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Office of International Services
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Office of International Services

Money Basics > Bringing Money to the US

Bringing Money to the US

It is essential that you anticipate the full cost of your education and secure adequate resources before leaving home. It is reasonable to expect expenses to increase at the rate of about 8 - 10% per year.

How can I receive money from home?


If you are from a country which allows foreign exchange to be transferred directly, you should find a bank at home that can transfer funds to a bank in New York. The two major banks with international connections are Chase and Citibank. Both banks have branches near Teachers College.

Branch locations:


How much money should I bring to get started?


You should bring sufficient money in U.S. dollar traveler's checks to pay for your transportation and immediate expenses (such as food) upon your arrival. We advise against bringing large amounts of cash. Approximately $500 in U.S. currency should be enough for the first few days.
What is the most common way of paying tuition and other bills?

The most common forms of payment in the United States are credit cards and bank checks. You will want to open a bank account as soon as you can. The OIS can provide you with information about local banks where you may open a checking and/or savings account. Among the banks in the immediate TC neighborhood are:

  •     Citibank
  •     JP Morgan Chase
  •     HSBC Banking Corporation
  •     Bank of America
  •     Washington Mutual
  •     Banco Popular

We will also provide you with a letter of introduction to present to the bank. Please note that banks usually require this letter, so you will need to come to the OIS and complete an immigration check-in with our office before opening your account.

The best way to have quick access to your money once your account is open is to deposit traveler's checks (in U.S. dollars)*. Banks in the U.S. are open for business Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Most banks are closed on Saturdays, and all are closed on Sundays and national holidays, including Labor Day, the first Monday in September.

*Note: Foreign currency checks may take several weeks to clear before the money is available to you.
Office of International Services
Teachers College, Columbia University
Box 7, 525 W 120th Street
New York, New York 10027-6696
Phone: (212) 678-3939 ♦ ~ Fax: (212) 678-3990 ♦ Email: