USA | Cost of Studying and Living

Tuition fees in the USA are not set government-set fees as they are in some counties, but rather they vary across institutions with each university setting their own fees.

Universities in the States fall under two categories, public and private (the former are supported by the State and the latter are independent). The university tuition fees for international students at state institutions are based on ‘non-resident’ costs which are usually still cheaper than those of private institutions.

An example of average tuition fees across both public and state universities can be found in the table below, this demonstrates the average fees across the more expensive and less expensive private and state institutions:

University type

Average annual tuition fees (US Dollars)

Private institution (top tier)


Private institution (lower tier)


State institution (top tier)


State institution (lower tier)


Tuition fees not only vary with across institutions, but also with the type of course chosen. Fees can be as low as $1,000 per academic year for state universities and $3,500 for private universities. For further clarification on fees associated with specific universities, please contact the university or get in touch with a member of the IGES team.

The cost of living

The cost of living in the USA will vary significantly depending on the region in which the student chooses to live, and whether the area is rural, urban or suburban. Typically mid-west states such as Illinois, Indiana and Ohio are more economically friendly, whereas places such as New England are more expensive. Universities are often very helpful in helping students determine the amount of money that they will need to budget for living costs.

Overall, the approximate average living cost in America for one year is $10,000 which includes accommodation and other daily expenses. Please see the table below for some rough figures but remember these will vary depending on different lifestyles.


$400 per month


$100 per month


$100 per month


$100 per month


$200 per month


Most students can live off $700 - $1,000 a month. Cohabiting with other students or friends is a great way to reduce costs such as rent and utilities. Sometimes utilities will be included in the monthly rent on an apartment but this should be established prior to moving in.

Below are some estimates for the monthly cost of utilities and other expenses based on averages across the country:

$50 - $100 (electric heating can push costs to $150)

Fuel (if applicable):
Cooking: $10-$15
Heating: $50-$100


Cell/Mobile phone service:

Water, sewage and refuge (sometimes included with rent but otherwise usually billed quarterly):

around $20-$40 per week for one person.

Around $3.50 per gallon

Public transport:
Usually around $50-$60