How to send Tuition Fee from Bangladesh
Student File Account: Weird rules for a weird country
Bengali Banks suck. Trust me.
Different branches of the same bank will give you different opinions about the same question. Ask one branch, and they’ll have no clue what a student file account is. Ask another, and they may stare at you, wondering about the money laundering scheme you’re planning. But find the right one, and they’ll help to their fullest possible extent.
In this article, we’ll get to know why Bangladeshi banks are so strict, how you can send money abroad, and a few basic guidelines & recommendations.
“Sorry, you can’t send money abroad.”
-Every clueless banker ever.
Banks and Thailand
Let’s go for a story.
The most important part of this story, for today, happens while we were struggling to pay registration fees. It was several hundred dollars, and Bangladeshi banks, under no circumstance, were willing to send that amount of dollars abroad in fear of money laundering.
Eastern Bank Limited was at least kind enough to talk with us. Still, it took me quite a number of visits and hours of negotiating before the fee was finally transferred.
Bangladeshi banks are, due to strict regulations by the Central Bank, exceedingly cautious with sending dollars abroad. This isn’t restricted to bank to bank wire transfers only, but with credit cards too.
Okay sure, what’s the way around it? Many Bangladeshis spend upwards of 80,000 dollars per year on their child’s education. How do they pay tuition fees if Bangladeshi banks are so strict?
Student File Account
Say Hi to Student File account.
Bangladesh government may be dumb (please don’t @ me, Awami League), but they aren’t stupid (yes I know dumb and stupid are just synonyms). They aren’t okay with dollars leaving their reserves, but they’re cool if they are vacating for legitimate reasons.
For the government and banks to know that you’re really sending money for education, you have to create what is widely known as the Student File account. Long story short, this will essentially allow you to send however much money you need abroad.
Banks will ask you for your acceptance letter, your I-20, passport, your financier’s documents, and a bunch of other stuff that’ll verify that you’re not lying (lol, unless…). They may ask you to open a bank account too. Everything should take you a couple of visits to the bank and you should be good.
There is a limit to how much money you can send from Bangladesh. Your I-20, generally, has two parts while describing costs: one part shows your tuition fees, the other part details out your living expenses. Let’s assume your tuition fees is $15,000, and living expense is $4,000.
Once you’re in the U.S, you’ll open a bank account for sure (you should….). They are, generally, free for students, even if you are an international. You can, in our case, send a maximum of 4,000 dollars to your personal bank account in the U.S per year. The remaining 15,000 dollars must be sent directly to the university.
Banks are pretty strict with financials- so whatever is shown in the I-20 is the figure they generally strictly follow. I-20 is, quite literally, your holy grail for the student file account.
Issues you may face
There are always caveats when it comes to Bangladeshi banks…sadly.
Problems you may face from bankers and their solutions have been outlined below:
1) “Hey, you can never send money abroad from Bangladesh. Sorry.”
As soon as you hear this, leave the bank. Maybe give them an educational lecture with everything you learnt so far in this blog.
Find some other bank, or go for a different branch.
2) “Umm…you cannot send money to your personal U.S Bank account…”
False. I did it myself. It takes just 2-3 days. They’ll just need your US Bank’s Account Number, the Routing Number, and the Swift Code.
Some banks or branches are either too cautious, or do not know the proper rules. Advice: If you’re considering transferring money to your U.S bank account, do consult with the bank beforehand to ensure if they’ll pose any issue regarding this.
Which Bank should you go for?
Before I delve into this section, I want to make it very clear that I am NOT promoting these banks. However, I have been a long standing supporter of Eastern Bank Limited (EBL) due to their amazing customer service and their prepaid card that, frankly, saved thousands of Bangladeshi students’ lives, including mine. Plus, their HQ at Gulshan-2 is spectacular. However, EBL doesn’t pay me, and I am just giving my honest opinion.
Technically, any bank which offers a student file account should work. The fees vary: there is a one time fee, there may be annual fees, there may be a certain percent they charge for every dollar sent…etc. Do check a few banks and see what may work for you.
My personal favorites are:
- Eastern Bank Limited: Simply because they are one of the best in terms of service. Their fee is, however, on the higher end
- City Bank: They have a dedicated floor and a dedicated branch for students at Banani. My roommate was sold as soon as he visited them. Check them out!
- Dutch Bangla Bank Limited: An auto choice for many since they are (fairly) renowned to be helpful, and their fee is on the cheaper side.
Again, virtually any other bank will work. People use Mutual Trust Bank, Sonali Bank, etc. etc…
Where is my Student File Account?
I use none of the banks I mention above, but prefer Dhaka Bank instead. Why?
Simple. My aunt and uncle work there.
My suggestion to you would be the same- go for the bank and/or branch that will be the most convenient (and affordable) for you. If you’re interested in Dhaka Bank, and I am not saying this to promote them but to make your life easier, go to their Mohakhali Branch, ask for Tahmina Akhter, and mention my name. Hopefully magic shall unfold.
Note that this student file fiasco is NOT an issue for America. They don’t care if this is a student file account or not- to them, a normal bank account and a student file account is the same. Student File Account is Bangladesh’s own creation, thanks to the regulations by our government.
Yeah, I know. Life is, sometimes, unnecessarily trickier. You’ll be amazed to learn about the tricky situation regarding credit, debit and prepaid cards in Bangladesh too. Click here to read, or go to sleep without worrying because…
You are a pro regarding Student File account now, thanks to Samin.
Content Creator, UTD’24
I wrote this thing and I mean…if you don’t know me, check the url. You’re literally on my website.
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