"Many students are just unaware of the need to have health insurance because they come from a country where there's socialized medicine or no coverage at all," Schrader notes. "They have to have coverage that will pay for repatriation and evacuation ... and they have to have basic levels of coverage just to be legal in the U.S."
IU—Bloomington makes an effort to be as transparent about fees as possible on its website, Schrader says, making Internet research a good first step in an international student's quest to learn about the costs of any U.S. college. And if you end up at a school that charges an international student fee, make sure to utilize the international student resources your money may be funding.
Though the International Students Association at Ohio State is pushing for increased representation and services for the money students pay, organization leader Rahul Shrivastava, a senior from India, says the international student office is already a helpful resource.
"Our office of international affairs does really try [to do] their best ... with what they have," Shrivastava wrote in an E-mail to U.S. News. "They are sweet and always there to help with any queries we international students have."
And even counselors at schools with decade-old international fees and services say that while many students take advantage of the offerings, some may not be getting the full benefit of their extra payments.
"We can't tell students enough: They do need to come and visit and be in touch with our offices and read our E-mails," Schrader says. "When they rely on their friends or think, 'Eh, I'm from Canada; it doesn't really affect me'—that's just not true. The big tip is: Get your money's worth."
For more international student tips and news, explore the Studying in the United States center.