Frequently Asked Questions

Initial Expenses

We anticipate your initial expenses for your first few weeks in Ames may range from $1,000 to $1,500. Keep in mind that these estimates do not include the cost of temporary accommodation or transportation between your port of arrival in the U. S. and Des Moines. We recommend you bring sufficient money to cover your expenses for at least 3 months. Never carry large amounts of cash with you or in luggage checked in with the airlines. We recommend traveller’s checks, ATM, debit or credit cards for initial expenses until you establish a bank account.

International U-Bill Payments 

Iowa State University is now working with Western Union Business Solutions to provide international students an alternative method for paying student bills. This payment option allows you to pay your student account balance in the currency of your choice and provides a simple and reliable way of initiating payments electronically.

Click here for more information.

Paying your Tuition


The U-Bill is the primary source for communicating university charges to our students, employees and external customers. Iowa State University has instituted electronic billing statements for our students and employees via AccessPlus. There are two primary payment options.  The account balance is prepared for each semester with a due date of August 20th for students enrolling for the fall semester. There is also a minimum payment option which for $20 per semester will allow for three installment payments per semester. Those due dates would be August 20, September 20, and October 20 for students enrolled for fall semester. The above link provides more information on tuition and fees and how to pay your U-Bill.



Textbooks and supplies can be purchased from local bookstores, on and off campus. Expect to spend a few hundred dollars on books and supplies each semester. 

Thielen Student Health Center

Phone (515) 294-5801

For immunization requirements and how to submit immunization records, please go to

*IF YOU WILL BE UNDER THE AGE OF 18 WHEN YOU ARRIVE AT ISU, it is required that you have a consent form to fulfill this mandatory health screening or any other services at the health center. You will need to print and have your parent or guardian complete the Consent to Treat a Minor Form.

Student Health Insurance

Students and Scholars Health Insurance Program (SSHIP) Office
Phone: (515) 294-4800

• ISU Insurance Requirements:

All International students (F and J visa) are required to be enrolled in the ISU Student and Scholar Health Insurance Program (SSHIP) and are not eligible to waive the mandatory insurance.*  Accompanying dependents must also be enrolled in the SSHIP program. 

The insurance plan helps pay the cost of medical treatments for injury and illness requiring hospitalization. Insurance costs for all students are included with tuition and other required fees at registration. The cost of medical care in the U.S. is extremely high and increases constantly. For example, the average cost for hospital room and board is between $765 and $950 per day. The health insurance also provides coverage for prescription medications. Specific details about the insurance plan can be found at the webpage above.

• For students with dependents: 

Students must visit the Students and Scholars Insurance Office, 3810 Beardshear Hall, to add their dependents. The Thielen Student Health Center does not treat children. Children can be treated at off-campus facilities, which involves additional out of pocket expenses.

*very limited exceptions – refer to SSHIP webpage for additional information

Online Prevention Program

Thielen Student Health Center, Prevention Services
Program Information:
Phone:   (515) 294-2194

Online, interactive prevention program that is science-based and provides students with important, reliable information on alcohol and sexual misconduct.

Students link directly into the programs from AccessPlus. These programs should be done by students when they return home from orientation before they attend Destination ISU. Students with special circumstances should email

Am I required to attend the International Orientation Program?

Yes. The orientation sessions are designed to ensure undergraduate students have a successful transition to ISU and into life in the U.S. It will answer many of the common questions asked by new international students. 

Do I have to attend all of orientation?

Yes.  International students are expected to stay for all of orientation. There are important tests and information you will be given during this time and it is important you do not miss any of it.

What if I cannot arrange a flight in time to attend the orientation program?

Please review the information under the Before You Arrive link in the New Student Orientation section of the ISSO website.

When can I register for classes?

New students register for classes during the week of orientation. Students will have a meeting with an adviser from their college who will personally help them develop a schedule.

Some specific Graduate Departments allow their students to register early. This is strictly based on the discretion of the department.

How can I travel from the Des Moines Airport to Ames?

Please refer to the Airport Transportation link on the New Student Checklist section of the ISSO website.

How can I ship my belongings to ISU?

ISSO cannot accept shipment of student belongings. You should make arrangements to have belongings shipped directly to you after you have arrived and arranged your housing. 

Does ISU provide any temporary housing on campus?

Please refer to the Orientation Housing link on the New Student Checklist section of the ISSO website.

Do I need to take the English Placement Test?

Please refer to the During Orientation link on the New Student Orientation section of the ISSO website.

Do I need to take the Math Placement Test?

Please refer to the During Orientation link on the New Student Orientation section of the ISSO website.

What are Iowa State University's tuition and fees?


How can I contact current ISU students from my home country?

Website: International Student Council:

All other cultural organizations: