All your questions about living costs in the U.S. for students answered
Study Abroad cost of living Living Abroad

All your questions about living costs in the U.S. for students answered

Moumita Basu

Table of Contents

Living in the U.S is a dream for many Indians. If you plan to move there for your higher studies, you might feel a little overwhelmed as everything is new. Every year, people become legal residents in the U.S. to take advantage of the economic benefits of living in a first-world country. However, if you’re planning on moving from India to the U.S., the vast differences in lifestyle, culture, and way of doing business can seem very intimidating. Before you go, it’s good to know what to expect and can you prepare better.

Our blog will try to include almost all the questions and queries one might have while moving to the U.S. so that you have an inclusive idea of what to expect. If you are new to the U.S., are on an internship program, or are getting admission to a University. Congrats on that. The culture, way of living, food, money, everything that you can think of is different in the U.S.

To rent alone or to share?

If you are a student moving to the U.S., it might feel a little overwhelming initially. But, don’t worry, we got you covered. Most students fund their stay in the U.S. by taking an educational loan. Each university has a career portal or career center to register yourself and apply to on-campus job openings. These are called blue-collar jobs, which can offer you an opportunity to work part-time, and you can earn money for your pocket money and enjoyment.

The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the center of the city averages around $3,500, while a one-bedroom apartment outside the central region averages around $1,996.

How expensive is staying in the U.S., compared to other countries like the U.K., E.U., and Australia?

Basic cost of living 

One Bedroom flat 

Lunch for 2


New York City 




San Fransico 












One of the primary reasons why the cost of living in the USA gets on the steeper side for the ex-pats in the U.S. is the cost of converting cash to dollars from INR. Zolve comes with the lucrative option of applying for a credit card with no foreign exchange fees. The Zolve credit card has no annual fees, a high credit limit, and no foreign exchange fees. You might be staying in the U.S., but you don’t have to worry about any foreign exchange fees while swiping the card.

What are the average tuition fees in the U.S?

The U.S. universities are primarily divided into two categories- public/ state and private. The education cost at a public/state university is comparatively lesser in comparison to a private institution. Your expenses related to tuition fees also depend on the type of qualification or university you are applying for. On average, the tuition fees range from $8000-$50,000/year.

Additionally, if you are opting for humanities, arts, and education courses, they tend to be less costly than subjects such as medicine and engineering are more expensive. If you are looking to apply for a postgraduate degree, the tuition fee is typically higher, and the cost also varies, depending on the course you are applying for. Similar to most countries, MBA and medicine programs are the most expensive ones, The average price for these programs is approximately $35,000 yearly. If you want to bring down your educational expenses, it is best to apply to various scholarships available for Indian students.

Education level

Tuition fees 

English language studies 


Community colleges




Graduate programs 


Doctoral degree 

$28,000-$55,000/ year

There are a lot of companies offering on-campus residence to international students. Living as a resident on-campus is a very affordable option. However, you need to apply for it separately and well ahead of time to secure a slot for yourself. Additionally, you can also choose to opt for sharing-basis accommodation.

How expensive are housing and accommodation in the U.S.?

The amount you pay in rent is a significant driver of your overall cost of living in the USA. Both San Francisco and New York charge the highest rent in the world. If you are on a budget, consider living in a small town or a city. If your university or office is in and around New York or San Francisco, we have detailed the cost of living in the USA in the two cities on average below. This might help you budget your expenses accordingly.

Renting in the U.S.

New York monthly cost

San Fransico monthly cost 

One Bedroom apartment (city centre)



One bedroom apartment (outside of the city centre)



Three bedroom family home (city centre)



Three bedroom family home outside of the city centre)









What are some of the cheapest states to stay in the U.S?

The average price of a four-bedroom or 2,400 square feet house in the U.S. costs around $370,000, according to the 2020 fourth-quarter cost of living in the USA index report, published by the Council for Community and Economic research.

However, this figure varies broadly across different metropolitan areas in the U.S. The average price for a four-bedroom home in the Dayton, Ohio, metropolitan area is just over $260,000, a similar home in Brooklyn, New York, and the surrounding area will run some $1.2 million on average. While housing is a key indicator of affordability, they aren't a holistic metric.

But some of the most economical states to live in the U.S. are Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Tennessee, Georgia, Arkansas, Alabama, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Mississippi to name a few.

What is the cost of living in the U.S. for students?

This varies, depending on the place you live, the kind of university you are studying, and whether it is a post-graduate or an undergraduate program. If you are sharing a living space with someone, the costs will go down by half as you will be sharing your living expenses. Rent takes up the lion’s share of expenses, and if that gets divided between the two, it helps a lot. On average, the cost of living in the U.S. for students is around $1000-$1500/ month.

Frequently asked questions

Is it expensive to live in the U.S.?

The cost of living in the U.S. is slowly going up with time. It is estimated to be more than doubled in the last 3 decades. Despite the rising expenses, the U.S is not the most expensive country in the world. It is far cheaper than in several European cities.

Is the U.S. costlier than India?

According to data, living in the U.S. is 197% higher than in India. Therefore yes, the cost of living in the USA is higher than that of India.

What is the average yearly cost of living in the U.S?

The estimated cost of living for the US is around $10000 to $18000 per year, which averages around $1000 to $1500 per month. This range includes accommodation costs, room, board, food, travel, textbooks, weather-appropriate clothing, and entertainment expenses.

Is living in India better than in the U.S.?

Historically, the U.S. has attracted immigrants because of the lucrative job opportunities available there. Given that the standard of living is much higher, along with the lucrative job opportunities, the standard of living is much better in the U.S., compared to India.

How much does a 20-year-old earn on average in the U.S.?

The median salary of 20- to 24-year-old in the U.S. is $240/ week which translates to $33,280 per year.

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