Cost of Studying in US
How much does it cost to Study in the US?
With some of the best universities, colleges, and academic programs in the world, it is no surprise that studying in the US comes at a price. However, due to the mere size of the country and the range of academic institutions and their many settings, the cost to study there varies dramatically.
Students seeking out study opportunities in the US should consider three key factors when making their decision of where to study:
Private or Public Institution
The US has two major types of four-year degree schools: private and public.
Private universities and colleges are typically the most world-renowned institutions in the US. Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Yale, and NYU fall into this category, and students student tend to be most familiar with these before coming to the country. In private schools, the student body tends to range from a couple of hundred to a couple of thousand students. Class sizes are also smaller, and private institutions often boast this as a major advantage. Similarly, their academic focuses are generally more acute, resulting in an even higher quality of education in subjects like liberal arts, science and engineering, and fine arts.
Tuition at these schools tends to be high, ranging between 10,000 USD to 55,000 USD per year, with a US average of 33,480 USD per year.
Public universities and colleges differ from private ones in a variety of ways. While many are recognized around the world (University of California, Berkley and University of California, Los Angeles are renowned for their academic excellence), public schools tend to be lesser-known. This, however, does not mean they lack in rigor. Student bodies are generally bigger, sometimes reaching over 40,000, and class sizes follow suit, often resulting in lectures filled with over 200 students. But these schools tend to provide a broader range of course offerings, allowing students to dip their toes into various fields that might not be offered at private schools.
Tuition for international students tends to be about 10,000 USD less than private schools – they should expect to pay a tuition of approximately 24,930 USD per year.
City or Rural
Choosing to live in a large city or a more remote area of the country can also have an impact on the study cost for students looking to come to the US.
Living in a city has many major benefits to international students: it provides access to a wider range of opportunities when it comes to forming a community, learning about different cultures, and even trying cuisine not just from the US, but from around the world. Because US cities have a higher concentration of diverse individuals living in close proximity to one another, students in these settings will be afforded more opportunities to interact with not only US students, but also global cultures.
However, city living is significantly more expensive that rural dwelling: the top 100 cities in the US have an average cost of living that ranges from 20% to over 140% the average cost of urban living on a global scale.
Students that choose to live in more rural settings in the US are also met with many benefits. Students may find they have more ease with learning the English language when surrounded by often less diverse crowds, not to mention the slower pace of the environment, which permits a greater learning curve for students practicing their English skills. Additionally, those with more of an inclination toward nature will like enjoy a rural setting more than an urban one. Where students might lose the opportunity to learn and engage with a wide variety of cultures in a city, they gain the opportunity to more deeply understand US culture in a rural location.
Living outside of a city in the US is significantly less expensive than living in one. Students avoid higher taxes and increased prices seen in cities in all areas, from food to housing to entertainment.
On-Campus or Off-Campus Housing
When it comes to studying in the US, students must take into account not only where they live, but also how they live: on- or off-campus.
Those who choose to live on-campus will likely pay a premium for the benefits they receive, including a built-in community, plus perks like university-covered wifi, utilities, and maintenance. This is usually the best option for students looking to study in a major US city, as the cost of renting an apartment is much higher in this setting than in a rural environment. Students also make themselves more available for social student opportunities by remaining on-campus, allowing for them to create a community of friends and become actively involved in university life.
On average, students will pay between 9,800 USD and 11,100 USD annually for on-campus housing options, depending on whether their university is public or private, urban or rural.
Students who opt for the off-campus housing options have a few choices they can make – namely, do they prefer an apartment or a homestay? Students interested in off-campus apartments can often turn to their host university for help, which can connect them to students in similar situations with whom they can live. Living in an apartment off-campus has a few benefits, including a less stringent set of rules and more flexibility with location, price, and perks. These tend to be less expensive than on-campus options in rural areas, and more expensive in cities. Alternatively, students can live in a homestay with a family, usually for free or for a low price. They will get the experience of having a family and come to learn more deeply about American culture; however, students are required to follow house rules and sometimes perform tasks around the home, which vary based on host family.
On average, living with a host family is typically the lowest cost option, but students living in off-campus apartments will pay anywhere between 500 USD to 3500 USD monthly, depending on location and number of roommates.