You must plan carefully to have sufficient funds to cover the cost of an education in the United States. An estimate of your living expenses for one year in the US is listed on your immigration document.  This is only an estimate.  Please note that these expenses change yearly.  Please consult the International Admissions page for more details.

All CU students must have health insurance coverage for yourself and for your dependents. Carefully research the cost of insurance to see what plan serves you (and your family) the best - budget for the cost of insurance premiums, so that you are not surprised by unexpected medical bills.

If you will be buying groceries, the cost varies, depending on whether or not you have a family and where you shop. For a single person, groceries can cost as much as $275 per month.

Campus apartments or family housing costs vary, from $673 to $1,297 per month, depending on where you live.

Room and board rates in a residence hall run from $6,405 to $7,380, depending on which residence hall you have selected and how many roommates you have. Costs increase around five percent to ten percent each year.

If you live off-campus, expect to pay around $600 per month for an efficiency apartment to $1,600 per month for a house in Boulder County. Rent will be cheaper if you live with a roommate or roommates.

If you are an F or J student, you will have to pay a SEVIS fee to CU-Boulder. This is not the same fee as the one you paid to the Department of Homeland Security before you got your visa. The CU SEVIS fee is $40 per semester, and is included in your tuition and fee bill. 

If you are an F or J student, it is possible for you to work on campus, but you will need to have a Social Security number to be paid (see "Social Security Number" below). On-campus employment is limited to low-paying jobs, so you should plan to have enough money to cover your tuition and living expenses.

It is very important that you have sufficient funds available to you as you prepare to come to Boulder so you can meet your immediate expenses. Bring funds that are readily negotiable, such as traveler’s checks, a certified bank draft on a bank with a correspondent US bank, or an internationally approved credit card or automatic teller machine card.

You will need about $12,000 your first few weeks of school to cover the following expenses. These figures are only estimates, and can vary widely. 

  • Transportation to Boulder from the airport: $13 to $100, depending if by bus, van, or taxi
  • Accommodations for a few days: $300, hotel ($65 to $200/night) 
  • Food and living expenses: $100, varies considerably
  • On-campus housing: Included in your tuition and fee bill
  • Off-campus housing: $900, varies depending on rent and required deposits
  • Books and supplies: $875
  • CU health insurance: $1695 for one person; much more if you have dependents
  • Confirmation deposit: $200
  • PLUS tuition and fees:  varies

Tuition and fee billing is online at CU-Boulder.  No bills are ever mailed.  Students access their student account in MyCUInfo.  Because of FERPA, parents do not automatically have access to view the student account and pay online, but students can give them access.  This process is called “authorizing payers”.  Students and authorized payers receive email reminders on a monthly basis when bills are available online.  For more information about tuition and fees, authorizing payers, and paying online please visit the Bursar’s Office website at

You can use a U.S. credit card to pay your tuition (a 2.75% nonrefundable service fee applies to all credit/debit card payments). We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and DISCOVER. Tuition payments are due no later than the due dates posted on the Bursar's website. For other payment options, including wire transfers, see the Bursar's website.

If you have an appointment as a teaching assistant or research assistant, you will not receive your first month’s paycheck until you have been issued a Social Security number and have been placed on the University payroll. This will take several weeks. See “Social Security Number,” below. More specific instructions about obtaining a Social Security number will be available when you check in with ISSS; you cannot apply for a Social Security number from your home country. You must check in with ISSS before you apply. Confirm with a representative from your department exactly what they will pay towards the cost of your tuition, fees, and health insurance. Keep in mind that your department will not buy insurance for your dependents. For details on graduate tuition and fees, go to the Bursar's website.

Establish a checking account at a Boulder bank so that you can pay bills and not have to carry large amounts of cash with you. If you have substantial amounts of money paid to you in lump sums, you may want to establish a savings account or invest in short-term certificates of deposit so that your money will earn interest until you need it. If you have questions before you arrive, we suggest contacting one of these banks. These banks do not require a Social Security number to open an account, although they may require proof of a residence in Colorado.

When you arrive in Boulder, arrange for your bank to send funds to the Boulder bank of your choice. Then ask the bank in Boulder to open a checking account for you so that your funds will be immediately available. Money sent to a bank in Boulder must first clear through another bank in the United States. Find out from your bank at home which United States bank will be used for this transfer of funds so you can trace the deposit if it does not arrive promptly in Boulder. After your funds arrive, you can make any necessary changes to your account, such as putting some funds in a savings account or other investment account. When you open your account, make sure to fill out a W8-BEN form. Your bank will have the form. It shows the bank that you should not be taxed on the interest you earn on your account.

Another banking option is Elevations Credit Union, the University of Colorado Federal Credit Union, which has several branch offices in Boulder County. There is a branch located in the University Memorial Center (student union) on central campus: UMC 143, telephone (303) 443-4672. Boulder branch offices include the Diagonal Branch, Baseline Branch, and Table Mesa Branch. There are also branch offices in Lafayette, Longmont, and Broomfield/Westminster.

You may open a temporary account at Elevations Credit Union without a Social Security number, but you will have to show a copy of your application receipt, (which requires proof of employment) and a letter from ISSS verifying your eligibility for a Social Security number.

The mailing address is for Elevations Credit union is:
Elevations Credit Union, PO Box 9004, Boulder, CO 80301 USA

You cannot apply for a Social Security number (SSN) until all of the following have happened:

  1. have checked in with ISSS & waited at least one day.
  2. are enrolled full-time. 
  3. have a letter verifying employment.

ISSS will provide you with more specific instructions for getting your Social Security number after you arrive. Most international students receive their Social Security card in two to four weeks after submitting an application.

International Student and Scholar Services does not make financial aid awards. No financial assistance is available to you other than what has already been offered. You must have sufficient funds to attend CU-Boulder, and if you don’t, you should not come. Failure to carefully plan and budget could result in the termination of your studies. You will not qualify for a job that would cover the cost of an education at CU-Boulder, and US Citizenship and Immigration Services monitors non-immigrant student employment very closely.


In order to save money on your education payments, ISSS recommends using a system called Flywire. Flywire eliminates bank fees and provides you with reasonable exchange rates. To use Flywire, select International Student Payment in MyCUInfo (CUBill&Pay for family members who are authorized payers) when paying tuition and fees.