Cost of Living in New Jersey for International Students 

5 minute read

New Jersey is a popular destination for international students who want to pursue higher education in the United States. Home to some of the country’s top universities like Princeton University and Rutgers University, the city offers a diverse culture and is close to major cities like New York and Philadelphia. However, living in New Jersey can also be quite expensive, especially for students who have to manage their budget and expenses. This blog will explore the cost of living in New Jersey for international students in 2024. We will cover the costs of housing, transportation, food, utilities, education, and entertainment. Read on to know more!

Why Live and Study in New Jersey?

Also known as the “Garden State”, New Jersey offers a unique combination of academic excellence, diverse cultural experiences, and access to major metropolitan areas. This makes it a compelling choice for international students to live and study. Here are some other attractive reasons:

  1. New Jersey boasts prestigious universities like Princeton University (#1 in the US) and Rutgers University, offering many academic programs, opportunities for research, and career development.
  2. New Jersey’s diverse population allows students to experience different cultures, cuisines, and traditions. 
  3. Despite its urban reputation, New Jersey boasts stunning beaches, mountains, and scenic parks, offering various outdoor recreational activities.
  4. Being neighbours with NY and Philadelphia, New Jersey’s location allows students to experience world-class museums, theaters, historical landmarks, and diverse entertainment options.
  5. New Jersey’s strong economy, particularly in sectors like pharmaceuticals, finance, and technology, can provide valuable internship and job opportunities for international students seeking career experience in the US.

Cost of Living in New Jersey for International Students

The cost of living in New Jersey for international students is USD 1,625 – 2,250 per month. This cost covers all the essential expenses like food, rent, entertainment, transportation and utilities. Given below is a general breakdown for the same:

ExpenseMonthly Cost (in USD)
Accommodation$600 – $1,200 per month 
Food$250 – $400 per month (groceries)
Transportation$50 – $100 per month
Utilities$100 – $200 per month 
Entertainment$50 – $200 per month

Let’s look at these costs in detail one by one:

Cost of Living in New Jersey: Accommodation

Accommodation for students in New Jersey is around USD 600 – 1,200 per month. Given below is the monthly rent for different types of accommodation options available in the city:

Accommodation TypeMonthly Rent
On-campus housing$500 – $1,000 per month (including meals)
Shared apartment$600 – $1,200 per month
Studio apartment$800 – $1,500+ per month

Here’s the monthly cost of living in New Jersey based on the location of the accommodation:

LocationMonthly Rent (in USD)
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre$3,122
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre$2,250
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre$5,033
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre$3,360

Cost of Living in New Jersey: Food

This cost of living in New Jersey is roughly around USD 250 – 400 per month, if you decide to cook at home. Given below are the prices of individual grocery items available in the city’s supermarkets:

Grocery ItemPrice
Milk (regular), (1 liter)$1.24 
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g)$4
Rice (white), (1kg)$5.33 
Eggs (regular) (12)$4.06
Local Cheese (1kg)$19.81
Chicken Fillets (1kg)$13.23
Apples (1kg)$4.70
Banana (1kg)$1.75
Oranges (1kg)$4.71
Tomato (1kg)$5.87
Potato (1kg)$3.06
Onion (1kg)$3.75
Lettuce (1 head)$2.66
Water (1.5 litre bottle)$2
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range)$15
Domestic Beer (0.5 litre bottle)$1.73
Imported Beer (0.33 litre bottle)$3

Cost of Living in New Jersey: Entertainment

Here’s how much entertainment contributes to the overall cost of living in New Jersey:

ActivityMonthly Cost (in USD)
Concerts/Live events$100+
Streaming services$10 – $20
Dining out$15 – $60
Other activities (bowling, amusement parks)$20

Cost of Living in New Jersey: Utilities

Given below is the contribution of the basic utilities to the overall cost of living in New Jersey for international students:

ActivityMonthly Cost (in USD)
Electricity$50 – $100
Internet$60 – $100
Water and Trash Collection$20 – $50

Cost of Living in New Jersey: Transportation

With a well-built network of public transport, here’s how much transportation adds up in the total cost of living in New Jersey for students:

Mode of TransportationMonthly Cost (in USD)
Bus (local)$15 – $60
Train (local)$10 – $50
NJ Transit Pass (unlimited rides)$80 – $150+
Ridesharing (Uber, Lyft)$10 – $20+ (per ride)
Biking (rental)$50 

Cost of Living in New Jersey: Average Tuition Fees

The cost of living in New Jersey for international students also includes academic expenses like their tuition fees. While it can vary from university to university depending on the type of course and its level, here’s a rough estimate for the same:

LevelAverage Tuition Fees (in USD)
Undergraduate courses$20,000 – $55,000 per year
Graduate courses$25,000 – $60,000 per year

Things to Consider Before Moving to New Jersey

After you’re done calculating the cost of living in New Jersey, here are some other important things to consider before moving there as an international student:

  1. Research the specific visa type you need to study in the US as an international student. Start this process early, as it can involve lengthy procedures and documentation requirements.
  2. Familiarize yourself with US immigration regulations, including reporting requirements, travel restrictions, and work authorization options for international students.
  3. Be prepared to adapt to a new cultural environment, including social norms, communication styles, and everyday life practices in the US.
  4. Connect with international student services at your university, student organizations, and local communities to build a support network and ease the transition.
  5.  Research health insurance options available for international students in New Jersey.
  6. Familiarize yourself with local transportation options like public buses, trains, or consider biking if feasible.
  7. New Jersey experiences all four seasons. Be prepared for hot and humid summers and cold winters with potential snowfall.

Relevant Reads:

Cost of Living in Breda Netherlands: Per Month Living Cost for International StudentsCost of Living and Top Reasons to Live in Thames, NZ
Cost of Living in Graz for International Students: A 2024 GuideCost of Living in Tula: A 2024 Guide on Expected Expenses
A 2024 Guide to Cost of Living in Kitchener Canada for International StudentsCost of Living in Wakefield, UK for International Students


Q1. What is the average monthly cost of living for international students in New Jersey?

Ans: The average monthly cost generally falls within the range of $1,625 – $2,250. This includes estimated costs for accommodation, food, transportation, books, health insurance, and other expenses.

Q2. Which is more affordable in the US, on-campus or off-campus housing?

Ans: On-campus housing is generally cheaper than off-campus housing, but availability can be limited. Sharing an apartment with roommates is often the most cost-effective option within off-campus housing.

Q3. How much should I budget for entertainment and utilities per month?

Ans: Budgeting $150 – $400 per month can cover a range of entertainment options and utilities for a single student in a shared apartment. It varies with factors like frequency of going out, hobbies, utility usage, and apartment size. 

We hope that this blog gave you a complete picture of the cost of living in New Jersey for international students. Stay tuned to Leverage Edu for more such content on student life abroad. Thank you for reading!

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