Cost of Studying in the USA for International Students

Cost of Studying in the USA for International Students

5 mins read28.7K Views 6 Comments
Aishwarya Bhatnagar
Study Abroad Expert
Updated on Aug 29, 2023 16:43 IST

The cost of studying in the US is a major concern for international students. The studying cost in the US and the living cost in the US are major factors that determine whether the United States of America (USA) is a feasible destination for higher studies. The tuition fee for the USA varies according to the different universities, courses, and cities within a country. The average tuition fee is somewhere around  $50,000 annually for top colleges in the US. Also, the cost fluctuates while pursuing different courses.

Cost of Studying in the USA for International Students

For example, pursuing an MBA is costlier than pursuing an Arts degree. The average cost of pursuing an MBA can be around $70,000 while for an Arts degree, it can be around $35,000. Colleges in the US, which offer undergraduate programs that are for a longer duration, could cost students more than the usual one year of postgraduate study; however, the tuition fee is not to be taken as a yardstick for the quality of education being provided in the institution.

Moreover, students looking to study in the US should remember that tuition fees for government-funded institutions are much lower than for private universities.

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Cost of Studying in the US

The following data reveals the recent cost of studying in the US:

  • According to the College Tuition Inflation Rate Report, published by EducationData, the annual inflation rate for higher education institutions in the US stood at 8%
  • National Center for Education Statistics data reveals that the average fee for a 4-year program in a private non-profit academic institution was USD 37,600 for 2020-21
  • For 2022-23, 1-year cost of an undergraduate program at Harvard University was USD 84,413

College-type in the US (2022-23)

Tuition and Fees in the US

Room and Board Charges in US

Public two-year colleges



Public four-year colleges (in-state fees)



Public four-year colleges (out-of-state fees)



Private non-profit four-year colleges



(Source: Trends in College Pricing 2022 by CollegeBoard)

Also read about: FAFSA for Indian Students

Cost of Popular Courses in the US

The top universities in the US are Princeton University, Harvard University, Yale University, Columbia University, and Stanford University among several others. Most of the best colleges in the country are situated in cities like Boston, New York, Cambridge, Old Saybrook, and New Haven. The more urbanized the place is, the costlier it will be to live.

Business Management, Computer Science, Finance and Accounting, Economics, and Communications/Media are popular courses that Indian students pursue in the US. The cost of studying in the US in a full-time course for the following courses per annum is as follows:

(Source: Shiksha Study Abroad)

Average Cost of Living in the US

The expenses to studying in the USA can be broken down into living, food and studying expenses. The tuition fees for a particular country form one major chunk of the expenditure, the other is the living cost while in the country. It goes without saying that students who live in the city would be shelling out more money than students who choose to stay in the suburban part of the country. On average, a student spends approximately $15,000–$20,000 per year on living expenses while studying in the US. However, this amount entirely depends on the location where a student inhabits. If a student decides to reside in a metropolitan city, he would be spending more than a student who opts for a hostel or suburban accommodation.

Cost of Living in the US - the average cost of living in the USA generally includes the following expenses:

    • Accommodation
    • Room and board
    • Food
    • Travel
    • Textbooks
    • Weather-appropriate clothing
    • Entertainment
    • Personal and miscellaneous expenses

Other expenses that are taken into consideration under living expenses include:

  • Travel expenses between India and the country of choice during vacation time
  • Large purchases, such as a PC, furniture, or even a rental car
  • Medical expenses which are not covered by health insurance, e.g. dental care, eye care, cosmetic treatments
  • Social outings
  • Weekend trips
  • Variable expenses.

Keeping these factors in mind, we have gathered an all-inclusive average living expenses index for students wanting to travel abroad. Students from India can expect to shell out around INR 8.85 Lakhs per annum to cover their living and meal expenses while studying in the US. Plus, student visa fees for USA from India applying for undergraduate courses in rupees is 13,056.

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USA Education Loan

Many times, studying in the US could prove to be an expensive affair. The biggest challenge one always faces in studying in the USA is arranging for funds for studying in the US. Although, there are many financial aid opportunities available for students who want to study in the USA, along with scholarships and grants that can help you with funding your studies, getting financial aid is not as easy as it sounds. 

The cost of living and studying in a country like the USA can be exorbitant and not everyone can afford it. However, the aspiration to study abroad and make it big in life always drives you to overcome these hurdles. Arranging funds is one of the most crucial parts of the whole exercise. Various banks have understood this scenario and resolved the complexity of financing higher education by providing education loans for studying in the US.

There are several banks and financial institutions that are willing to provide education loans for study abroad a student’s education abroad. Education loans are a huge investment for any student and it is important to know the terms and conditions before applying. Some banks offer student loans at competitive rates and provide students with a range of benefits such as flexible repayment options and low-interest rates. Candidates would be required to adhere to their guidelines, to be successfully considered for a student loan for study abroad. Candidates looking to study in the US, with the help of an education loan, need to provide financial institutions and banks with documents and security against their loan amount.

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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



Helllo I am from foreign country from Ethiopia and I need tution free university please?

Reply to Yezbalem Fentahun

in the above page you mentioned four year colleges (in state & out of state) but as a Indian student how to determine which one we are belong to. Since there is price difference how to qualify in-state colleges.

Reply to Abdul Hakeem Habeeb Rahman


Rahul Singha

2 years ago

Hello Abdul. I am sorry for the confusion. But in-state would include students who belong to the state/country in other words should be a US citizen. Out of state would be students who are from a foreign country.


paras arora

2 years ago

Please suggest me some universities for makeup artistry or photography in USA

Reply to paras arora


Rahul Singha

2 years ago

Hello Paras. Take a look at popular universities in the US here:


Magh Singh

4 years ago

Please send me the cost of full undergraduate course cost.

Reply to Magh Singh


Rahul Singha

4 years ago

Hello Magh. Thank for writing to us. if you want to know about the latest tuition fees, kindly check out the link provided below.

4 years ago

Gudence ok thanks

Reply to

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