US Course Fees and Cost of Living

US University Course Fees and Costs

The cost of living and studying in the USA as an international student

The cost of living and studying in the USA can vary depending on various factors such as the location, institution, program of study, and individual lifestyle choices.

Studying overseas can be expensive, but by budgeting correctly and ensuring you are aware of all your incomings and outgoings, you can live a comfortable life whilst studying in the US. Scholarships, grants, and part-time job opportunities can also help alleviate the financial burden.

Student Expenses in the USA

Tuition fees for international students

Studying in the United States presents a choice between two main categories of institutions: Public/State and Private universities. The cost of education at a public/state university is generally more affordable compared to private institutions. Your tuition expenses hinge on factors such as your chosen qualification, university, and program. Typically, tuition fees range from around $8,000 to $55,000 annually (approximate).

Traditionally, courses in humanities, arts, and education tend to be more economical, whereas fields like medicine and engineering tend to incur higher costs. Pursuing graduate study comes with higher tuition fees, varying according to the specific program. MBA programs, in particular, tend to be more expensive, averaging around $35,000 per year (approximate).
The table below offers a glimpse of the study costs for international students in the USA:

School/Level of Study Average Fees

Undergraduate Degree

$20,000 - $45,000 annually

Graduate Degree

$20,000 - $50,000 annually

Doctoral Degrees

$28,000 - $55,000 annually

Community colleges

$8,000 - $15,000 annually

English language studies

$700 - $2,000 per month

According to College Board, the average published tuition fees for the 2018/19 academic year at state colleges were approximately $10,230 for in-state residents and $26,290 for out-of-state students. On the other hand, private non-profit colleges had an average tuition fee of about $35,830. Notably, the most economical choice is public-sector two-year colleges, known as community or city colleges, with average fees of just $3,660 for 2018/19.

It's worth mentioning that while two-year colleges don't provide complete degrees, they offer associate’s degrees, representing the first half of a bachelor’s degree, which can be complemented by transferring to a university for an additional two or three years.

Private Tuition Fees vs Public University Tuition Fees

When considering higher education in the United States, it's crucial to weigh the tuition costs, which can significantly vary based on whether you opt for a public or private university.

Name of the University Public/Private Average Tuition Fees Location

Massachusetts Institute of Technology



Massachusetts, USA

Stanford University



California, USA

Harvard University



Massachusetts, USA

University of California Berkeley



California, USA

Yale University



Connecticut, USA

Cornell University



New York, USA

University of Michigan



Michigan, USA

Public universities in the USA are funded by state governments, leading to comparatively lower tuition fees for in-state residents. As per the information provided, private universities tend to have higher tuition fees than public ones and that these figures are approximate and can change annually. Additionally, while considering costs, it's essential to account for the overall cost of living in the respective regions.

Understanding the fee structure and its implications can significantly assist in making informed decisions regarding your higher education journey in the USA.

Cost of living

The cost of living for international students in the USA varies, with major cities such as New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, seeing a much higher cost of living. Estimated at $13,000 to $18,000 annually, costs also fluctuate by state and city. Here's a breakdown of some anticipated expenses:

While these figures offer a guideline, personal choices can lead to variations. Financial planning and preparing for potential shifts in living costs are essential for international students in the USA.


The cost of living in various cities across the USA can significantly impact students' financial planning. Different locations present varying expenses for accommodation, food, transportation, and other necessities. Here is a breakdown of the monthly cost of living in select US cities:

City Monthly Cost of Living (USD)



New York


San Francisco




Los Angeles


Washington DC


Student Visa

Upon visa approval, there might be an additional visa issuance fee based on your nationality. Fees are around $150 per application.

Other student expenses

Aside from accommodation and tuition fees, there are other expenses that must be included to have a broad idea of how to spend and where to save. They include:

It's important to note that these figures are approximate and can vary depending on factors such as lifestyle choices, personal spending habits, and location. You can research specific costs in the city or region you plan to live in, as well as consider potential additional expenses such as taxes, insurance, and unforeseen costs.

Financial Support to Study in USA

International students can apply for scholarships, grants, and work opportunities offered by universities, institutions, and government bodies which can help cover tuition, living costs, and educational expenses.

Notable scholarships include the Global Excellence Scholarships at University at Albany, Merit Scholarships at Alfred University, and International Merit Scholarship at the University of Central Arkansas, among others. These avenues offer valuable financial assistance for pursuing studies in the USA.

If you have any questions about the above and how to fund your studies in the USA, arrange a free consultation with SI-USA today. Don't forget our scholarship search can also help you find funding to support your stay here.

Study in the USA Blog

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