Cost of studying in the USA

The USA’s highly esteemed higher education system attracts a vast number of international students from all corners of the world each year. The country boasts the largest number of top-rated universities renowned globally for their exceptional programs, making it an alluring destination for international students. 

Indian students flock to the United States due to its long-standing reputation for academic excellence. With top-ranked universities, cutting-edge academic facilities, and convenient payment options, the US is a sought-after destination for international students worldwide. However, before you can start selecting your ideal university, it’s essential to consider the total cost of studying in the US. From enrolling in the university to living in the US, having the necessary funds on hand will make for a seamless and enriching educational experience. This blog provides comprehensive information on the cost of studying in the US for Indian students so that you can make informed decisions about your educational journey.

Here we have summed up an approximate expenditure amount for an international student to study in the USA. The amount has been categorised into various sections for better understanding.

Tuition fees

One of the primary costs of studying in the USA is tuition fees. Tuition fees form a crucial component of the cost of education in the USA, with universities categorised into private and public/state institutions. The cost of education at public/state universities is generally lower than at private educational institutions. Tuition fees vary depending on the type of qualification and the chosen university or school. On average, international students can expect to pay roughly $25,000-$55,000 per year in university fees in the USA. However, the actual cost of studying in the USA varies depending on factors such as the chosen course, degree program type, and university. The fees charged for humanities and art courses are significantly lower than for subjects such as business management, engineering, and medicine.

The tuition fees for a bachelor’s degree in the USA can vary from $9000 to $45000, while a master’s degree can cost up to $60000 annually. 

The tuition fees for different institutes are:

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – $50,000 – $55,000 /year
  • Harvard University – $25,000 – $51,000 /year
  • Stanford University – $25,000 – $55,000 /year
  • University of Chicago -$ 55,000 – $59,000/year
  • Yale University – $58,000 – $60,000 /year
  • University of Pennsylvania – $60,000 – $62,000 /year
  • Columbia University – $58,000 – $78,000 /year
  • Princeton University – $56,000 – $58,000 /year

For students facing financial difficulties, the USA offers various scholarship opportunities for international students. Students can apply for scholarships that best suit their needs and requirements. These scholarships typically cover common expenses such as tuition fees and the cost of living.

Living expenses

Typically, the cost of living in the USA falls within the range of 10,000-20,000 USD per year, but this can vary depending on several factors. These factors include the location of the student’s accommodation, the type of housing they choose, their mode of transportation, and their dining preferences, among others.

For most students, the major expenses will include rent, transportation, groceries, internet, and food, among other miscellaneous costs. However, the actual cost of living will differ from student to student, depending on their individual lifestyle choices.

The approximate living expenses can be summed up as follows:

  • House rent – 17,200 USD/year
  • Food – 6,500 USD/year
  • Dormitory housing – 7,588 – 11,914 USD/year
  • Transportation – 2,180 USD/year
  • Books – 900 USD/year

In addition to the costs mentioned above, other essential expenses are included in the overall cost of studying in the USA. These expenses are crucial as they form the foundation for a student’s initial journey to the USA. Here is a list of these additional costs:


The SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) database stores information related to international students, including their reasons for travelling to the USA. Once a student is accepted into their desired university, they will receive an I-20 form with a SEVIS number. Before applying for a visa, students must pay a SEVIS fee of 350 USD.

Health Insurance

Health insurance is a crucial factor to consider when estimating the cost of studying in the USA. Having health insurance makes it more affordable for students to access medical care in the country. The cost of health insurance in the USA ranges from 500-1000 USD per year.

Visa Application Fees

International students must apply for a student visa when studying in the USA, and the F1 visa is the most common option. This applies to undergraduate, graduate, or study courses with over 18 hours of study per week. Students must pay a visa application fee of 160 USD. If approved, there is also a visa issuance fee, but Indian students are exempt from this.

Counselling Fees

Many students prefer to undergo counselling sessions before arriving in the USA. Making the right educational choice is important, which is why counselling sessions can help students choose the course that best suits their interests and skills. A counselling session costs around 340 USD, but this may vary depending on the counsellor chosen.

Application Fee

When submitting their application form, students must pay a non-refundable application fee. The fee varies depending on the university but typically falls within the range of 65-85 USD.

Education loans 

The cost of studying in the USA for Indian students can be humongous, and the most significant challenge faced by many students is arranging the funds required for it. While there are financial aid opportunities, scholarships, and grants available, obtaining them can be a daunting task. The high cost of living and education in the US may prove to be too expensive for some students. Nevertheless, the desire to study abroad and pursue a successful career motivates them to overcome these obstacles. Funding is a crucial aspect of the entire process, and many banks have recognised this by offering education loans for studying in the US.

Numerous financial institutions and banks provide education loans for students who wish to pursue their education abroad. Applying for an education loan is a significant investment for any student, and it is vital to be aware of the terms and conditions before proceeding. Some banks offer student loans at competitive rates and provide flexible repayment options and low-interest rates. Students must adhere to the bank’s guidelines to be eligible for a study abroad loan. Those aspiring to study in the US with the help of an education loan are required to provide financial institutions and banks with the required documents and security against their loan amount.


By earning a scholarship based on their merit or excellence, international students can partially alleviate the financial burden of studying at a US university. Scholarships may be awarded by various entities, including the government, private organisations, or the university itself.

The popular scholarships for studying in the USA are Fulbright Foreign Student Program, Rotary Peace Fellowships, Clark Global Scholarship Program, United World Colleges International Youth Scholarships, etc.

Expert Education is a leading education consultant in India. We help students with the entire planning and execution of the admission process for universities abroad. Contact us to get help for your admission journey. 

Tips for international students to save money while studying in the USA

Studying in the USA as an international student can be a costly affair. However, there are several ways to save money while pursuing your education. Here are some tips:

  1. Look for scholarships and grants: There are many scholarships and grants available for international students. Research and apply for as many as possible to reduce the financial burden.
  2. Choose an affordable college: While prestigious colleges and universities are tempting, they can be expensive. Consider attending a community college for the first two years, as they are more affordable and offer transferable credits.
  3. Get a part-time job: Many universities offer work-study programs that allow students to work part-time on campus. Look for part-time jobs off-campus as well, such as tutoring or working in a restaurant.
  4. Use student discounts: Take advantage of student discounts offered by local businesses, such as restaurants, movie theatres, and transportation services.
  5. Save on housing: Living on-campus can be costly. Consider sharing an off-campus apartment with roommates or look for homestay options with local families.
  6. Cook your own meals: Eating out can be expensive. Cooking your meals in your space is an affordable way to save money. Purchase groceries in bulk to save even more.
  7. Use public transportation: Buying a car and maintaining it can be expensive. You may take public transportation, such as buses and trains to save money.
  8. Plan your travels: If you plan to travel during breaks, book your tickets in advance to get the best deals. Look for student discounts on flights, hotels, and rental cars.
  9. Use free resources: Take advantage of free resources offered by your college, such as the library, gym, and career centre.


Scholarships aren’t difficult to apply for but can be a bit tricky considering the eligibility and deadlines. Expert Education can help you apply for the best scholarships in time.

With various scholarship schemes made available to encourage international students and the loan facility provided by various financial institutions, Indian students can easily afford education in the USA.

The USA is one of the easiest countries to obtain a study visa for Indian students with its hassle-free process. There are no complex requirements, and the instructions mentioned are clear. Make sure to check all the requirements before submitting the documents for easy processing.

Living in the USA is expensive but it depends on how you control your budget. It can depend on the city you live in, the daily expenses, transportation, and the accommodation option you choose.