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Cost Of Living In The US As An International Student


International students are drawn to the US education system for its top-notch universities and multicultural campuses. However, when planning to study in America, one must consider the cost of living, which can be quite high. Here is a guide that lays out the expenses you can anticipate and provides some helpful tips for navigating your American adventure without depleting your bank account.


The cost of studying abroad as an international student in the US differs significantly. As a rough estimate, the price ranges from $10,000 to $25,000 per year, which is equivalent to $1,000 to $2,000 per month. This covers all the necessities for a comfortable stay, including but not limited to:

1. Accommodation

On-campus housing can be convenient but pricier. Renting off-campus might be cheaper, but factor in commute costs. The average housing and accommodation living cost in the USA for international students is $9,800–$11,000 per year for an on-campus stay and $3,500 per month for an off-campus stay.

2. Food

Eating out adds up quickly. Embrace grocery shopping and explore budget-friendly stores like Aldi and Walmart. Food expenses per month in the USA range between 150 and 200 USD. The cost of restaurant meals in the USA ranges from 15.00 USD to 50.00 USD. Dining out will increase the budget instead; grocery store cards would help you reduce the budget.

3. Transportation

In certain regions, public transportation services may not be readily available or may have limited schedules. As an alternative, you can consider using a bicycle to commute or explore carpooling options with friends or colleagues. Both options offer environmental and health benefits and can also help you save money. If you’re looking for a more sustainable and cost-effective way to travel, switching to biking or carpooling can be a great option to explore.

4. Health Insurance

When planning to enroll in a university, it is important to note that most universities require students to have health insurance. This is to ensure that students have access to proper healthcare services in case of an emergency. The average health insurance fee for international students is £470 per year.

Consider Location

The cost of living fluctuates significantly depending on your chosen state and city. Big coastal hubs like New York and Los Angeles are notoriously expensive, while smaller towns offer a more affordable lifestyle. Research your university’s location and explore its cost-of-living index.

Cost-Cutting Strategies

Here are some ways to make your US student life budget-friendly:

  • Scholarship and Grants: Research scholarships and grants specifically offered to international students. These can significantly reduce your financial burden.
  • On-campus Jobs: Many universities offer part-time jobs for students. This allows you to gain valuable experience while earning some cash.
  • Embrace Student Discounts: Take advantage of student discounts on everything from groceries to entertainment.
  • Cook More Often: Eating out can drain your wallet. Explore the joys of international cuisine in your own kitchen!
  • Explore Free Activities: Many cities offer free museums, parks, and events. Take advantage of these to explore your surroundings without spending a dime.

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