Financial Information

Prospective international students who wish to study in the United States must be able to prove their ability to pay for their educational program, a place to stay and other applicable living expenses while in the United States. Determination of the living expenses figure is an institutional decision and schools must receive a student’s financial evidence and report the student’s assets before issuing the Form I-20, "Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status."

Secondary Students must:

  • Be at least 15 years of age, but not more than 18 years and six months of age as of the program start date, or

  • Not have finished more than 11 years of primary and secondary school, not including kindergarten; and

  • Not have previously participated in a secondary school student academic year or semester exchange program or attended school in the United States in either F-1 or J-1 status.


Extracurricular Experiences: Students may take part in school sanctioned and sponsored extra-curricular activities, including after school sports programs.

Accommodations: Students live with an American host family or at a U.S. boarding school.

More information

Students may take part in school activities, including after school sports programs. The school district and the state office in charge of deciding athletic eligibility must approve the exchange student’s participation. Students may not work part-time or full-time jobs. However, they may accept occasional work, like yard work or baby-sitting. Exchange students are not allowed to live with relatives.

Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary G. Kevin Saba’s Secondary School Student Participant Welcome Letter (May 2016) (PDF)