There are many reasons students from around the globe are flocking to the U.S. for college. These include access to a variety of top universities, job connections within particular majors as well as the opportunity to grow personally and academically. Canadian students in particular are heading stateside. In fact, more than 28,000 Canadian students headed south for their studies during the 2013-2014 academic year alone. This represents a 5.5 percent increase from the previous year (according to the International Institute of Education).
A great U.S. education can come with a high price tag. Because international students pay out of state tuition, the cost to attend college in the U.S. can be high when compared to Canadian universities. This makes it is more important than ever for Canadian students to understand how they will pay for college and to closely manage their everyday expenses.
Here a few tips to help Canadian students minimize the costs and headaches associated with managing expenses across the border:
- Determine financing: Paying for university can be daunting. First, determine how much you will pay for college and whether you need to apply for student loans or scholarships. Don’t forget to take exchange rates between Canada and the U.S. into consideration! Consider transferring the money you will need for tuition, books and living expenses at one time to take advantage of better exchange rates on larger amounts and to avoid the fluctuations that may occur throughout the year.
- Reach out to your school and peers: Find out if your U.S. school has groups supporting international students. You may find the school and your friends have tips of their own, including recommendations to help you navigate the cross-border experience. Talk to people who have been in a similar situation, and find out what can be done before you move to ensure a smooth transition.
- Be sure to have the right documentation: Your passport needs to be current, and you may need additional documentation like your Social Insurance Number, citizenship card, Student Immigration Visa or even banking and student enrollment information. Prepare a comprehensive package before you leave for school.
- Determine your financial and banking needs. Foreign transaction fees on Canadian credit cards are costly and wire transfer fees add up quickly (typically $75 per transfer). However, Canadian students must pay for tuition, books, housing and daily needs while in the U.S. It’s recommended that international students open a U.S. bank account with a U.S. financial institution to help minimize costs. Finding a bank which can provide online cross border fund transfers capability will make managing your U.S. finances easier and more convenient no matter which side of the border you are on.
Managing school expenses can be difficult – particularly when you’re attending school in a country with a different currency. However when you open a U.S. bank account with an established cross-border leader such as RBC Bank, you’ll get the best advice and the solutions that fit your mobile lifestyle.
About Alain Forget:
Alain Forget is the director of U.S. business development for RBC Bank. Alain has been with Royal Bank Financial Group, one of the 10 largest financial institutions in North America for 37 years. Alain has performed various business and sales leadership roles in retail, commercial banking, and sales & marketing, domestic & international wealth management. With over a decade of cross-border banking experience, RBC Bank provides necessary support for working with Canadians. Reach him at email@example.com.