Cost of Living in the U.S. for International College Students

International College Students Cost of Living in USA

Many youngsters are interested in pursuing education in the US and get degrees in their fields of interest. As we are all well aware, higher education in the US can be an expensive undertaking depending on the University you choose. Being an international student in any country, more so in the United States will be a life changing experience for many. Many factors have to be taken into account before one begins packing bags. Here is a checklist to consider:

What are the Goals?

  • Why do you want to go overseas?
  • How much time you are willing to spend on higher education?
  • Are you pursuing a professional degree?
  • Opportunities at home for the same?
  • Will the credentials be recognized?
  • Will the money invested be justifiable and can you earn it back?
  • Is the University an accredited one?

Once these questions are covered, the other issues to take into account will be to see if you are academically prepared and if you meet the criteria required to pursue the degree. Admissions for US Universities are very competitive – so make sure that the following things are in order:

  • Good GPA
  • Admissions tests like TOEFL, GMAT or GRE
  • Presentations

Once all these aspects have been addressed, the other factors to take into account are how much it will cost to get a degree. This will depend on whether it is a private college or a state run college and whether you will get some kind of a scholarship. Let’s go into some detail to get a better idea of living expenses.


Some colleges in U.S are private and some public. Public colleges receive funding from the state government and private colleges charge the full amount from students. No matter what college you choose to attend, tuition will make up the biggest chunk of your expenses. International students can get some financial aid if they don’t have a full scholarship. This can be very competitive and you can apply and get it if you have the requisite qualifications. Do your research in advance and make sure that you have the funds to last you for the period of your studies.


This is the next biggest expense – as a student you can decide whether you want to live in a dormitory or share an apartment with other students. Living close to the campus is a good idea to cut down on transportation costs. Some cities are more expensive than others and you should be able to find affordable housing wherever you decide to go to school.

Health Insurance

Health insurance is an absolute must for anyone going to the US. Easy access to health care is available and many colleges offer cheap medical care and insurance to students. Make sure you have adequate insurance as it can get very expensive to pay it out of your pocket.


The US is a very big country and every state has its own culture and feel. You have to make the choice of whether you want to be in a small town or a big city. In a big city, you can afford to live away from the University as good transport is generally available.

The weather also varies so make sure that you are well prepared for winters if you are going to a northern state. Make sure that the location that you choose is affordable – for instance, Florida has great climate but many of the cities are very expensive to live in and living costs could soar.

Social Activity

As an international student, you will get to meet a lot of people from different countries as well as people from within the US. This is a fantastic way to get to know other cultures and broaden your horizons. You will also get the opportunity to participate in sports, volunteer organizations and academic societies which match your interests.

All in all, this will be the experience of a lifetime – so plan well and make the most of your money and education.

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