Cost of Living in USA for International Students

Cost of Living in USA for International Students

6 mins read2.3L Views 30 Comments
Aishwarya Bhatnagar
Study Abroad Expert
Updated on Jan 16, 2024 18:55 IST

The USA is a popular study destination among international students because of its flexible education system, vibrant campus life, academic excellence, cultural diversity, and availability of numerous job opportunities. Along with so many plus points, studying in the US for international students is expensive and so are the living costs. The estimated cost of living in the USA for international students is around $10,000 to $25,000 per year, which averages around $1,000 to $2,000 per month.

cost of living in usa

This includes your accommodation costs, room, and board, food, travel, textbooks, weather-appropriate clothing, and entertainment expenses as well. There are also personal and miscellaneous expenses which are covered within the costs of living in the USA. This article aims to throw light on the various aspects of living costs in the USA keeping international students in focus and their choice of types of USA universities of study.

Estimated Cost of Living in the USA

The table given below specifies the estimated student cost of living in the USA that is based on different expenses.

Score Predictor

Predict your IELTS, TOEFL, and PTE in just 4 steps!

Share 12th Board, Percentage, english score
Get estimated scores or IELTS, TOEFL & PTE

Expenses in USA

Average Yearly / Monthly cost

Books and study material

$900 - $2,000 per year


$300 - $700 per year


$9,800 - $11,100 per year


$100 - $150 per month


On campus: $250 per month

Off-campus: $400 - $600 per month

Phone subscription

$50 per month

Home Internet

$45 - $50 per month

Health Insurance

$700 - $1,100 per year


$500 per year

Water, Trash and Sewer

$50 - $75 per month

Note: These amounts will differ from state to state within the US. On average, the cost of Indian food in the USA is around USD 350 - USD 400 for one person. 

Average Cost of Living in the USA for One Person

The table given below is based on the data of College Board, Trends in College Pricing and Student Aid 2021. Undergraduate students can gauge the average tuition and other annual costs based on different types of sectors:


Tuition and Fees

Room and Board

Public Two-Year In-District



Public Four-Year In-State



Public Four-Year Out-of-State



Private Non-profit Four-Year



Living Expenses in the USA for the Different States

The living cost in the USA for Indian students depends on the areas in which they decide to stay. For instance, if students are living in big cities like New York, Boston, or San Francisco, then the cost of living in the USA for students shall be much higher than the sub-urban cities like Seattle, Texas, New Orleans, and others. Let us check the average cost of living in the USA for urban and sub-urban states for international students.  

Big Cities in the USA

Average monthly expenses in the USA

New York






San Francisco


Suburban Cities of USA

Average monthly expenses in USA



New Orleans










Students aiming to study in any of the above-given cities of the USA will have to bear the consequent costs of living as well. The cost of living in the USA for Indian students will additionally be calculated with the course they've opted for. Those pursuing an undergrad course in the USA will have to bear more living costs in the USA whereas bearing expenditures to land in USA for master's will vary with each university, but costs will be lower in comparison to undergraduate courses. 

Read More: Most Expensive Cities in The World for Study Abroad

Housing Accommodation Costs in USA

Housing Accommodation Options in USA

Average monthly / yearly cost

On-campus stay

Private colleges: $1,100 yearly

Public colleges: $9,800 yearly

Off-campus stay

Sharing: $450 per month

One-bedroom apartment in rural states: $500 per month

One-bedroom apartment in urban states: $3,500 per month

Additional Living Expenses in the USA

Students should be able to meet the following costs when they are studying in the US. Costs may increase by about 6 to 9% per year due to inflation and external factors. As per the report “College Tuition Inflation Rate” by EducationData.Org, the annual inflation rate in the US (in higher education) stood at 8%. It is advised to keep $2,000 for additional living expenses in the USA. The additional living expenses in the USA can include the following things:

  • Travel expenses between India and US during vacation time
  • Large purchases, such as PC, furniture, or even a rental car etc.
  • Medical expenses not covered by health insurance, e.g. dental care, eye care, cosmetic treatments
  • Additional summer expenses - room and board, grocery costs for the summer months you stay on in the US when classes are not being held
  • Additional expenses such as off-campus transportation
  • Entertainment, social outings, weekend trips

Also Read:

Universities in the US

US Visa Guide

Part-time Work in the US

Post-Study Work Permit in the US

Cost of Living in USA for Students FAQs

Q. What is the average cost of living in USA for international students?

A. The monthly expenses in USA for international students will be around $1,000 to $1,500. However expenses are usually miscellaneous and depends upon the applicants on a case by case basis. Some may need more expenditure to live in USA while the others may manage in bare minimum also. Thus, applicants must plan ahead of travelling to USA for higher education and also while calculating the costs of studying and living in USA. 

Q. Which states in the US that have the highest monthly cost of living for Indian students?

A. New York, California, Maryland, New Jersey, etc are some of the states in the US that have the highest monthly expenses in USA. These are metropolitan cities and have higher costs of living in USA on the whole. Some cost analysis is given in the table below:

US Cities Living Costs (Monthly)
New York USD 11,000 - USD 12,000
California USD 4,000 - USD 5,000
Maryland USD 9,000 - USD 10,000
New jersey USD 11,000 - USD 12,000

The costs are subject to change and applicants are suggested to check for the costs before they proceed for admission to USA.

Q. Is the housing and accommodation living cost in USA for international students expensive?

A. The housing and accommodation living cost in USA for international students is $9,800-$11,000 per year for an on-campus stay and $3,500 per month for an off-campus stay. Thus, yes, for those who are staying off-campus may have to bear additional and extra costs but those living on-campus will have to pay one time yearly fee which includes all major amenties and expenses are more or less included. Thus, if getting an option for on-campus, international students must take it up. 

Q. Is it expensive to live in the US?

A. Yes, the US is one of the most expensive countries to live for international students. However, to reduce the cost of living, students can do part-time jobs. The cost of living in the US will also depend on the state where a student lives. Living in USA is expensive but again depends person to person. Thus, applicants must keep an upper calculation in rouded figure so that if they have to spend extra they are prepared for it. 

Q. Which are the most affordable universities in the US to study for international students?

A. Some of the most affordable universities in the US for international students as per U.S. News & World Report are:

  • Brigham Young University – Provo
  • Nicholls State University
  • South Dakota State University
About the Author
Written by
Aishwarya Bhatnagar
Study Abroad Expert

Aishwarya is a professional Writer currently working as a Study Abroad Expert in the Editorial Team at Shiksha. She has over 5 years of experience and is skilled at creating Online Content with leveraged knowledge i... Read Full Bio

Reviewed by
Expert in MS in USA

Goldi Mourya is armed with an MBA degree in Human Resource and is a certified ‘Green Belt’ in counselling from UCLA Extension. She has considerable experience in the field of overseas counselling. Goldi is research-... Read Full Bio

Browse universities abroad



Hello, could anyone please share college list for M.Sc in Game Design and Development with cost of living for course duration

Reply to Sai Tharun Janardhan


Nikunj Shah

a year ago

Hello, anyone could share college list for MS in VLSI?

Reply to Nikunj Shah


Aishwarya BhatnagarStudy Abroad Expert

a year ago

Hello Nikunj! You find all possible options here - if you still want more help, get in touch with our counsellors by signing up here - All the best!


Amrreesh KR

a year ago

Hello I am Amrreesh I am looking to work for Sap MM jobs I am 1 year experience How could I proceed

Reply to Amrreesh KR


Aprant Agarwal

a year ago

Hello. Kindly elaborate your question. In case if you are looking for part-time work in the US, please refer to this article:


Vinay Chauhan

2 years ago

I would like do ML and AI from USA please give me a list of college and requirement for the top university in USA.

Reply to Vinay Chauhan


Aprant Agarwal

a year ago

Please refer to this list of college from this link:


Aaryan Bhardwaj

2 years ago

Best institute for us interview preparation in kurukshetra....any one tell me

Reply to Aaryan Bhardwaj


Piyush Kohli

2 years ago

Hi Aaryan, you can register with Shiksha Counseling Service for free through below link. They offer services online and not face to face.