Financial Documentation Requirements

Financial Documentation

To qualify for your I-20/DS-2019, you must document each source of your financial support stated on the I-20/DS-2019 Request form according to the instructions below. Your financial support must equal or exceed the total cost of attendance stated on the Financial Coversheet you receive from your program.

The most common issues with I-20/DS-2019 Requests are caused by unacceptable/insufficient funding sources or forgetting to include your financial coversheet, scholarship award letter (if receiving funding from UChicago), or sponsor letter (for funds not in your name) in your financial documentation. 

Requirements of all financial documentation:

We can accept the various financial documentation listed in the chart below.  However, all financial documents must:

  • Be easy to read and understand. 
  • Assets must be liquid (i.e. checking or savings account, investment accounts, etc.)
  • Bank/financial statements should be comprised of a few pages at most and (indicating a summary of accounts), and not list multiple pages of your personal expenses.
  • You must provide translations of documents not in English.
  • The statements must indicate amount and currency (e.g. USD, YWD, CNY, EUR).
  • Contain specific numerical values indicating amount of funds in each account. 
  • Copies, screenshots, web printouts are accepted.
  • Documents must be dated within past 6-months.
  • Per regulation, we accept the types of financial documents listed below.
  • Please review unacceptable funding types before submitting your documents.

NOTE: If you submit incorrect financial documents or documents showing insufficient funding (e.g. expenses exceeding financial support), your I-20/DS-2019 Request will be rejected. Please review the following information carefully.  To prevent delays, make sure to submit concise, easy to understand documents that fit into the categories below.

Acceptable Types of Financial Documentation

Source of Funds

Documentation Required

University of Chicago

Copy of award letter or admission reply form (i.e. document detailing your funding package). If your admissions department has included your award amount in your letter of admission or provided a letter outlining your scholarship, you will be asked to upload this as well.

Scholarship funding (private business, government, etc.)

Letter from the agency or organization awarding the scholarship indicating your name, date, name of the organization, and award amount.

If you are receiving funding from a private business (e.g. employer, sponsor, etc.), a dated scholarship letter showing you as the recipient, award amount, and name of the organization is all that is required.

Personal funds or personal loan

Bank or financial statement dated within past 6 months showing your name, date, the current balance, and type of currency.  Please do not upload multiple pages of your account/expense history.

If you are using private loan funding, include your loan award letter indicating amounts, name and date. Please do not upload your promissory note or application to your I-20/DS-2019 request. It will be rejected. 

* Lenders like Discover, Earnest and Prodigy loans generally issue students a letter stating the amount they’ve been approved for prior to official approval. This letter is acceptable for I-20/DS-2019 issuance as we understand you may need the I-20/DS-2019 for full approval.

Investment accounts from which funds can be readily withdrawn are also acceptable.

Family/friend funding

For funds not in your name (e.g. parents, spouse/partner/friends) two documents are required:

  1. Sponsor Letter Template: A letter from the sponsor(s) indicating the precise amount of the financial support. Your sponsor can list whatever length of time they prefer in the length of time support will be provided field: 1 year, 2 years, etc. 
  2. Accompanying the sponsor's letter must be a bank or financial statement dated within past 6 months showing your sponsor's name, date, the current balance, and type of currency.  Please do not upload multiple pages of the account or expense history--just a balance summary showing currently available funds. Investment accounts from which funds can be readily withdrawn are also acceptable.

Review our unacceptable funding sources, below, to avoid application delays.

Unacceptable funding sources

Unacceptable financial documentation includes:

  • Property (such as a house, gold, or land) or certificates showing the value of property or proposed sale of such property
  • Health/life insurance accounts, retirement or retirement insurance accounts, other 'insurance' accounts
  • The value of a business or financial statements of a business/company
  • Credit card statements
  • Proof of Income 
  • Documents more than 6 months old, including for timed deposit certificates with future maturity dates
  • Documents that do not clearly state the account holders name, financial institution name, currency, or type of account

Common Mistakes and Errors

Submitting unacceptable, incorrect or incomplete documentation will result in your I-20/DS-2019 Request being rejected and you will have to resubmit. To ensure speedy processing of your application, make sure that your funding is clear, easy to understand, and meets all criteria listed above.

  • Additional clarification needed when multiple accounts and funding sources are used. Be clear and concise.
  • Sponsor letter missing when account is not in your name
  • Type of currency missing from account documents
  • Account documents dated more than 6 months in the past
  • Any financial documentation missing specific amounts and numbers
  • Account documents are not in English and not annotated
  • Funding is insufficient. Funding must meet or exceed the exact amount listed on the I-20/DS-2019 Request
  • Private sponsors or fellowships letters missing award amount
  • Unacceptable documentation, such as healthcare funds, property deeds, insurance policies, etc.