Statement of Financial Support (SFS)
Requirement of Financial Statement Rationale!
Unlike domestic student applicants who are admitted to U.S. Colleges and Universities without needing to prove available funds to pay tuition and/or living expense bills, international students applicants must show this ability to pay. Even full scholarship recipients must show a minimal amount of funds as readily available. As part of the requirement to receive an I-20 from a U.S. School so as to apply for a student (F-1) visa, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requires that we review an international student applicant’s funds (and/or that of a sponsor’s) to verify that funds are readily available to cover at least 2 consecutive semesters of full-time study, not only for things we set like tuition and room and board, but also for things like books and supplies and other non-educational matters. We must make every possible effort to ensure that international students will not have unnecessary financial difficulties when studying in the U.S.
To take matters further, the DHS expects U.S. Colleges & Universities to ask applicants to provide proof of ability to cover expenses like room and board even if they will not be used. Of course, students will only be charged for what is used (tuition, room/board, books, etc.), but we must verify that all possible expenses exist in case they become needed. Even full-time commuting students who do not live on the McNichols Campus and eat our food must still pay to live and eat somewhere. So, we are required to assess this need. Again, the DHS wants us to ensure (as best we can) that international students have sufficient funds to support themselves or that they are being financially sponsored with sufficient funds for educational and noneducational expenses that may impact their educational stay in the U.S.
Now, let me elaborate on the figures that many people question when reviewing the financial charts that we use, and you may want to have a copy of the financial chart in front of you as you do the following calculations. We know that people want to know exactly what they will pay for their education. However, there are two areas that make it difficult to provide a definite amount when financially planning for an international student’s ability to come to study in the U.S. First, the most estimated figure is the personal/miscellaneous fee, which may never be needed by a student but must be factored into the overall banknote amount; even students receiving a full scholarship must at least show this amount as readily available. When a U.S. College or University admits an international student, before being able to issue an I-20, we must assess for more than just tuition, room and board; we must also consider expenses for non-educational needs (e.g., personal hygiene items, extracurricular activities, travel, etc.).
The second estimate is the fee for books and supplies. Because we do not know how much it will cost for these things over a period of two semesters, we use an estimated average supplied by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that is based on a survey of all U.S. Colleges & Universities in the western hemisphere. While my conversations with students has led me to believe that it does not cost this much for books and supplies over 2 semesters at UDM, we are required to include an amount for books and supplies into the overall banknote amount, and this is how most Schools do it in the U.S.
So (while you must still show the overall banknote amount as listed in order to receive an I-20 if you are academically admitted to UDM...), to give you a more realistic amount of your education at UDM, deduct the personal/miscellaneous fee and the books and supplies fee. Then, if you will not live on the UDM Campus and use one of our meal plans, deduct room and board too. Finally, multiply the final figure by 2 (for graduate students) or 4 (for undergraduate students). NOTE: every year, tuition and living expenses increase. So, understand that, even when you use this method to get an estimate of the total cost of your education at UDM...this is only an estimate.
In conclusion, we can only accept a reduced financial statement/banknote amount for international student applicants who are currently in the U.S. on work visas (e.g., H-1B, H-4, L-1, L-2, TN, or TD); for Canadian Border Commuter Students who will attend UDM as part-time students; and for international students receiving grants, scholarships, and tuition discounts approved by the University of Detroit Mercy.