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Financial Documentation Requirements

Michigan State University's (MSU) Office for International Students and Scholars (OISS) issues Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status” and Form DS-2019 or "Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status" to eligible F-1 and J-1 students. Forms I-20 and DS-2019 allow an individual to apply for an F-1 or J-1 visa stamp at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad.

OISS must obtain reliable documentation that the student has financial resources adequate to meet expenses while studying at MSU. MSU is required by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to receive, review and evaluate the availability of financial support before issuing immigration documents. Students must have accurate and up-to-date financial information printed on their immigration documents at all times.

The U.S. government require applicants to have enough readily available funds to meet all educational expenses for the first year of study. Students enrolled in one-year programs are required show proof of funding for the full length of the program. This includes tuition, fees and living expenses for three academic semesters (including summer). In most cases, the documentation we require may also be required at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate when applying for a visa stamp. You must keep a copy of your financial support documents to present during your visa appointment.

To obtain your I-20 or DS-2019 in a timely manner, follow the guidelines below when submitting your I-20 request or updating your financial proof.

OISS receives the estimated funding requirements for international students annually from the Office of Financial Aid. We update the funding requirements in August of each year. Below are the minimum funding requirements for immigration documents issued between July 2023 to July 2024.

Minimum Funding Requirements for Issuance of I-20 or DS-2019
LEVEL Tuition & Fees Living Expenses Insurance Total
Freshmen & Sophomores $44,935 $16,651 $2,625 $64,211
Juniors & Seniors $46,271 $16,651 $2,625 $65,547
Masters without Assistantship $31,199 $19,576 $2,625 $53,400
MA & PHD with Assistantship $31,199 $19,576 $2,625 $53,400
PHD without Assistantship $20,978 $19,576 $2,625 $43,179

M.S. Marketing Research*

$38,134 $29,364 $2,625 $70,123

M.S. Finance*

$46,534 $29,364 $2,625 $78,523
M.S. Business Data Science & Analytics 6100* $39,634 $29,364 $2,625 $71,623
M.S. Accounting (2 year) $36,079 $19,576 $2,625 $58,280
Masters - Business Administration MBA (Full time MBA 6011) $55,092 $19,576 $2,625 $77,293
Non-Resident Osteopathic Medicine $43,954 $33,340 $3,426 $80,720
Non-Resident Human Medicine $58,420 $25,276 $2,625 $86,321
Non-Resident Vet Medicine $47,790 $21,498 $2,625 $71,913

*Students enrolled in a one-year program are required to show proof of funding for the full length of the program. This includes tuition, fees and living expenses for three academic semesters (including summer).

Note: The College of Engineering assesses an Engineering Program Fee each semester to all students that have been admitted to the College of Engineering.

Other Professional and Non-Degree Programs

American Semester Program Financial Requirements

College of Law Financial Requirements

Proof of Funding

Acceptable Proof of Funding

Personal Funds

  • Bank balance letter detailing the student’s name and account balance
  • Review criteria for a bank balance letter*

Private Sponsors (including parents, relatives, friends, etc.)

  • Bank balance letter detailing the sponsor’s name and account balance
    • Review below criteria for bank balance letter*
  • Student and sponsor must complete the Affidavit of Support

MSU Scholarship/Award/Fellowship

  • Scholarship/award/fellowship letter must detail the amount and length of the award

MSU Graduate Assistantship

  • Graduate Assistantship letter must detail name, amount and length of the award
  • Assistantship letter must detail the semester(s) of the assistantship

Government/Company Sponsorship or Financial Guarantee

  • Must detail the student’s name
  • Must be dated within the last 12 months
  • Must detail duration of sponsorship
  • Must detail what the sponsor will cover as part of the sponsorship

Loan Certificates/Loan Letters

  • Must include your name, date and amount of approved loan

Financial support can come from several different sources; however, you must submit supporting documents for each source of funding.

Criteria for Bank Balance Letters

Bank balance letter should be a maximum of one or two page(s) document detailing the requirements below:

  • Must be on the bank's letterhead
  • Must include the account balance, do NOT include detailed transaction history
  • Must include account holder’s name
  • Must include financial institution’s name
  • Must be dated within the last 12 months
  • Must be in English, or include a certified English translation
  • Must detail the currency type or detail U.S. dollar amount;
  • Submitting bank balance letters from multiple accounts is acceptable

Unacceptable Proof of Funding

Unacceptable proof of funding including, but not limited to,

  • Salary statements or job letters (Except MSU GA Letters)
  • Life insurance policies
  • Loan applications
  • Retirement funds
  • Pension funds
  • Credit card statements or lines of credit
  • Trusts
  • Stocks or cryptocurrency
  • Assets that are not in liquidated form (house, car, value of business, etc.)
  • Funds that are not immediately accessible or that can change in value
  • Documents that do not clearly state the account holders name, financial institution name, currency, or type of account
  • Documents dated more than 12 months


Some international students come to the United States with their immediate families. The F-2 and J-2 visa is for a dependent spouse or an unmarried child who is under the age of 21.

F-2 & J-2 status enables dependents to stay in the United States during the student’s academic studies.

Students must provide documentation confirming that they have sufficient financial proof to support their dependents. In addition to the full funding requirements for the F-1 or J-1 student, student must also provide the following proof for each dependent:

  1. Spouse: $8,000
  2. Child:    $5,000 (per child)

Students on Optional Practical Training

Students who are recommended or approved for OPT and are not required to enroll for any credits, are required to show proof of living expenses and health insurance only. Students on OPT who wish to add a dependent must review the financial requirements for adding a dependent section.

Prorated Financial Requirements

In rare circumstances, OISS will prorate financial requirements for students who are extending their I-20 for one or two semesters. OISS will consider the following when prorating financial requirements:

  1.  Student in their final semester
  2. Graduate students who are ABD and require one research credit to be full-time
  3. Student who require only one semester extension

In-State Tuition

International students who receive in-state fee classification for tuition purposes should submit proof of their in-state tuition fees. Students who receive in-state tuition and requesting an I-20 or an update to their I-20 should submit a copy of their most recent MSU billing statement with their request. Your MSU bill will be available in StuInfo.

Alternatively, a confirmation via email from the Office of the Registrar, Office of the Controller or Office of Financial Aid detailing your student ID and confirming that you have in-state fee classification is acceptable.

Estimate of Expenses

The United States government requires MSU’s Official for International Students and Scholars (OISS) to receive, review and evaluate proof of financial responsibility for the student before the issuance or extension of Forms I-20.

The financial information detailed on the I-20 is an estimate of expenses. OISS receives the financial information detailed on the I-20 from the Office of Financial Aid. Students are encouraged to work with the Office of the Controller for more detailed information about their expenses.

Estimated expenses include:

  1. Tuition and Fees (based on full-time enrollment for two semesters)
  2. Living Expenses
  3. Dependent Expenses (for students who have dependents)
  4. Health Insurance

J-1 Students

To be eligible for a J-1 student visa at least 51% of your total financial support must be from a source other than personal or family funds. This financial support may be a scholarship, fellowship, or assistantship from an external funding source such as your home government, a corporate sponsor, or assistantship from MSU.

Students with only personal or family funding are NOT eligible for a J-1 visa.

I-20 & DS-2019 Dates

The I-20 and DS-2019 Forms reflect your expected program start date (usually a few days before the start of classes during initial semester) and program end date (usually the last day of expected final semester). 

The program start and end dates is AN ESTIMATE of the length of time an average student in a specific level of study would need to complete the program requirements. This is a fixed date for most students. 

For most students, the program end date listed on the I-20 or DS-2019 will be updated by OISS (usually shortened) to reflect the actual program completion date. This update may happen during the student's final semester and/or when the student applies for post-completion practical training.  

I-20/DS-2019 Document Deadlines

To ensure that international students are given adequate time for I-20/DS-2019 processing, SEVIS fee payment, visa application, visa appointment, and visa adjudication, I-20/DS-2019 requests must be submitted to the OISS by the deadlines below.

Fall Semester
July 1: For students currently outside the United States
August 1: For students currently in the United States with a valid F-1/J-1 status

Spring Semester
November 1: For students currently outside the United States
December 1: For students currently in the United States with a valid F-1/J-1 status

Summer Semester
March 15: For students currently outside the United States
April 15: For students currently in the United States with a valid F-1/J-1 status