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How Costly is it to Study in the United States?

Shishant Kumar Shishant Kumar
Study Abroad Expert

The United States is one of the most sought-after education destinations with 1,078,822 international students from all across the world, as of 2018. It is also the costliest for this purpose in the world. An international student spends an average of $33,215 annually while studying in the US. A four-year program in the US costs an average of $132,860 for an international student, including the cost of living.

Cost of studying in the US varies depending upon a number of factors like the program, type of university, city of residence, financial aid granted, etc. The US has two types of universities - public and private non-profit; tuition fee for public universities is lower as compared to that of private ones. The city you live in also affects your expenses, for e.g. cost of living in New York City is a lot higher than the cost of living in Austin, Texas. The following article provides explicit information about the cost of studying in the US.

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Cost of Education in the United States

Providing high-quality education, the universities in the United States can charge between $5000-$50,000/year for a  course. The tuition fee in a public state university also varies depending upon the type of student - in-state or out-state. A student resident of the state may have to pay $7,000/year for a course while a student from out of that state may have to pay up to $25,000/year for the same course.

Most of the ivy league universities in the United States are private non-profit universities. The tuition fee in such universities is standard for all the students, in-state or out-state, of a course. It can range between $34000 - $ 70,000 for a year depending upon the course.

The tuition in these colleges also depends on the course one wants to pursue. The MBA and medical programs are the costliest programs and may cost up to $75,000 for a year.

Average Tuition Fee of Top Ten Public Universities

University NameIn-state studentsOut-state students
University of California, Los Angeles$13,611$43,01
University of Michigan, Ann-Arbor$15,761$15,761
University of California, Berkeley$14,170$42,184
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill$9,005$34,588
University of California, Davis$14,419$42,433
University of California, San Diego$14,018$42,032
Purdue University$9,992$28,794
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign$17,293$34,719
University of Virginia$16,155$47,650
University of Washington$10,974$35,538

Average Tuition Fee of Top Ten Public Universities

University NameAverage Yearly Tuition Fee
Harvard University$46,340
Massachusetts Institute of Technology$49,892
Yale University$53,395
Columbia University$51,640
California Institute of Technology$49,908
Stanford University$49,617
Brown University$55,554
Princeton University$49,055
Dartmouth College$51,468
Duke University$51,720

Average Yearly Tuition Fee for Ten Most Popular Programs in the United States

ProgramNumber of International StudentsAverage Yearly Tuition Fee
Business Administration200,312$56,000
Computer Science107,682$25,000
Visual & Applied Arts59,736$22,000
Social Sciences52,568$32,000
Liberal Arts & Sciences50,360$20,000
Intensive English40,887$10,000
Biological and Biomedical Sciences40,184$20,000
Health Professionals33,947$50,000

Cost of Living in the United States

New York and California have the highest density of international students in the United States with 11% and 14.5% of the international student population in the US respectively. These two states are also among the most expensive ones to live in the US.

98% of the students live on campuses in the most universities in the United States. Both on and off campus accommodation can cost between $400-$3000 per month depending upon the university and city you live in.  The ten most popular states among international students and the average cost of living in the US(rent excluded) there is given in the table below -

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StateNumber of International Students as of 2017Major CityAverage Monthly Cost of Living in the US(rent excluded)
California157,000San Francisco$1,143.56
New York118,000New York City$1,245.25

Comparison of Cost of Living in the US       

The cost of living in some of the major cities in the United States is higher than most place in the world. On an estimate, the cosmopolitan cities like New York, Los Angeles, etc. are about 6% costlier than other cities like London, Hong Kong, Paris, Singapore, etc. Cities like Austin, Texas, Washington DC are comparatively cheaper than New York and Los Angeles.

  • Cost of living in New York is -
    • 6% more than of London;
    • 27% more than of Paris;
    • 18% more than of Sydney;
    • 60% more than of Berlin
    • 38% more than of Toronto
    • 23% more than of Tokyo
  • Cost of Living in San Francisco is -
    • 9% more than of London;
    • 30% more than of Paris;
    • 21% more than of Sydney;
    • 64% more than of Berlin
    • 41% more than of Toronto
    • 27% more than of Tokyo
  • Cost of Living in Boston is -
    • 12% less than of London;
    • 5% more than of Paris;
    • 3% less than of Sydney;
    • 32% more than of Berlin
    • 14% more than of Toronto
    • 2% more than of Tokyo
  • Cost of Living in Chicago is -
    • 15% less than of London;
    • 1% more than of Paris;
    • 6% less than of Sydney;
    • 28% more than of Berlin
    • 10% more than of Toronto
    • 2% more than of Tokyo

Intercity Comparison of the Cost of living in the US

  • Cost of Living in New York is -
    • 3% less than of San Francisco;
    • 54% more than of Austin;
    • 21% more than of Boston;
    • 12% more than of Washington D.C.
    • 25% more than of Chicago
  • Cost of Living in San Francisco is -
    • 58% more than of Austin;
    • 24% more than of Boston;
    • 15% more than of Washington D.C.
    • 29% more than of Chicago
  • Cost of Living in Austin is -
    • 21% less than of Boston;
    • 27% less than of Washington D.C.
    • 19% less than of Chicago
  • Cost of Living in Boston is -
    • 8% less than of Washington D.C.
    • 3% more than of Chicago
  • Cost of Living in Chicago is -
    • 11% less than of Washington D.C.
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