All students going to London will need to prepare documentation showing that they have enough money to support themselves while in London. Specifically, the British government wants to be sure that any student coming to London has sufficient funds to pay for things such as housing, food, local transportation, toiletries, etc. The British government determines how much is “sufficient”, and the current amount is £1,265 per month (or part of a month) you will be in London. This is referred to as your “maintenance” funds.
The exchange rate as of the publication of this handout (3/1/17) is £1.00 = $1.24, which is a very good rate compared to historical levels. At this exchange rate, £1,265 equals $1,572 per month. To be on the safe side, we usually round up with the exchange rate for visa purposes, so in giving the dollar figures below we will round up to an exchange rate of £1.00 = $1.30, bringing the monthly total needed up to $1,645. REMEMBER: It is crucial that you continue to double-check the exchange rate. If it changes, the amount of money in dollars you need will change accordingly. Use the currency converter at http://www.oanda.com/currency/converter/ for your conversions.
For semester students:
You will need to show proof that you have access to approximately $6,580 for the four months you’ll be studying in London. If you are receiving financial aid in an amount that exceeds the charge for tuition ($21,442), then you can subtract that amount of “excess” financial aid from the total amount of funds you are required to show proof you have access to.
For example, if you receive $24,000 total financial aid per semester, then you would only need to show proof of $4,022 rather than the full $6,580 ($24,000 financial aid minus $21,442 tuition charge = $2,558, which is the amount of “excess” financial aid beyond tuition charges that you would be able to deduct from the required $6,580).
For summer students:
You will need to show proof that you have access to approximately $1,645 for the almost two months you’ll be studying in London (You can deduct £1,265 ($1,645) from the total amount of money you will be required to hold because you will have paid accommodation fees to Ithaca College for your housing in London ($1,645 x 2 months in London = $3,290 – $1,645 = $1,645 total). If you are receiving summer financial aid in an amount that exceeds the charge for tuition ($7,524), then you can subtract that amount of “excess” financial aid from the total amount of funds you are required to show proof you have access to.
It is very important to note that these figures are NOT above and beyond the estimated costs of a semester in London. The money you’ll need to show proof that you possess is the same money you will actually be using to pay for your housing, food, transportation, and other everyday living expenses while abroad. The British government just wants to make sure you will have access to a sufficient amount before they will issue a visa or let you enter the country.
ALL students going to London must prepare proof that they have the required amount of money:
Those applying for a visa (to do an internship, or for other reasons elaborated below) will need to have the proof of finances prepared 28 days BEFORE applying for the visa. Ideally, you should start holding the funds no later than March 3rd for the Summer term in London, or April 24th for the Fall semester in London.
Those NOT applying for a visa will only need to have the proof of finances ready to present upon arrival in London.
This is a very important question to answer before proceeding on to the description of what proof of funds documentation entails Whether you will need to apply for a student visa will partially dictate what your proof of funds documentation will need to say, and will also determine WHEN you need to have the documentation.
You MUST apply for a student visa if ANY of the following apply to you:
- You are NOT a citizen of the U.S., the U.K., or a country within the European Union
- You will do an internship in London
- You want to work part-time in London (including work-study at the London Center)
- You are planning to stay in the U.K. for more than 6 months
Students who will be applying for a student visa must be able to show proof of having held the appropriate amount of money for a full 28 days BEFORE they can apply for the visa.
Example: if you plan to submit/pay for your visa application on May 26th, you will need to be able to show proof you have been holding the required funds in an acceptable bank account beginning no later than April 28th.
You will NOT need to apply for a student visa if ALL of the following apply to you:
- You ARE a citizen of the U.S., the U.K., or a country in the European Union AND you…
- Will NOT be doing an internship in London
- Will NOT be seeking part-time work (including work-study at the London Center)
- Will NOT be staying in the U.K. for more than 6 months.
Students who do not need a visa WILL still need to prepare the proof of finances in the amounts listed above, but will only need this documentation right before departure for London. Those not applying for a visa will not need to show proof of having held the appropriate amount of funds for any particular length of time.
Continue to the next section to learn what type of documentation is required for your proof of finances.
Your proof of funds is typically documentation from a bank, usually in the form of a letter or a bank statement. Below are some guidelines about what is expected for the proof of finances:
You will need a letter from a bank OR a bank statement. This will need to clearly state that you have a balance of at least approximately $6,580 for the semester, or $1,645 for the summer (or the appropriate amount after subtracting your “excess” financial aid). o The bank account in which the money is held can be in the student's name, a parent's name, or a joint account between the student and parent. It cannot be in the name of another relative, family friend, etc.
- It must be a checking or savings account. It cannot be an investment account of any sort, including a 529 College Savings Account.
- If you obtain a bank letter, it must be on bank letterhead and signed by a bank official.
- If you obtain a bank statement, it should be bank-generated (NOT printed out by the student) and stamped/signed by a bank official on each page of the statement.
- The account number on the documents may be only partially stated or blacked out.
- If the account is in the student's name only, no additional documentation need accompany the bank letter/statement.
- If the account is a joint account with a parent or is in a parent's name only, then it must be accompanied by two additional documents:
- A letter of financial support from the parent (Int’l Programs will provide a sample letter to use)
- The student's birth or adoption certificate as proof of the parental relationship. This must be the original birth or adoption certificate or a certified copy (that is, a copy that has been certified as a true copy before a notary public).
Those who prepare this bank letter or statement for visa application purposes need the letter to indicate that they have held these funds for at least a full 28 days prior to applying for the visa.
Those who will NOT apply for a visa do NOT need to make mention of a 28 day holding period in the bank letter, and do NOT need to indicate that the funds have been held for any specific length of time.
The bank letter/statement for non-visa applicants ONLY needs to show that the student has access to the required funds. The student will just need this documentation prior to departure for London. (NOTE: A sample bank letter will be provided after you have been accepted to the London program. It can be used as a model to show your bank when you go to request the letter.)
VERY IMPORTANT: While abroad, you must continue carrying the financial documentation with you each time you travel outside of the U.K. for the whole semester, as you could be asked for it anytime you re-enter the country from your travels.