Is it Expensive to Study in the USA?

Tuition prices in the United States have been on the rise for years, making it one of the most expensive countries in the world to study. In this post, we will take a look at the cost of studying in the USA and some of the ways you can finance your education. 

It can be expensive to study in the US, especially as an international student. The United States is one of the most sought-after countries for international students who are looking to further their education which makes it even more competitive. However, there are many ways through which you can finance your education or study at a lower rate. 

Contrary to popular belief, studying in the United States can be one of the many means to get a reputable degree without spending a fortune. Most international students shy away from making inquiries because they already think that studying in the United States is a feat for wealthy families or families who have saved up a fortune to send their child or ward to school abroad.

You can study in the United State within your informed budget. Even if you want to study in world-class universities such as Harvard University, there are scholarships that you can take advantage of to study at no cost. There are public and private universities and community colleges which are mostly two-year programs in the United States so you have several options to choose from.

Now, it’s time to show you how you can study at low costs in the United States and how you can finance your education if you don’t have enough money to fund your education. We will take a look at the cost of studying and living in the United States and other costs that you may not know about.

We will also take a look at the cost of studying in some countries and how they compare to the cost of studying in the United States. Keep reading to find out more. 

Tuition fees

The tuition fee is one of the many costs you have to pay to study in the United States especially if you don’t have a scholarship. If you have a scholarship that is cover some percentage of your tuition fee, you will have to pay the rest of the tuition fee. You can be asked to pay either full or half of your tuition to proceed with your admission into the school. Either way here is some useful information about average tuition fees in the United States.  

The average fee for a two-year course in public college costs for a bachelor’s degree is around $8000 – $15000 per year. In a private college, it costs around $10000 to $20000 per year. If you want to pursue a Master’s Degree in a public college, it will cost you around $10000 to $15000. The same course if you want to pursue from a private college you need to spend 15000 to 25000 US$. 

If you are looking to pursue STEM programs, tuition fees will be much higher than this but you can still go to public universities or colleges for lower costs. For instance, an MBA in top business schools may cost up to $50,000 in the United States. However, they are worth the cost as most students who

graduate from these schools get their first job within the first three months and they mostly earn at least $100,000 per month. 

You can also decide to pay your fees per year or per semester to make things easier. This way, you may have enough time to look for the next installment as semesters usually last for about six months.

Contrary to popular beliefs, there are tuition-free schools in the United States like in some countries in Europe. An example of such a school is Berea College where you don’t have to pay tuition fees for the school. However, you will be required to write GRE/TOEFL to show your English proficiency as an international student especially if you’re from a country where English is not your first or official language. 

However, these schools are often highly competitive since a lot of people are trying to get in. So you should prepare adequately for your application and required tests to get a chance. 

Like most countries, states universities that are state-funded are a lot cheaper than private universities that are owned privately. You can find state or public schools in the United States with subsidized tuition fees since they are owned and funded by the state. Although international students pay more than United States citizens, studying in a public school as an international student can further reduce your tuition cost. 

Now let’s take a look at the living costs needed while schooling and living in the United States.

Living Costs

The standard of living in the United States can be as high as reported by economists. However, you can cut costs if you manage your expenses properly. What takes up the chunk of your accommodation fee is the rent. So you may want to start cutting things down from here so it can positively affect the rest of your living costs. 

In general, university towns inside the Midwest vicinity of the United States have lower living charges, whereas the East and North East are more expensive. The common rental starts at $500 according to month (a one-bedroom apartment in a rural area) and goes up to $3,500 (a one-bedroom condo in Boston). So you want to ensure that you take up accommodation in less expensive towns or regions. 

On-campus lodging is typically in dormitories, with or three humans according to room. Residents share bathrooms, bathrooms, and showers. This can be another affordable option for you when it comes to finding low-cost accommodation. 

Food is not expensive in the United States as you can budget an average cost of about $200-$350 per month for your feeding. You can also decent meal for as low as $15 if you decide to eat out sometimes. However, cooking at home can help you save much more than eating out so you can get groceries and make food at home. 

Transportation costs about $50-$60 per month. You can cut transportation costs by getting accommodation in school dormitories or on-campus lodging. This will save you the stress of planning for transportation costs since you only have to walk a few minutes to the school. However, you will need transportation to go to other places that are not close to the school.

Other Expenses

Apart from living expenses, there are other expenses that you’d need to cover. These include miscellaneous and emergencies such as health issues. It is important to get your health covered through health insurance. 

Health insurance in the United States usually costs around $500-$1500 per year so you can budget for that. You want to ensure that you have yourself covered in case of medical emergencies. This is an equally important cost in your study in the United States. When you have your health insurance covered, you will be able to take care of your health regardless of how unexpected health issues arise. 

Wifi is also another expense that you have to prepare for. Not all accommodations have wifi covered in the rent so you may have to pay additional fees for wifi to be able to use the internet. You can budget $50-$60 per month for the internet. 

You are allowed to work on-campus for about 20 hours a week in the United States when the school is in session. During vacation, you can work full-time up to 40 hours per week. This can help you cover some of your expenses as you can earn up to $15 per hour which is about $300 per week. You are, however, required to pay tax if you work while studying in the United States. 

You may be required to buy certain textbooks that are important to your study so you may want to budget for this also. You can also budget for expenses that may arise as a result of growing interest or due to necessity such as membership fees, social events, and others. 

Comparison to Other Countries

Now that you already have enough knowledge about the costs of your study in the United States, we can take a look at the comparison between the cost of studying in the United States and other popular countries.

United Kingdom

The lowest tuition you can find in the U.K schools starts from about $10,000-$12,000. There are lots of prestigious universities in the United Kingdom which partly explains why the tuition is on the high side which is the same as in the United States.

Studying in the United Kingdom can be as competitive as studying in the United States, however, a lot of international students move to study in the United Kingdom as a result of its business-oriented nature. 

t can cost up to $10,000 per year to study in the United States while you can study in the United Kingdom for as low as £8,000 per year.

For post-graduate courses, you can get admissions after finishing a three-year undergraduate course in the United Kingdom while you need to have completed a four-year undergraduate course in the United States. 

In the United States, English proficiency exams such as TOEFL/GRE/IELTS are rarely waived as you are required to take these exams with a specific cutoff mark to be able to enroll in US schools. On the other hand, some schools in the United Kingdom may waive English Proficiency exams if you took your undergraduate studies in English. 

The United Kingdom encourages post-study work if you have completed a program in the United Kingdom. The United States usually requires students to go back to their home countries immediately after their studies in the United States. 

You can work up to 20 hours in both the United States and the United Kingdom. 


Unlike the United States, you can study in Germany at no cost as most schools are tuition-free. However, you will be required to take care of your living expenses which are essential to your study in Germany. Most international students spend about 700 to 900 pounds ($939 to $1,207)per month on their living expenses. In the United States, you have to pay tuition (unless you find a tuition-free school) and cover your living expenses. 

Like most countries in Europe, Germany encourage international students to stay back in the country after their programs. The United States mandates all students to return to their home countries after their degree unless they find a job and their employer is ready to assist in all required paperwork. 


Most schools in Norway are tuition-free and like most European countries so all you need to worry about is the living costs. To study in Norway as an international student, however, you need to take care of your study expenses in Norway which can be as high as $1500. 

Schools are not free in the United States, unlike Norway where you don’t have to pay tuition in some schools.  

In Norway, even though the living expenses are the only expenses that you have to worry about, it is almost as high as paying for tuition. You can cut costs on living expenses when you plan and prioritize your expenses in the United States. 

Asides from this, there are also other expenses that you need to pay for such as the student union fee. These also contribute to the study and living expenses in Norway.


The United States can be affordable to study in. You only need to budget your money carefully and make sure you are aware of all the costs associated with your study. You can also make things easy by checking out tuition-free and low-cost schools that will save you money good use of the information in this article and start planning for your study in the United States and make your study abroad dreams become a reality.