Cost of Studying in USA: A Guide

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Cost of Studying in USA: Course Expenses, Visa Cost, and More

Amongst one of the most diverse multicultural societies in the world, the USA has become a bustling cosmopolitan with an intermingled population coming from a broad range of cultural backgrounds. The country is emerging as the world’s top economies and has invested its major resources towards the improvement of its skilled manpower. Planning to study in the USA but unsure about how much it will cost? Through this blog, we will take a look at the cost of studying in USA for Indian students. Moreover, the blog also contains the cost of living in USA for students, ranging from tuition fees to accommodation expenses that you should be aware of before applying for a university in the country.

Cost of Studying in USA

To calculate the cost of studying in USA for Indian students, there are certain indispensables that you should keep in mind while considering the option of relocating to study abroad. These prerequisites include

  • Tuition fees for your chosen course
  • Accommodation expenses
  • Food costs
  • Travel expenses
  • Miscellaneous costs like books, entertainment, clothing, leisure, etc.

We have provided below an average annual cost for pursuing a UG degree at different Universities in the USA:

Community College $17,930 (INR 1340358)
Private University $52,500 (INR 3924640)
Public University $41,950 (INR 3135974)

Let’s have a look at the average annual PG costs now:

Private University $41,000 (INR 3064957)
Public University $25,000 (INR 1868876)

To cover these costs and the cost of living in USA, international students also get the opportunity to work part-time for 20 hours a week and scholarly students may also get a chance to apply to become a research assistant. This assistantship comes with a stipend that would further add to your resume while also providing you with extra pocket money. Let’s take a look at the different factors you need to review to get a gist of the cost of living along with the average tuition fees that you should be prepared to pay to get your head around it.

Also Read: MBA in USA without GMAT

US University Fees for International Students

The cost of studying in USA for Indian students depends on the kind of university you are seeking admission, to a great degree. So, if we compare the expenses of pursuing a course at a public university like the Georgia Institute of Technology or the University of California, then, the expected costs may vary if compared to those wanting to take admission to a private institution like Harvard University or Stanford University, you must be prepared to shell out a bigger sum of money. So, to get a hold of the average tuition fees of different universities, we have created a list of the top US university fees for international students as per the data provided by the US News.

Institution QS World University Ranking 2024Average Tuition Fees (approximately)
Princeton University#=17$52,000 (37,24,000 INR)
Harvard University#4$52,000 (37,24,000 INR)
Columbia University#23$62,000 (45,83,000 INR)
Massachusetts Institute ofTechnology #1$54,000 (38,67,000 INR)
Yale University#16$55,000 (39,38,000 INR)
Stanford University#5$54,000 (38,67,000 INR)
University of Chicago#11$60,000 (42,96,000 INR)
University of Pennsylvania#12$58,000 (41,53,000 INR)
Northwestern University#=47$57,000 (40,81,000 INR)

Also Read: 1 Year Stem Courses In USA

Cost According to Type of Course

The course you choose is an important criterion to decide what the average cost of studying and living in USA looks like. So, if you go for an MBA from Harvard Business School, then, you would be spending 74,000 USD approx (53,00,000 INR) on tuition as per the Annual Cost of Attendance published by Harvard Business School. But if you are opting for a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree from an institution like CalTech, then, you would be spending around an estimated amount of 45,000 USD (32,27,000 INR) on grounds of being an international student as per Caltech.

Cost According to Resident City

One of the major factors contributing to the cost of living in USA depends upon the state or location you are planning to study in. If you are moving to cities like New York City, San Francisco, Honolulu, Boston, Massachusetts, Washington, Oakland, San Jose, or San Diego, then, it will increase your cost of living. But at the same time, you can apply for scholarships or fellowships as per the respective universities or courses to qualify for financial aid which will further help you balance your costs.

Cost of US Student Visa

US student visa costs for international students who have to obtain an I-20 visa are required to pay a visa application fee which costs 350 USD. F1 visa applies to students who are enrolled in a full-time study course, like an undergraduate or graduate degree, which has more than 18 hours of study in a week.

Apart from this, the students will also have to incur a visa issuance fee. This is in case your visa is approved. However, for Indian students, there is no need to pay for the same.

Cost of Living in USA for International Students

Tuition fee is the biggest expense in USA but apart from that, students also have to bear the cost of living in USA. All international students have to cover costs like travel, accommodation, health insurance and miscellaneous expenses like books, leisure activities and phone expenses. The monthly expenditure of international students can range between $1000 to $4000 [73,500 INR – 2,93,500 INR).

When it comes to calculating the cost of living in USA, if you consider living on your own in a rented apartment in a place like Los Angeles, it might cost you around 1,50,000 INR per month. If you add other expenses such as basic utilities, transportation, and food, then you would be spending an average of 4,10,000 INR every month apart from your tuition fees if your current lifestyle costs you 1,10,000 INR in Delhi, NCR as per NUMBEO.

The monthly cost of living in USA is about $700-$1000 (INR 52328 – 74755) which accounts for $10000-$12000 (INR 747550 – 897060) yearly. The charges are inclusive of accommodation, room food, travel, textbooks, and other additional necessities. Let’s have a look at the breakdown of the charges :

  • Accommodation costs around $5000-$7000 (INR 373775- 523285) yearly.
  • For off-campus accommodation, rental charges are nearly $300-$400 per month.
  • Food is estimated to be around $2500 (INR 186887) per year.
  • Travelling costs within the USA range from $300-$700 (INR 22426- 52328) depending on the location.
  • Textbooks and study material costs are nearly $500-$1000 (INR 37377- 74755) yearly.
  • Other expenses will be around $2000 (INR 149510) yearly.

The cost of living in USA for international students is generally high because of the fact that students from across the globe plan on pursuing their higher studies in the USA. However, the cost varies depending upon the location chosen as well. For instance, if the university is in a city like New York, the cost of living for students is very high. Whereas, on the contrary, for universities located in suburban areas be it Ohio or Indiana, the cost of living is considerably low.

Also Read: Popular Intakes in USA


Accommodation is next while calculating the cost of living in USA for international students. Most American universities offer on-campus accommodation to international students which is the cheaper option. You can also live in an apartment nearby your college. The cost of accommodation varies somewhere between $6000 to $12000 [4,40,000 INR to 8,80,000 INR] yearly. International students can also go for options like a homestay or live with local guardians or relatives if they live close to the campus to reduce costs.

Health Insurance

Health insurance is a vital expense that needs coverage. Most universities provide health plans to international students while others expect students to seek out their own insurance plans. The average cost of health insurance for students is somewhere between $1500 to $2500 (1,10,000 INR to 1,83,000 INR) per year.


International students rely on public transportation for conveyance and travel so the monthly cost of travelling is somewhere between $40 to $100 (3000 INR to 7500 INR) depending upon where you live and distance travelled.

Other Essential Expenses

There are other expenses under the cost of living in USA for students such as food, clothing, books, stationery and miscellaneous cost that international students need to cover. The cost of these items also varies depending upon the person and city. The yearly cost of these items can be somewhere between $5000 to $6000 (3,66,638 INR to 4,40,000 INR) or more.

Additional Expenses

Now the costs estimated above are the costs of leading a general life. However, the expenses may go up because of certain additional expenses that include:

  • The traveling costs from India to the US and vice versa during vacation time
  • Purchases like car rental or other essential commodities.
  • Medical expenses that are not covered by health insurance, e.g. dental checkup, eye checkup, and cosmetic treatments
  • Entertainment, social outings, weekend trips

Student Visa and Application Cost

International students have to apply for a student visa after they have received their admission letters. Once, you have been accepted by a Student and Exchange Visitor Program-approved college, you have to register with the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and pay the fees i.e. $350 (25,664 INR). International students then have to apply for a student visa and pay the fee which is $160 (11,732 INR).

Highest & Lowest Living Expenses Cities in USA

If a student is planning to pursue further studies in the USA, he/she must be aware of the cities with the lowest living expenses and those with considerably high living expenses. We have listed some of the US cities with average living expenses below:

  1. Michigan
  2. New Mexico
  3. Georgia
  4. Kanas
  5. Mississippi
  6. Missouri
  7. Oklahoma
  8. Arkansas
  9. Tennessee

Now, let’s have a look at some of the most expensive US cities:

  1. San Francisco, California
  2. New York City, New York
  3. Honolulu, Hawaii
  4. Washington, D.C.
  5. Boston, Massachusetts

Course-wise Cost of Study in the United State of America 

The universities in the USA offers a large variety of academic options. The below-listed course is arranged on the basis of the course-wise cost of study in the USA.

  • Business and Management
  • Engineering and Technology
  • Law
  • Liberal Arts
  • Marine Biology and Life Sciences
  • Maths & Computer Science
  • Medicine
  • Social Sciences

City-wise Cost of Living in the USA for International Students

City in USA  Average Annual Cost
Boston US $ 23k
New York US $ 22k
San Francisco US $ 21k
Chicago US $ 21k
Los Angeles US $ 20k

Calculate the Cost of Living in USA with Leverage Edu

The plan of pursuing higher education abroad is always followed by the thought of how much it will cost to study as well as the living expenses. You can easily check out the tuition fee of a program and manage your finances but calculating the other expenses is a daunting task. Thus, we have come up with a one-of-its-kind Cost of Living Calculator which will estimate your cost of Living in USA and other countries as well. While devising the living costs, our calculator considers a wide range of parameters like accommodation, transportation, food along other basic necessities. It offers a variety of options and choices which you can explore and calculate the estimated cost of living at your dream study destination!

Average Cost of Living in USA for Single Person

To give you a better and detailed idea we have presented the cost of living in USA compared with the capital of India, Delhi. Take a look at all major and minor expenses from Numbeo.

Credits: Numbeo
Credits: Numbeo
Credits: Numbeo

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Does USA colleges offer student housing?

Yes, the majority of American institutions provide their students with on-campus housing options. College housing in the USA can range in price from 9,800 USD to 14,400 USD.

How many days will it take to get admission in USA?

The processing of admissions applications by US institutions takes six to eight weeks. Universities contact chosen candidates to inform them of the choice and the next steps in the admissions process.

Is USA expensive for Indian students?

The US can be an expensive country to study in for international students, However, its world-class education and high-paying job opportunities compensate for the high cost of education.

So, this was all about the cost of studying in USA. Many Indian students dream of pursuing education in foreign nations due to the exposure and career growth they offer. Consider joining a free counselling session with Leverage Edu if you plan to study abroad.

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  1. most of us dreams to pursue or education in usa but the main thing is what will be the studying expenses and other expenses. I got the necessary information I was searching for thank you for the helpful infomation.

    1. Hi Suresh!

      We hope that after reading this blog, you realised that your dream of studying in USA is achievable. If you want some expert guidance then please reach out to us on 1800572000! Best of Luck.

  1. most of us dreams to pursue or education in usa but the main thing is what will be the studying expenses and other expenses. I got the necessary information I was searching for thank you for the helpful infomation.

    1. Hi Suresh!

      We hope that after reading this blog, you realised that your dream of studying in USA is achievable. If you want some expert guidance then please reach out to us on 1800572000! Best of Luck.