If you are an international student who has decided to do your post-secondary education in the U.S., congratulations! Studying abroad comes with many benefits that go beyond just getting an education. You get a chance to experience a different culture, learn how to navigate living in a new country, and become more attractive to employers who value life and world experience. However, the cost of studying in the U.S. for international students is not to be taken lightly.
While you should not let the cost of studying in the U.S. limit you or hold you back, you need to be aware of how much it will cost you to travel to and live in the U.S. while studying. Most importantly, you must understand that many expenses go above and beyond your tuition. With this in mind, here are the factors that go into the cost of studying in the U.S. for international students.
Since tuition is the first thing many people think about when considering the cost of going to university, let’s cover this first. For international students in the U.S. the cost total of attendance is high – much higher than it is for domestic students. Generally, attending school in the U.S will cost between $10,000 and $55,000 per year. However, the actual cost will depend on where you study and the type of program you enroll in. With this in mind, here is a breakdown of the costs:
Remember that the cost of a master’s degree in the U.S. for international students will depend on what you are studying. An MBA can be more expensive than a master’s degree in another discipline. In addition, if you are studying in a professional degree program, such as medicine, law, or engineering, you may face much higher tuition than you would if you were studying education or humanities.
It is also essential to keep in mind that the cost varies between schools. Some community colleges and universities are less expensive than others for a comparable program. This difference is affected by factors such as the school’s location and level of prestige.
When considering the cost of studying in the U.S. for international students, you need to consider the cost of travel. After all, if you can’t get to the U.S. from your home country, nothing else matters. This means factoring in the cost of your:
You will also need to have enough money available to travel home during the school year, or – at the very least –to travel home in the summer if you choose to, or to travel home in the case of an emergency.
You will need to apply for and be granted a U.S. student visa to study in the U.S. as an international student. While this is not terribly expensive, you should factor the cost into your overall costs. The cost of an international student visa in the U.S. depends on your visa type. The application fee is $160. Then, the cost of the visa is as follows:
In addition to the tuition you will have to pay each year, you will need to have money available to buy the textbooks and pay any additional fees you might owe throughout the school year. The average cost of books and fees is $500 to $1,000 per year. Again, this depends on the school you are going to and your program of study.
The next thing you need to consider is the cost of your accommodations while living in the U.S. There are several accommodation options to consider. You might want to live on campus to be fully immersed in the university or college experience. You might want to live off campus to immerse yourself in the local community. You might opt for the most inexpensive accommodation possible to make the most of your finances.
With all of this in mind, here are the average costs of the various accommodation options:
These costs are a rough average. The cost of accommodations will depend on many factors, the most significant of which is your location. Some cities are more expensive to live in than others. The cost of renting an apartment will also depend on whether you are renting it on your own or you have roommates, and it may come furnished or unfurnished. If it is unfurnished, you will need to buy furniture, so you’ll need to factor that into your budget.
International students’ total cost of studying in the U.S. includes the daily cost of living. This means your food, utilities, internet, and transportation costs. If you choose to live on campus, most (if not all) of these expenses will be included in your residence fees. In most cases, you can pay for a meal plan at your university, which will cost on average between $150 and $350 per month, depending on the school and the type of meal plan you get.
If you are living off campus and in a homestay situation, you will again have most of these living expenses included in your monthly rent. You may just pay basic rent and take responsibility for your own food costs, or you may pay more in rent and eat meals with your host family.
If you choose to rent an apartment on your own or with roommates off campus, you will be responsible for all your living expenses. You may find student rentals that include utilities (heat, electricity, water), and some even include internet and cable. If not, you will be responsible for paying for them on your own and your food. If you live with roommates, you will split your utility, internet, and cable costs.
Living off campus also means you may have transportation costs to consider. You can walk or bike to school if you live close to campus. If not, you will need to pay for public transportation. You will also need to pay for transportation when you get groceries or do other things in the city.
With the above in mind, here is the average cost of the various living expenses in the U.S.:
Again, these costs are average and vary depending on where you live. For example, you will pay more for a monthly bus pass in New York City than in Los Angeles or Chicago.
As an international student in the U.S., you will need health insurance because medical care is expensive. You could be facing thousands of dollars in medical bills if you get sick or injured. But health insurance for international students will ensure you are covered and can rest assured you can get the care you need without having to choose between that and your education.
When you come into the country on a J visa, you will be required by law to get health insurance. If you come in on an F or M student visa, U.S. law does not require you to have health insurance, but your university or college might. Either way, you should have it for your own protection and peace of mind.
Many universities and colleges offer health insurance to their students. If you go this route, you are looking at an average cost of $700 and $1,000 per school year. The price will vary if you go with a private insurer, but averages between $30 and $140 per month.
While we have covered the major costs of studying in the U.S., it is important to remember that there will be costs that come up that aren’t included here. You might want to mail home gifts to your family and friends. You might want to eat out, go to a movie every once in a while, do some sightseeing, or travel within the U.S. You might need to buy clothing or shoes while you are away (think: buying a winter coat and boots or season-appropriate clothing).
Whatever the case, it is wise to set aside at least $2,000 for miscellaneous expenses. After all, you don’t want to miss out on opportunities because you can afford them, and you don’t want to go without the additional items you need to live comfortably.
With so many expenses associated with studying in the U.S., it is essential to consider how you will comfortably cover them all. Fortunately, there are options. These include:
While this might seem like a lot, it is possible to manage the costs of studying in the U.S.. The key is to plan, determine the specific costs associated with the school you are attending and the city where you are going to school, and then budget accordingly. There is a way to make it happen with so many financing options available.
Always remember that your university is there to help. The international student office has numerous resources and can help you find financing and accommodations. This way, you can be sure you have what you need to pay for your international educational experience and get the most out of studying abroad.