Everything you need to know about cost of living in the US as an international student
Study Abroad study in the U.S. student visa

Everything you need to know about cost of living in the US as an international student

Moumita Basu

Now that you have decided to study in the US, one of the most crucial considerations for a student pursuing education abroad is how much money they'll need to spend each month on living expenses. The average cost of living in the US for international students ranges between $1000-$3000, excluding course fees. However, the cost of living in the US for international students varies, based on their lifestyle, location, and kind of housing, among other factors.

Being one of the most vibrant and bustling cities globally, the US has an intermingled population from various ethnic origins, making it one of the world's most varied multicultural hotspots. The country is growing as one of the world's top economies, which has attracted skilled labor forces worldwide.

If you are thinking about studying in the US but are not sure about the cost of living as an international student, this blog will help you look at the cost of studying and living in the United States for students, ranging from tuition fees to living expenditures that you should be aware of.

Cost of studying in the US as an international student

While trying to come up with an idea of the cost of studying in the US, you have to bear in mind a few essentials:

  • Tuition fees for your chosen course
  • Accommodation expenses
  • Food costs
  • Travel expenses
  • Miscellaneous costs like books, entertainment, clothing, leisure, etc.

Below, we have made a table for better understanding:

Community College

$17,930 (INR 1340358)

Private University

$52,500 (INR 3924640)

Public University

$41,950 (INR 3135974)

For postgraduate colleges:

Private University

$41,000 (INR 3064957)

Public University

$25,000 (INR 1868876)

To help students pay this fee at ease, an international student can work part-time for 20 hours per week, and scholarly students have the option to become research assistants. This includes a stipend, which can help you build your CV while also providing you with extra cash.

Cost of living in the US for international students

For an international student, the cost of living in the US is slightly higher in the Northeast or East than in the Midwest. A year's living expense in the US is calculated based on hostel rent or off-campus housing, food, healthcare, grocery and eating out expenses, entertainment, and travel costs.

The monthly cost of living is around $700-$1000, which amounts to $10000-$12000 each year. Let's break down this cost and see it in detail.


Monthly Costs 

Accommodation in USA for Indian Students


Cost of Indian Food in USA

$100 - $200

Average Electricity Bill in USA


Average Internet Bill USA


Mobile Phone Accessories USA


Stationery and Textbooks




USA Transport

$50 - $100

Movie Ticket Price in USA


USA Restaurant


Accommodation costs in the US

The cost of living in the US as an international student goes up as housing rent is responsible for the biggest chunk. Most universities in the US provide on-campus housing for overseas students, which is unquestionably the less expensive choice. The annual accommodation cost in the US ranges from $6000 to $12000. To save money, most international students in the US opt for on-campus housing. If not, they usually go for a homestay or with local guardians or relatives if they reside close to the school.

Type of Accommodation 


On-Campus Residence

Public four-year colleges - $9,800 per year

Private four-year colleges - $11,100 per year

Dorms Off-Campus 

$450 (room shared by 4) per month

One-Bedroom Apartment in a Rural Area

$500 per month

One-Bedroom Apartment in a Built-up City

$3,500 per month

Other essential expenses

Other expenditures that an international student needs to consider are electricity bills, cell phone bills, internet bills, food, clothes, books, stationery, and other costs, which range between $5000 to $6000.

Transportation costs in the US

The US has an exceptionally well-connected public transportation system where students can utilize passes that cost between $40-$100 every month. Buses, bicycles, taxis and trains, and subways are among the public transit alternatives available to international students.

If you are planning to apply for a student visa,  sign up for a Zolve Credit Card and Zolve Bank Account, and start building your credit footprint in the country from Day 1.