Calculating College Costs

Before you even decide which college to attend, you’ve had to spend hundreds of dollars to take standardized tests and other entrance exams. You’ve paid for credential evaluations and for application fees, and you’ve even paid postage for sending some of those documents to each school you considered. And now that those costs are behind you and you’ve had time for your bank account to relax, you’re starting to research all the possible scholarships for international students in the USA. But, unfortunately, tuition is only a part of the costs you’ll incur during your time in school.

All the other costs

Students who live on campus are required to pay room and board as well as for meal plans, and every student is charged miscellaneous fees. And if you’re living off campus, you also have to pay to live and eat somewhere. These costs can add up to several thousand dollars per semester, and you haven’t even bought bedding yet. 

Speaking of bedding, you’ll need to furnish the place where you’ll be living. If you’re living on campus, basic furniture will be provided, but you’ll need sheets, towels, decorations, lamps, electronics, basic office supplies, cleaning supplies, and so on. If you live off campus, you may have to buy furniture – and if you don’t have a meal plan, you’ll need to purchase kitchenware on top of everything else. 

Bankrate.com has an excellent, thorough breakdown of costs so you can create an accurate budget for your time as a student. You should then apply those costs to a financial planning worksheet so you can see your spending clearly. It’s a daunting but super helpful way to stay on top of your finances. 

But as an international student, you’ll also have several additional costs that American students won’t have to worry about (yes, we agree that the list of costs is never ending):