Skip to main content

ISSO has limited funding each year to cover some academic and emergency expenses for our international student population. You can apply for assistance using the respective funding applications  on the Smith Social Network and linked below. Please note that you must be signed in to access the forms. Below you’ll find our general guidelines for how the ISSO and other campus partners may be able to help with various expenses. Given the limited nature of our ISSO funding and the variety of situations we cover, these are general guidelines for how much we could award, not guarantees of how much you will receive from our office. The amount of assistance you receive will be subject to funding availability at the time of the request. Any expenses we are unable to fund in the ISSO will automatically be evaluated by other campus sources as well.

Academic Funding

For ISSO academic assistance, please fill out the centralized Academic Funding Application (linked below) located on the Smith Social Network. Please note that you must be signed in to access the form. Below you’ll find our guidelines for various academic expenses. Any expenses we are unable to fund in the ISSO will automatically be evaluated by other campus sources as well.

Academic Funding Application

ISSO partners with SmithCycle each year to stock our ISSO Textbook Library at the Lewis Global Studies Center, a collection of textbooks and course materials that are free of charge. Please take whatever you need, with no checkout necessary. We welcome donations of used books that you don’t need anymore, and will advertise a collection at the end of each academic year.

If we do not have the book you need, and if you need assistance paying for your textbooks, please fill out the application linked above no later than the end of the fourth full week of classes. Please note, the ISSO will only fund the least expensive book options, unless extenuating circumstances exist. Make sure to check online vendors for used and rental copies. The Smith bookstore also has Price Match available, so it may be possible to utilize their resources as the least expensive option. Textbook funding is available once per academic year, and we ask aided students to pay the first $50 of their textbook costs, and non-aided students to pay the first $100 of their textbook costs, unless extenuating circumstances exist. We will then assist with funding the remaining amount. If you receive Smith financial aid and your book costs exceed the budgeted $400 for the semester, you can also reach out to Student Financial Services. They may be able to fund new and used books for students with high costs.

During your time at Smith, you may find that you need to purchase or repair a computer, laptop, or tablet. Smith Student Aid Society (SSAS) may be able to partially fund these costs. In addition, you may be eligible for a one-time laptop loan in your time at Smith, through Student Financial Services, based on your financial aid status. At this time, ISSO does not have sufficient funds for laptop and/or tablet purchases and repairs. We are happy to help you identify less expensive machines at discount websites such as Backmarket or NewEgg

SSAS funding above cannot be used for phone repair or purchase. Smartphones are an integral part of everyday life now, and ISSO understands that. In the case of a true emergency, the ISSO can provide one-time only grants to partially support phone repair or replacement. ISSO funding is limited to $200 maximum and receipts or cost estimates are required. We acknowledge the high cost of new smartphones and highly recommend shopping used and refurbished devices to decrease cost, or utilizing a wireless provider monthly payment plan.

SSAS has a $400 maximum for “Beyond Smith” funding for each current graduating senior to cover costs such as graduate school application fees, graduate school entrance exams, and other post-graduate expenses you incur during your senior year. We expect international students to take advantage of these funds before the ISSO will step in. The ISSO will consider covering $400 of OPT filing fees only if you have already used your Beyond Smith funds for graduate school costs.  If you have used your Beyond Smith funding to support your OPT application, the ISSO can fund up to $400 in graduate-school-related costs. We will not cover additional graduate school costs for students who have spent their Beyond Smith funds on that purpose already.

Since graduate students are ineligible for Beyond Smith funding, ISSO can cover $400 of their OPT filing fees. In limited circumstances, ISSO funding may be used to assist with doctoral program application fees for graduate students.

Emergency Funding

For ISSO emergency assistance, including medical bills, winter clothing, emergency travel or other unforeseen expenses, please fill out the centralized Emergency Funding Application (linked below) located on the Smith Social Network. Please note that you must be signed in to access the form. Below you’ll find our general guidelines for various emergency expenses. Any expenses we are unable to fund in the ISSO will automatically be evaluated by other campus sources as well.

Emergency Funding Application

Medical costs can be daunting in the U.S., but they should not be a barrier to you seeking care. If you’re having trouble paying for medical expenses—insurance deductibles, co-pays, prescriptions, etc.—we are happy to help both strategize your care plan and cover some of those costs. Funding will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, with receipts and/or an estimate of cost from a provider required. All care should be  billed through your insurance provider. Please give insurance information to your provider, so that you can maximize the amount that your health insurance will cover. ISSO requires that medical expenses have already been evaluated for possible insurance coverage before we will cover your balance.

Smith Insurance Note: To see what is covered by your Smith health insurance, please see the Schacht Center’s website, or you can find the current year Summary of Benefits for the Smith student health insurance plan on the Gallagher Student Health Dashboard.

If you’re experiencing tooth pain, the ISSO will pay for a dental exam and will request a copy of the proposed treatment plan. From there, funding will be determined on a case-by-case basis. We try to limit our funding to necessary and immediate procedures. ISSO funding is limited to a maximum of $2500 per student as funding allows. If ISSO funding maximums have been reached, we’ll work with you and other campus partners to determine the best way forward for you to get the care you need.

Please be aware that local dentists are often fully booked for long periods of time, so it is not uncommon to have a waiting period. If you have an emergent dental situation, we recommend calling multiple providers and asking to be put on a waiting list. While the ISSO does not have funding for routine visits, bear in mind that establishing a dental patient/provider relationship by setting up an initial exam may allow you easier access to emergency care with them if it becomes necessary. If it’s within your budget, Smith offers a voluntary annual Blue Cross Blue Shield dental insurance which covers preventative care and some oral health procedures.

Smith Insurance Note: Through your Smith insurance, you have access to the UNI-CARE Dental Savings Program, which provides some discounts at various providers. You can use the program to find local providers and their contact information. This is NOT dental insurance, but rather a discount on various services. 

During your time at Smith, you may need to see an eye doctor.  ISSO funding may be able to cover a maximum of $300 per year for your vision care costs, including glasses and contacts, with a total maximum of $1000 in your time at Smith, as funding allows. Buying eyeglasses or contacts directly from the eye doctor can be very expensive. We encourage you, therefore, not to purchase glasses at the time of your exam, and instead to consider discount websites such as Warby ParkerEyebuydirect or ISSO can cover up to $700 in vision therapy on a case-by-case basis, up to the total vision care cap.

Smith Insurance Note: An annual eye exam and prescription is covered by Smith student health insurance.

Up until the month you turn 19 years old, there are some additional benefits for purchasing vision supplies. If you purchase vision supplies through an in-network provider, you’ll pay 35% of the cost (after you’ve met your $250 deductible). If you purchase through an out-of-network provider, you will pay 55% of the cost (after $250 deductible). Please keep in mind that you may need to submit receipts to Blue Cross Blue Shield in order to get this coverage as a reimbursement, if you purchase through online vendors.

If you are 19 or older, there is no insurance coverage for glasses or contacts.

Each October, the office holds a Winter Clothes Closet, collected from donations from SmithCycle and campus community members. All articles of clothing available there are free of charge. Given the wide variety available at that event, the ISSO will not consider requests for winter clothing expenses until after that event. Smith’s Common Goods Resource Center and Office of Multicultural Affairs may also be great sources for gently used coats and winter apparel. If you are unable to find what you need through these campus resources and need assistance purchasing items, the ISSO or SSAS may be able to help you to purchase winter items, up to a maximum of $250 in your time at Smith. 

There are many ways to find discounted and/or second-hand winter clothing, either online or in the local area, and we encourage you to research options to maximize your purchasing power. TJ Maxx and Marshalls are two discount stores that carry a wide variety of goods, and both are accessible via PVTA. We have also compiled a list of helpful tips and resources to help you stay warm through the harsh winters: 

Winter Clothing Resources & Tips.

The ISSO does not fund any routine travel expenses during breaks. In the case of an emergency, however, we do have limited resources to help fund student travel. These requests are evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and are limited to extreme circumstances, such as a death in the immediate family. If you are in need of funding to travel home for an emergency, please speak with someone in the ISSO further about your circumstances or submit an emergency request, and we’ll follow up with you. 

Please note: Each year, the cost of attendance for Smith students includes a variety of expenses, some directly billed and some estimated out-of-pocket expenses (e.g. books and supplies, house dues, personal expenses). That cost of attendance budget includes a $1000 estimated budget for annual travel expenses to and from campus, which is built into the overall amount budgeted for personal expenses. While we know individual costs may differ, this is a standard travel amount across all international students. If you are receiving financial aid from the college, your grant aid accounts for this budgeted amount. While the $1000 would not come to you as a direct payment, the travel budget is built into your grant award each year and therefore decreases your out-of-pocket expenses. As a result, you should be able to put aside $1000 each year toward funding your own routine travel expenses, utilizing some of your work study earnings and any credit balance you might have from grant aid in your TouchNet account.

Miscellaneous Expenses

Our emergency funding sources can sometimes be used for other expenses, on a case-by-case basis. Although these expenses may not be an emergency, per se, they will still funnel through the same application process to be reviewed by campus funding sources.

Emergency Funding Application

Immigration processes can be expensive, and filing fees for US Citizenship and Immigration Services are often quite high. The ISSO has limited funding to cover government filing fees and associated expenses, available on a case-by-case basis. (For OPT-related costs, please see Academic Funding section regarding OPT.) Please speak with the ISSO about your circumstances.

In addition, if a student is in an immigration situation that exceeds the expertise/purview of our DSOs, we may refer them out for an attorney consultation, and the ISSO has limited funding to support these initial consultations. Please note: The ISSO will not pay attorney/legal fees for legal representation.

If your expense/emergency does not fit one of the above criteria, please contact the ISSO or submit an emergency funding request, and we are happy to discuss your individual circumstances.

Other Campus Discretionary Funds

As stated previously, all requests that are not funded by ISSO will be automatically reviewed by other campus sources. If you’re interested in what other campus discretionary funds can cover, you can read about Funding for Students on the Dean of the College’s website. The centralized applications on the Smith Social Network streamline the funding process on campus, reducing the number of individual requests you must make to receive funding. In limited circumstances, there may be additional information necessary for a particular request. In those instances, the ISSO can help guide you through any additional application processes.

Contact International Students and Scholars

125 Wright Hall

Smith College

Northampton, MA USA

Phone: 413-585-7598 Email:

Open office hours: Schedule a meeting with Dean Caitlin or with Claire Seely when it’s convenient for you!