Students at the University of Northern Iowa
Student (Catherine) skateboarding on campus
Picture of the campanile

*The links to non-UNI Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement. Users are encouraged to use search engines and to visit UNI faculty and staff to identify additional information and resources.*


Airfare & Lodging -Explore and compare international student airfares, special hotel and travel deals, get tips for traveling abroad and in the U.S., and find the best shopping, dining, and sightseeing options.

  • Casamundo - Casamundo offers a selection of more than 50,000 holiday homes and holiday cottages in Great Britain and Europe to holiday makers and also students. 
  • CheapFlights.com - Cheapflights has been around since 1996 in the U.K. and 2003 in the United States. It offers a wide range of deals on airline tickets. 
  • Hostelling International USA - America's largest network of quality hostels and the U.S. affiliate of the global organization Hostelling International, with more than 4,000 hostels in over 60 countries. 
  • Lonely Planet - Lonely Planet features a gallery of pictures from all over the world and intriguing stories about each destination, along with practical information on national currency, health and safety, and immigration rules, recommendation for shopping, dining, and lodging. 
  • Student Universe - Student Universe is an online student travel agency with cheap tickets. 
  • Eurail Passes - Eurail, also known as Eurorail, offers rail passes for train travel in Europe. With a Eurail Pass you can travel on trains throughout Europe.

Currency Conversion - Currency conversion calculators use the most up-to-date foreign exchange rates and, together with foreign per diem rates, give a realistic idea of how much money is going to be needed in every country of visit.

Health & Safety - It is important to be informed about necessary immunizations and travel safety rules before leaving to a foreign country. Get competent assistance with planning a safe trip and stay healthy abroad.

  • UNI Student Health Clinic - The Student Health Clinic will assist you in planning a safe and healthy trip. 
  • U.S. Department of State International Travel for US Citizens  - The State Department’s Office of American Citizens Services and Crisis Management (ACS) administers the Consular Information Program, which informs the public of conditions abroad that may affect their safety and security. Country specific information, travel alerts, and travel warnings are vital parts of this program. 
  • Center for Global Education Student Study Abroad Handbook - The Student Study Abroad handbook provides resources and preparation tips for students considering study abroad. 
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Travelers’ Health - CDC Travelers' Health offers information to assist travelers and their health-care providers in deciding the vaccines, medications, and other measures necessary to prevent illness and injury during international travel. 
  • Country Watch - Country Watch provides critical country-specific intelligence and data through its suite of products to over 4000 clients including public and private sector organizations with overseas operations and global interests.  
  • HostelBookers.com - Travel safety for students: using common sense and understanding how to handle different situations can help you stay safe while still being able to take in the entire experience, and come away with something you will never forget.
  • Weather - Celsius or Fahrenheit? Look up the weather conditions and temperature where you are and wherever you are heading.

Immigration - Since understanding U.S. immigration laws can be challenging, this section provides visa information for temporary visitors and the web sites of U.S. Embassies for further inquiries.

International Travel

Insurance - All incoming international students and J-1 visiting scholars are required to have health insurance for the duration of their stay at UNI.  Health insurance for other incoming and outgoing international travelers is highly encouraged.  Learn about healthcare and medical assistance provided internationally and find the health insurance plan that is right for you.

  • Harbour Group - As a specialized insurance broker, The Harbour Group provides comprehensive medical insurance for international students, scholars, and customized student health insurance plans for colleges and universities, exchange organizations and government agencies. 
  • HTH Worldwide - HTH Worldwide is a recognized leader in international student health insurance and medical assistance services, serving hundreds of thousands of student travelers annually. 
  • International SOS - International SOS is the world’s leading provider of medical assistance, international healthcare, security services and outsourced customer care. 
  • Travel Guard - With more than 20 years of industry experience, Travel Guard is America's leading travel insurance plan provider. They specialize in providing innovative travel insurance, assistance and emergency travel service plans for millions of travelers and thousands of companies throughout the world. 
  • Travel Insurance Center - Their Policy Picker® makes it easy to quote, compare, buy, and save on travel insurance packages offered by leading travel insurance companies. They represent major travel insurance providers and feature the best travel protection plans available.

Maps - Planning your trip is easier with a map. Get driving directions, international metro system maps, and learn more about your destination. 

News & Communication - Follow your home country’s news or read world press in its native language via -online newspapers and look up international dialing codes.

Passport & Visa Information - Domestic students and faculty traveling abroad will find useful information on the passport application process, entry document requirements by country, etc. 

Local Resources

Cities of Cedar Falls & Waterloo
  • Waterloo Regional Airport - The Waterloo Regional Airport is located in Waterloo 6 miles from UNI. 
  • Dolly's Taxi Service - Dolly’s Taxi is a locally owned and operated Taxi Cab Service proudly serving the Cedar Valley and beyond. We are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
  • First Call Taxi & Courier Service - First Call Taxi & Courier Service provides taxi services including airport transfers to those who need a quick and efficient ride.
  • The Eastern Iowa Airport - The Eastern Iowa Airport is located in Cedar Rapids approximately 70 miles from UNI.
  • Airport Shuttle Service -Provides shuttle service to and from the Eastern Iowa Airport, and door to door service from the airport to residences, businesses and hotels in and around Eastern Iowa.
  • Met Transit -  The Cedar Valley metropolitan bus service/public transportation.
  • Greyhound Bus Lines - Long distance bus transportation.
  • Avis - Rental Car Service. (To rent a vehicle, you must be at least 21 years of age, have a current Iowa or international driver's license, and have a major credit card.)
  • Enterprise - Rental Car Service.
  • Hertz - Rental Car Service.
Iowa Driver’s License
Social Security Number
  • Social Security Administration - The US government requires a 9-digit identification number (Social Security Number-SSN) for all financial transactions. Application for the SSN should occur between the 2nd and 3rd week after arrival, with the SSN card arriving within 2 to 12 weeks of application. 
Living Arrangements - On and off campus
  • UNI Housing may be arranged on campus.
  • Off campus housing is available and within walking distance of campus. 
Information Technology Services
  • ITS - For assistance with internet, phone and video connections on campus.   
Cellular and Wireless Phone Providers  
Mailing and Shipping
  • FedEx - Offers solutions, resources, and support for international shipping.
  • DHL - Offers international shipping.
  • The United States Postal Service - Offers mailing and shipping, domestic and international.  
Financial and Banking Information

With proper identification (passport, visa, I-94, DS-2019), a personal bank account may be opened at a local bank without a social security number. Some banks may require a social security number within 90-days of opening an account or the account will be frozen.  

Taxation of Stipends and/or Inkind
  • UNI Office of Business Operations - Financial compensations from UNI may be taxed by the US Treasury. Additional information is available from the UNI Office of Business Operations.  
  • Crossroads Mall, Waterloo - Featuring Sears, Bath & Body Works, Kay Jewelers, Claire's and several specialty shops.  It also has a carousel and a movie theater.    
  • College Square Mall, Cedar Falls -  Home to the area’s only Von Maur department store.  UniversiTees, American Eagle Outfitters, Younkers, and Victoria's Secret are among the other stores.  There is also a movie theater and a Planet Fitness.  
  • Hy-Vee Food Store, Cedar Falls - HyVee offers fresh produce, and meat, a bakery, flower shop, pharmacy and a nice restaurant.
  • Wal-mart, Cedar Falls - Local department store offering a wide range of groceries and household items.





Planning ahead is the most important thing you can do to prepare for an International Visitor coming to campus.

If you are bringing a J1 Scholar to campus it is best to start the process at least three months before you expect your visitor to arrive. Visiting Scholars coming on a B1 or Visa Waiver Program take less time, but it is best to allow at least one month for adequate preparation. 

If you are unsure what Visa applies to your scholar please contact Marge Budensiek, Secretary for the Office of International Programs at marge.budensiek@uni.edu or 319-273-6807. It is never too soon to begin the process!

Dean and Department Head approval is required if any financial commitments are made on behalf of UNI (i.e. honorarium, in-kind services, travel or housing reimbursement).  It is best to get this approval before moving forward. If the International Scholar is self-supporting then Department Head approval is all that is required.

Both the UNI Host Department and the Visiting Scholar will need to complete the UNI International Visitor Registry.  The host department has other duties which can be found on the RESPONSIBILITIES OF HOST page.

There may be POTENTIAL TAX IMPLICATIONS for the host department and/or visitor if financial commitments are made on behalf of UNI.  For more information contact in the Office of Business Operations (OBO) at cheryl.klahsen@uni.edu or 319-273-6212.

Housing will also be needed for an international visitor and housing information can be found on the HOUSING FOR INTERNATIONAL SCHOLARS page.


UNI has exchange agreements with universities around the world, including in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and South America.  The scope of activities under such agreements includes, but is not limited to:

  • Encouraging academic exchange and cooperation between the universities

  • Joint research activities in areas of mutual interest 

  • Inviting faculty members, research scholars and/or students for academic visits and exchange

  • Exchange of publications and other teaching materials

  • Co-sponsoring seminars, courses, workshops and other academic meetings on matters of mutual benefit

  • Assistance with developing relations and cooperation with industry and other institutes in each country

  • Developing joint dual degree programs at multiple levels

Each university provides a unique program, with course selections ranging from limited to full curricular offerings.  Instruction is provided either in English or the country’s native languages.  For more specific information follow these links:

Steps to Develop Cooperation with International Partners

Forms of Cooperation with Institutional Partners Abroad







Joint programs between the National Council on Science and Technology (Conacyt) and the National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • Partnership for International Research and Cooperation (PIRE).  The primary goal of PIRE is to support high quality projects in which advances in research and education could not occur without international collaboration. PIRE seeks to catalyze a higher level of international engagement in the U.S. science and engineering community. Through the PIRE program, there is a project called SOMBRERO (Synthesis of Optical Materials for Bioapplications: Research, Education, Recruitment and Outreach). It illustrates the type of collaboration that NSF and Conacyt fund.
  • Innovation Corps Teams Programs (I-Corps). Which aims to identify NSF-funded researchers who will receive additional support - in the form of mentoring and funding - to accelerate innovation that can attract subsequent third-party funding.  
  • Engineering Research Centers.  The goal of the ERC Program is to integrate engineering research and education with technological innovation to transform national prosperity, health, and security.

Additionally, in the following months, NSF and Conacyt are looking forward to expand their collaboration in mathematical sciences, chemistry, astronomy, geosciences, ocean sciences and in the Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy and Water Systems (INFEWS) program.

UNI Residents of Iowa Scholars of Excellence Award, UNI RISE

25 new students entering the Fall of 2016 will be awarded scholarships.  There will be 25 more new students each year, so eventually there will be a cohort of 100 scholars enrolled on campus.

To be eligible for the UNI RISE award, a student must:

  1. Be an Iowa resident entering UNI directly from high school.
  2. Have an ethnic or racial status of African American/Black, Hispanic/Latino, Alaskan Native or American Indian, Asian, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander.
  3. Have an ACT composite score of 23 or higher, or SAT combined CR+M of 1070 or higher (Students who do not meet the ACT or SAT score may be considered if they have a Regents Admissions Index (RAI) score of 290 or higher).
  4. Demonstrated involvement in activities outside of the classroom, which could include community service, and display leadership or potential for future leadership.
  5. Apply for admission and submit the UNI Scholarship Application by January 15.

Preference will be given to students who demonstrate financial need as determined by the FAFSA, and/or first-generation students.

  • The UNI RISE award has a value of to $18,000 over 4 years:  $16,000 = $4,000 per year, renewable for a total of 4 years by maintaining full-time, consecutive enrollment at UNI, a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA.
  • $2,000 = to be applied towards summer tuition during one summer term at UNI (at the summer 2015 rate, this would approximately cover 6 credit hours in one summer term). The summer would be optional for students, and could be used for summer study abroad.
  • This award is “stackable” and could be combined with other UNI gift aid received, including the Distinguished Scholars Award (DSA) and the MSA (Multicultural Scholars Award), which are awarded upon admission.

Recipients will be required to participate in the Jump Start program, will be assigned a specific financial aid counselor (so they have an individual point of contact when it comes to scholarship or financial aid concerns). and will have lunch or dinner with President Ruud and/or Provost Wohlpart once a year.

Rotary District 5970* - Rotary Global Scholarship Award 

This scholarship is for students pursuing a graduate degree. The amount of the award will be a minimum of $30,000 but may be more depending on the applicant and school chosen. The student may choose any college they wish worldwide outside of their home country. More than one scholarship may be awarded.

For more information and online application follow this link: http://district5970.org/SitePage/district-foundation/global-scholarships-1

*Rotary District 5970 covers nearly all the northern half of Iowa. If you live outside this area contact your local Rotary Club or Rotary District to find out about scholarship opportunities in your area. Use a club finder here: https://www.rotary.org/myrotary/en/search/club-finder