How much does it cost to study in the USA?

America is an incredibly big place with very different costs of living across different states. Each college has its own distinct personality, and so no two study abroad experiences are likely to be the same. This overview of likely living costs in the US will help you get an idea of what your study abroad adventure might cost.


University life in America is very much centred on campus, particularly for undergraduates. Almost all universities, with the exception of smaller, privately owned or specialist colleges offer students on-campus accommodation they are able to apply to and secure before arriving. Rental agreements vary immensely depending on the university and which city it’s in, but universities considered more prestigious or located in or near expensive cities will generally charge more.

Rent for on-campus accommodation almost always includes utilities, and sometimes subsidised meal plans too. For example, Cornell University charges students US $9,152 per academic year for a single room, inclusive of utilities; meanwhile Texas Tech University charges $6,236 per academic year for student halls.

If you’d prefer to live away from the hubbub of campus life, your university can help you organise off-campus accommodation, or point you in the right direction to secure a room in a shared house or flat. However, particularly for undergraduates, American college life is a key and unique part of American culture, and you should think very seriously about passing up the opportunity to experience it.  

Off-campus housing and privately rented property prices vary specifically depending on the state you’re in, the type of property and how close to the city you are. For example, you might pay US $2,000- $3,680 per month for a studio apartment in New York that would cost about $1,034 in Colorado. Students looking to rent privately should consult state-specific rental property sites, or ask their university to point them in the right direction.  

Living Costs

If you aren’t living on campus, it’s almost impossible to predict how much you’ll be likely to pay in rent.  Fortunately, other living costs in the US are more consistent across the nation. 

Check out our infographic for more information on living costs in the USA!


Each state in America has its own public transport system with a separate set of fees and services, so taking an average might not be a good indication of what you might pay. Many college campuses are also located far away from city centres, so you’d be unlikely to use public transport day-to-day anyway.


There are astronomical degrees of choice when it comes to buying food in the USA. And the good news is that it’s all generally quite cheap. A number of supermarket chains operate nationally, like Wal-Mart and Target, that make the task of feeding yourself extremely easy.

Misc. Costs

Most student social life in American is centred on campus, so you’ll be likely to find that most of your nights out will be at your local fraternity or sorority house instead of downtown at a bar (remember, you have to be 21 years of age before you can drink or buy alcohol). Still, should you feel like venturing off campus, you won’t find yourself far out of pocket.

  • Internet (if not included in rent), monthly…USD 50
  • T-mobile, unlimited talk, text, web, 500MB of super-fast data, monthly…USD 50
  • Utilities (if living off campus or not included in rent), average, monthly…USD 200

Now that you have a rough idea of how much things cost in America, why not start browsing courses in the USA now?

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