Cost of studying in the US: Tuition, accommodation fee and other expenses


With the most advanced education, the US has always been one of the attractive study destinations for international students. However, the living standard is so expensive. This makes many people who intend to study in the US afraid. So, cost of studying in the US becomes a hot topic for many international students.

The cost of studying abroad in the US is always a concern of parents
The cost of studying abroad in the US is always a concern of parents

1. Cost of tuition

With a system of more than 4,000 universities and colleges, tuition fees in the states vary greatly and the tuition fees of schools in the same state are also significantly different.

1.1. High school 

The system of public schools is for indigenous citizens only. Therefore, international students must study at private schools with tuition fees ranging from 15,000-25,000 USD/year.

Besides, if students do not have relatives in the United States, they are required to stay in boarding. The total cost of studying in US high school can range from 28,000 - 40,000 USD/year.

1.2. Diploma, undergraduate and graduate

There is no common fee bracket for US schools. Most schools are self-funded and self-pay. Therefore, tuition fees also vary by school. Specifically, at leading universities (usually non-profit private organizations), the tuition fee can be up to 40,000-50,000 USD/ year.

International students may seek more affordable options at public universities. The most affordable option among all is the public college (also called a community college). This is an environment where students can complete a bachelor's degree program or get a general university degree.

2. Cost of living

For international students who have relatives in the United States, they can stay with them to save money. Besides, there are many options for international students studying in the US, including:

2.1. On-campus accommodation

Students will stay in residential accommodation or apartments managed by schools in the US. Prices will vary by school. In particular, whether you choose to stay in a single room or shared room, including meals or not, will also depend on the fee.

International students will have to pay from 8,400 to 12,200 USD/year. The advantage of on-campus accommodation is that you have the opportunity to connect and interact with other students very quickly. This is a good choice for freshmen to experience student life and meet and communicate in a multicultural environment.

2.2. Off-campus accommodation

International students can rent or share an apartment outside the school with other students. Typically, the cost will be lower than in schools. The price of a one-bedroom apartment ranges from 600 USD (suburban area) - 3,000 USD/month (in big cities).

If you share a room with others, you will pay about 450-700 USD/month. International student offices often provide students with information about apartments/accommodations for easy searching.

2.3. Homestays

Please note that only a few universities offer this service. This service is usually more expensive than renting a room, but students are supported by a host family and help integrate American culture quickly. The homestay accommodation fee can range from 10,000 - 13,000 USD / year.

2.4. Utility costs 

Utilities may or may not be included in the house/room rental. Therefore, you should carefully check with the landlord before deciding to rent. Here are some utilities and their average prices:

  • Electricity: 50 - 100 USD/month.
  • Heating: 50 - 100 USD/month.
  • Internet: 45-50 USD/month.
  • Telephone: 50 USD/month.
  • Water and sanitation costs are usually paid by the landlord, but if you have to pay it will cost 15-25 USD/month.

3. Cost of food

If you live on-campus, you can choose accommodation with meals, for an additional fee of about 250 USD/month.

If you choose to have meals at the restaurant, the prices are as follows: a pizza costs about 7 USD and a cup of coffee costs 4.5 USD. If in Chicago, you will pay about 12 USD for a meal, while in San Francisco will be 15 USD.

The average cost of international student meals is about 300-500 USD/month. Fast food restaurants are chosen by many international students because of their convenience and affordable prices.

However, you should also go to the market and cook at home to ensure hygiene and full of nutrients.

4. Cost of travel

The monthly public transport pass is priced at 45-100 USD. The most expensive shipping cost is the cost of travelling from home country to the US and vice versa.

In addition, you should also budget for travel and enjoy the weekend, this depends on the place of residence and the destination you want to explore. Usually, you will pay about 500 USD for a trip.

5. Other expenses

  • Application fee: 45-100 USD (depending on the school)
  • VISA fee: 200 USD
  • Books and materials: 500 - 1,200 USD/year
  • Health insurance: 700-1,100 USD

Thus, the answer to the question "How much does it cost to study in the US" depends largely on your study path and financial condition.

In addition, you can always apply for scholarships to study in the US or financial aid to reduce your financial burden. Reputable universities often offer extremely generous full scholarships for international students.

6. Free support from ApplyZones

If you still have questions about studying in the US, come to ApplyZones to get the most detailed and accurate advice from experienced staff. We believe that ApplyZones’ consultants can help each individual arrange the most appropriate study abroad path.

There are deadlines you need to keep in mind so as not to miss any chance of applying for admission. If you intend to study in the US in the near future, contact us for support.

Free support services from ApplyZones include:

  • Free consultancy on overseas study
  • Advice on choosing a suitable school and courses
  • Introducing suitable American scholarships
  • Support to apply for admission, track progress and receive confirmation letters from the school
  • Practice interviewing, completing a free US student visa application with a high success rate
  • Advice on accommodation and financial planning
  • Booking air tickets, guidance before departure


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