Cost of Living in USA for International Students

This article provides an overview of the cost of living in the USA for international students, including living expenses and tips for affordable living. Learn how to plan and fund your expenses, and explore other useful tips to ensure a positive experience studying in the USA.

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Cost of Living in USA for International Students
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Apr 17, 2023 04:44 AM
Studying in USA is a positively transformative experience for any ambitious student. One of the biggest concerns of international students when it comes to studying abroad is the cost of living in a foreign country. Although studying in the US requires a significantly large financial investment, if you plan well, you can definitely manage your cost of living in USA.
As long as you do the necessary research both online and offline to learn everything possible about the living expenses in USA for international students, it is a manageable endeavor. This article gives you an overview on overall expenses along with tips for affordable living in USA.
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Follow the link below to know more about studying in the US:

Living Expenses in USA for International Students

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  • As a student, your living expenses in USA depends on a lot of factors; your general lifestyle choices, place of location, social commitments, eating and shopping habits, and overall expertise in budget planning.
  • The average estimated cost of living in USA for an international student ranges between $10000 and $12000 annually. This means that you will spend approximately $700-$1000 every month.
  • Accommodation costs can vary greatly depending on the type of housing you decide to opt for. Living in a single apartment can be expensive, a better choice would be sharing an apartment with like-minded students or living in the campus housing for students. Your rent is an unavoidable expense. Think carefully and consider all factors before choosing your accommodation. This article will provide you with information on various accommodation options in the US.
  • On an average, students in the US spend about $13,000 on food, clothing, travel and transportation every year. However, this number depends a lot on the personal choices you make.
  • Your food expenses will be around $200 per month if you stick to cooking from home and keep eating out to a minimum.
  • Commuting expenses depend on whether or not you have your own vehicle. Most people above the age of 18 in the US own a car. You may need to get one too if your university is too far from your place of stay. This means added costs in the form of the car purchase, car insurance and gas which can amount to $175. Alternatively, if you are living in university campus or if your university is located in downtown, there are public transport systems available at affordable cost. This blog on transportation options in the US will give you complete details on how to get around in the US.
  • Healthcare costs can be a big factor in deciding your overall expenses. Since health insurance is mandatory for international students in the US, this is a non-negotiable expense. However, health insurance premium is often a part of the university tuition fee for international students and so is not a separate expense to worry about.
  • Miscellaneous expenses include cell phone costs of around $20 every month. For a high-speed internet connection at your apartment, you may need to spend about $15 per month. Other expenses include occasional shopping, movies and eating outside. These expenses entirely depend on your pocket money and affinity to splurge.
  • In a mid-sized US town, your total living expenses as an international student should not ideally exceed $600 a month. However, many of the expenses listed above are left to your discretion.
Click here to calculate the average cost for the university you wish to apply to:

Other Expenses for International Students

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  • Apart from the costs that the other students in the US manage, you, as an international student will have certain additional expenses that you may need to take care of.
  • Flight tickets for international travel are an extra cost for international students. If you intend to travel back home during semester breaks and for vacations, you may need to set aside funds to pay for international flight tickets that can be quite expensive.
  • International calling cards may cost about $15 per month. If you and your family back home have a good data plan or good Wi-Fi connectivity without restrictions on free online calling apps, this cost can be avoided.
To know about the common challenges that Indian students face in the US, click here:

How to Plan your Cost of Living in USA

  • If you live in a middle-sized town away from the major cities like New York, you can easily find accommodation for about $700 a year if you share an apartment with fellow students. This is excluding the cost of heat/air-conditioning and electricity which can be an average of $15.
  • Purchasing your household items and groceries from large supermarket chains like Walmart is a smart thing to do. These shops often have discounts and offers and your bills should not exceed $125 per month.
  • Always fix a budget and plan your expenses before the beginning of a new month. This will help you spend wisely and discourage any impromptu buying decisions which may be unnecessary.
  • At the end of every month, keep track of all the payments you have made and costs you have incurred. Looking back allows you to understand the areas in which your expenses are high and make adjustments to your upcoming monthly budget.

How to Fund your Cost of Living in USA

  • As a university student in the US, you can engage in part-time jobs that will help cover your expenses to a certain extend. You can earn anywhere between $9 to $15 per hour working on odd jobs and minimum wage jobs at restaurants and hotels.
  • Most universities in the US provide some kind of financial assistance to international students in the form of scholarships or grants. You can look for such options and avail them even before moving to the US for your master’s program.
  • If you have an excellent academic background and fare well in studies, you can apply for scholarships that may be partially or fully funded. Most scholarships require applicants to meet certain criteria. So, collect the necessary information and prepare your documents accordingly before applying.
  • You can look for on campus work opportunities for students at your university. Assistant positions can earn you a handsome sum of money in the range of $300-$700 per month depending on the hours worked.
Click here for scholarships that Indian students in the US can avail:

Other Useful Tips

  • Even in the initial stages of applying to universities in the US, look for universities in locations that are affordable. You can easily get the zip code for the university you wish to apply to and look online for apartments in the area.
  • Locate a few apartments of your choice and contact the advertisers asking for a quote, this way you will have an idea of the average rent in the area around the university.
  • As you can imagine, big cities in the US are way more expensive than middle sized university towns. There are also state wise differences. For instance, studying in places like New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island can be way more costly in terms of rent than studying in Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Idaho or New Mexico.
  • You might want to take the transportation facilities into consideration. Not all cities in the US have well networked public transportation. Before zeroing down to a place to stay, consider any costs involved in your daily commute as well.
Follow the link below to get an approximation of the cost of studying in the US :

Cumulative Cost of Living in USA for International Students

For a modest living on a student budget, your average monthly expenses should not cross $1000–$1100 (this is for a master’s student in Los Angeles, California). You should always keep enough leeway for unforeseen circumstances that may require you to spend money. The cost of living in USA is something that can be easily managed with proper planning. If you are able to adapt to the new country and adjust according to your financial situation, there is no reason why you wouldn’t have an amazing learning experience as a master’s student in the US.
For details on the most affordable universities in the US for international students, click here :

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