accommodation may not be settled immediately, having a convenient campus ATM might well be a sensible deciding factor since fees often apply for using an ATM not owned by your bank. The vast majority of US banks offer free banking for students. A student would open a checking account (current account) with the option of opening a savings account.

If your DS will have a job (as a TA or some other job on campus) he will have a paycheque, which can either be directly deposited or manually deposited. Without a bank account there may be fees associated with cheque cashing, or outright refusal to cash cheques. He could go to a Western Union desk but fees apply, and it is not a good idea to leave a premises with a few hundred dollars in your pocket on a regular, predictable basis.

It's very important to buy overdraft protection with a US bank account. There is no such thing as running an overdraft in the US. If you go even ten cents into the red you can be charged a whoppingly disproportionate fee plus the amount of the overdraft in order to get back into good standing. A 3c overdraft once cost my DD2 $47.03. Most accounts offer a feature where they freeze an account when the balance dips to a certain level (eg. $50).

There are also credit unions.

It would be a very good ides for your DS to learn to drive in the US no matter where he studies, depending on the terms of his visa www.usnews.com/education/blogs/international-student-counsel/2015/01/06/follow-these-steps-to-obtain-a-us-drivers-license.

Ability to drive is assumed almost all over the world and he will be looking for a job at some point. He will also need some form of state issued ID, and a driver's licence fits the bill. (A state ID would also do, however).

He will need paperwork from the university as well as documentation about his visa to obtain either of these IDs. He needs to contact the international student or international post grad office of his university for assistance and he also needs to look at the state DMV website for his state. He may need a social security number to apply for a licence or state ID. This will require application to the social security administration offices.

Passing the driving test is easy - the difficult part is finding a car to practice and take the test in.

It might be easier to learn as fast as possible in the UK, apply for a learner's permit in the US with all the necessary paperwork, study and take the written exam, then cross his fingers and take the road test before he gets too rusty.

Needmoresleep Fri 27-Apr-18 17:24:30

Thank you. Its all looking a bit more manageable.

On finances DS seems to have lucked out, as the package seems generous, is sufficient to meet via requirements, and should not require any contribution from him/us. I dont think he is expected to work in his first year, which is taught and fairly full on, and perhaps not his second, and he says they will allow him RA work rather than UG teaching.

Part of the cultural transition for our London boy will have to be him learning that in the US, people rely on cars. He is not convinced. He will find out.

Leeds2 Fri 27-Apr-18 18:03:14

Fwiw, Need, my DD is an undergraduate in the States and I think students are banned from taking cars onto campus as there is nowhere for them to park! Certainly, neither she nor her American friends have cars and rely on public transport to get them into the city centre/supermarket.

mathanxiety Fri 27-Apr-18 20:40:01

It depends on the campus, Leeds.

Want2bSupermum Fri 27-Apr-18 20:42:43

need no one accepts travelers checks anymore. Don't bother with them.

What city and state will he be living in?

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