Cost of Living in USA for International Students

The USA is among the most developed & advanced economies in the world. It's also one of the best countries in the world to study & live in. International students have to spend a hefty amount on tuition fees and living expenses to study and live there. However, if you know the appropriate ways to manage your finances, then it could become very easy & economical for you to study there and enjoy every bit of this once-in-a-lifetime experience.


USD 30000

Average Cost Of Study


International Students

Boost your band score by scheduling a FREE call with our experts

Cost of studying in USA for indian Students

For all the students who want to study abroad, studying in USA is a dream. It’s a desire of majority of the study abroad aspirants to study in a country like USA as it can give boost to their career and help them achieve their future goals. But, it’s the strict guidelines to migrate to the USA, higher cost of studying in USA, and funding which changes the student’s mind to study in USA.

Since very long, USA institutions are known all over the world for providing world-class professionals in various fields such as Engineering, medical sciences, science etc., which have increased the interest of people living in other parts of the world towards USA. Other than that, availability of the latest technology, world-class infrastructure, state-of-the-art facilities assures the students that studying there will help them explore their field of study deeply and learn it to excel in their careers.

Most of the indian students that aspire to study in USA think that studying and living in USA is expensive. But in real, it’s not, if you know how to save money. Various public & private bodies in india offer scholarships, financial aids and loans to the students which help them study in USA.

Cost of living in USA for indian students

Cost of studying in USA depends majorly upon the course or the field you want to study. If student already have STEM related study background, then they will surely need to pay a higher tuition fee for their studies in USA. Other than that, the type of University (public or private University) that students choose to pursue their studies decides the cost of studying in USA for the international students.

In general, there are two types of Universities available in USA

  1. Public University
  2. Private University

When we talk about the public Universities, they are powered or funded by the USA state governments. Their tuition fee is less. Other than that, if we talk about the private universities, they are funded by the private companies, organizations and the fee paid by the students. Therefore, they charge higher tuition fee for the same courses when compared with public universities in USA.

Let’s have a look at the average annual tuition fee that different types of universities charge from the international students for the undergraduate (Bachelor’s programs)

University Cost of study in USD (Annually)
Community College 6000-20000 USD
Public University 26,290 USD
Private non-profit college 35,830 USD

Let’s have a look at the average annual tuition fee that different types of universities charge from the international students for the graduate (Master’s programs)

University Cost of study in USD (Annually)
Public University 25000 USD
Private University 41000 USD

Moreover, if we talk about the cost of studying and pursuing some professional courses in USA like MBA, its cost of study might go higher than 70000 USD for an year.

Different parts in USA and their monthly cost of study

Let’s have a look at the estimated monthly cost of studying with well-estabalished universities and institutions in USA.

South (USA)
Location Monthly Cost of living in USD (Excl. rent)
Houston (Texas) 823 USD
Dallas (Texas) 912 USD
Central (USA)
Location Monthly Cost of living in USD (Excl. rent)
Seattle 1175 USD
New Orleans 973 USD
North Central (USA)
Location Monthly Cost of living in USD (Excl. rent)
Detroit 917 USD
Chicago 1023 USD
East Coast (USA)
Location Monthly Cost of living in USD (Excl. rent)
Boston 1170 USD
Atlanta 1031 USD
Washington DC 1120 USD
Miami 1069 USD
Philadelphia 1043 USD
New York City (NYC) 1359 USD
West Coast (USA)
Location Monthly Cost of living in USD (Excl. rent)
San Francisco 1249 USD
San Diego 988 USD

Cost of Accommodation in USA

Accomodation cost of a student majorly depends upon where and which type of accommodation they want to have.

While studying in USA, Students can choose to live on-campus, off-campus, outside the campus area etc. Below- mentioned are the types of accommodation and their cost in USA, which will give you an approximate idea of the cost you will need to spend in order to live in USA while studying there.

Type of Accommodation Cost of living in USD
Dorms off campus 450 USD / month (for a room that is shared by 4)
On-campus residence

Public four-year colleges : 9800 USD / year

Private four-year colleges : 11,100 USD / year

1 bedroom apartment in a build-up city 3500 USD / month
1 bedroom apartment in a rural area 500 USD / month
We Promise


In your IELTS Exam

No Progress? Get your Fees back, no questions asked

Cost of food in USA

Food expenses of the students studying in USA also depends highly upon their eating habits and lifestyle. Students who decide to have an on-campus accommodation always get the option of choosing the meals when they fill out the on-campus accommodation form. While living in a hostel, students have to pay approx.. 250-260 USD for their food, which includes 3 meals a day at the hostel mess.

Other than that, students who want to reside off-campus have to manage their groceries and food costs on their own. On an average, the monthly food expenses including the groceries can go upto 150-200 USD, depending upon the location where student is studying. However, students can shop groceries from some affordable shopping stores in USA like Costco, target, trader joe’s, and walmart to save some money as they provide some special monthly discounts to the students.

Food Item Average cost (Approx.)
Combo meal 8 USD
Basic lunch 15 USD
Whole fat milk (1 litre) 0.88 USD
Chicken breast (boneless) (500 gm) 4.23 USD

Accelerate your IELTS exam preparation through our exclusive range of courses

We have hand-picked 3 courses (Crash course, Regular Course, Comprehensive) for you that you can avail according to your convenience to prepare for an IELTS exam.

by Masterprep

Cost of transportation in USA

All in all, I would say that the public transportation system of USA is fast and efficient which makes it very easy for the students to travel. Other than that, availability of multiple transportation modes such as bicycles, trains, taxies, subways and buses makes it easier for a student to travel according to their budget. Public transport like metros and buses provides passes to the student that they can avail to travel from one place to another. Generally, the monthly cost of public transportation for international students in USA goes between 40-100 USD, depending upon the location where they live in USA.

Type of transportation Average transportation cost in USD
Monthly public transport ticket 73
Taxi 2.50/mile
1 Litre gas 0.935 USD

States in USA that have the highest cost of living

State Avg. home price Milk (half gallon) Energy bill (monthly)
Hawaii 1,386, 483 4.31 USD 470.38
New york 2,227,806 3.11 USD 157.70
California 1,386, 483 4.31 USD 470.38

States in USA that have the Lowest cost of living

State Household income (median) Ground beef Milk Eggs
Mississippi 45,792 3.77 1.89 1.14
Kansas 62,087 4.11 1.89 1.14
Kansas 62,087 4.11 1.89 1.14
Kansas 62,087 4.11 1.89 1.14

Common Queries

What is included in cost of living?

The amount needed to pay for essential costs to uphold a particular level of living in a specific location and period is referred to as the cost of living. Generally, the living costs associated with housing, taxes, food, health care, education, clothing, entertainment, and transportation are considered necessary to live.

What are common monthly expenses?

Common monthly expenses include

  • Housing
  • Utilities (Electricity, heater, water, sewer)
  • Gas
  • Costs associated with Vehicle & transportation
  • Phone
  • Internet, streaming services or cable services
  • Groceries
  • Memberships
  • Travel
  • Healthcare

What is lowest salary in United States?

The lowest minimum wage that has been decided by the authorities in the United States is 7.25 dollars per hour.

What is the average monthly income in the United States?

If we talk about the year 2021, the average gross yearly wage for a full-time worker in the USA was somewhere around 74,738 USD, which was 4,648 USD more than the 2020), or around 6,228 USD per month.

Average living expenses for a person in USA?

If you are single and living in the United States, then your average cost of living there would be around 3,200 USD monthly, which sums around 38,000 USD per year. If you have a family consisting 4 members, then you will need to spend around 7,000 USD monthly which sums around 85,000 USD per year.

USA Student Cost of Living in USA Guide

For international students, Cost of living in USA depends upon their lifestyle habits, accommodation type and many other factors. Below mentioned are the tables that will help you understand the cost of living in USA for the international students other than the cost of studying there.


Type of accommodation Cost in USD
On-campus residence Four year colleges (public) : 9800 USD/year
Four year colleges (private): 11,100 USD/ year
Dorms-off campus 450 USD/ month ( shared by 4)
1 bedroom apartment (rural area) 500 USD/month
1 bedroom apartment (built-up city) 3500 USD/month


Food Avg. cost
Basic lunch 15 USD
Combo meal 8 USD
Boneless chicken breast ( 500 g) 4.23 USD
Whole fat milk  (1 litre) 0.88 USD
Eggs (1 dozen) 2.92 USD
Tomatoes (1 kg) 4.16 USD
Local cheese ( 500g) 6 USD
Apples (1 kg) 3.46 USD
Bread ( for two) 2.22 USD


Types of transportation Average cost (USD)
1 litre gas 0.935 USD
Public transport ticket (monthly) 73 USD
Taxi 2.50 USD/ mile


Item Cost in USD
Jeans 47 USD
Shoes (1 pair) 88 USD
Cold medicine ( for a week) 7 USD
Toilet paper 1.82 USD
toothpaste 1.82 USD
Prepaid mobile tariff ( 1 minute) 0.22 USD
Gym ( 1 month) 49  USD
Wi-fi 427 USD
Movie tickets ( for two) 205 USD

FAQs on Cost of Living in USA for International Students in 2023

If you want to pursue a master's degree in the United States, then you will need approximately 30 lacs per year for it. This amount includes your living expenses, which will cost around 8 lacs and a tuition fee which will cost you more than 22 lacs a year

The expenses of studying in the USA depend on the Program/Institution you choose. For different programs, there are different fees. It also depends on the locality you choose to live in and how much you spend on material things. If you live strategically, manage your finances well, and work part, you will barely find living in the USA as expensive.

USA's best cities for students include: ? Boston. ? New York. ? San Francisco. ? Los Angeles. ? Chicago. ? Philadelphia. ? Washington DC. ? Pittsburgh ? Atlanta. ? San Diego

The cost of studying in the USA highly depends on the stream you opt for studying. Humanities, education and art courses are cheaper in the USA, but when it comes to medicine and engineering, these are pretty expensive.

The USA has some of the most preferred universities in the world, and some are pretty affordable. Here are some of the cheapest universities in the USA that you can study in as an International Student: • University of Wisconsin • University of North Texas • San Francisco State University • California State University • San Jose State University • Western Kentucky University • Illinois State University • University of Nebraska • Florida International University • Florida Atlantic University • Roosevelt University

The living cost for a student in USA would be around 10,000-18,000 USD/ year and 1000-1500 USD/ month. It may vary according to the lifestyle, accommodation choice of the student.

The amount of money you can earn while studying in USA depends a lot upon your experience, skills and the place where you are studying in USA. Generally, students earn between 7-10 USD per hour and if you have relevant experience and skills, then you can earn more than that.

Wyoming is the cheapest state to live in USA for the international students.

If you talk about Canada and USA, we would say that studying in Canada is cheaper and more economical than studying USA. Tuition fee taken by the Canadian institutions is around 27 % cheaper than the USA. Other than that, the currency exchange rate of US dollars is higher than the Canadian dollars which creates a lot of difference in the cost of studying there.

USA comes among the top countries when it comes to the safety of Indian students. Moreover, USA is ranked 129th in the GPI (global peace index) which also assures the international students about their safety.

The average cost of living in the US for the family of 4 members sums somewhere around 7,000 USD/ month and 85,000 USD/ year.