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    How Costly is it to Study in the United States?

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    Bhavya Rawal

    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 Name In-state students Out-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

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

    Program Number of International Students Average Yearly Tuition Fee
    Engineering 201,145 $32,000
    Business Administration 200,312 $56,000
    Computer Science 107,682 $25,000
    Visual & Applied Arts 59,736 $22,000
    Social Sciences 52,568 $32,000
    Liberal Arts & Sciences 50,360 $20,000
    Intensive English 40,887 $10,000
    Biological and Biomedical Sciences 40,184 $20,000
    Mathematics 33,969 $23,000
    Health Professionals 33,947 $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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    State Number of International Students as of 2017 Major City Average Monthly Cost of Living in the US(rent excluded)
    California 157,000 San Francisco $1,143.56
    New York 118,000 New York City $1,245.25
    Texas 85,000 Austin $909.87
    Massachusetts 63,000 Boston $1,048.53
    Illinois 52,000 Chicago $972.97
    Pennsylvania 51,000 Philadelphia $1,000.26
    Florida 46,000 Orlando $837.33
    Ohio 39,000 Cleveland $887.10
    Michigan 34,000 Detroit $851.13
    Indiana 31,000 Indianapolis $849.94

    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.