Study abroad in USA can be an expensive affair. To effectively manage your tuition and living expenses, it is imperative to create an efficient budget plan. Before you depart from India, you need to ensure that expenses like food, accommodation, health coverage and travel, apart from your tuition fees are covered. Following are the top things to consider while estimating the cost of studying in USA.
This is the first and foremost thing to consider while estimating your study abroad education expenses. Your tuition fee will essentially depend on the type of qualification and university/college you apply to. US universities are majorly divided into two categories – Public/State and Private. The education cost at a public or a state university is comparatively lesser than that of a private institution.
Subjects such as medicine and engineering are usually more expensive, whereas domains such as humanities, arts and education courses are comparatively cheaper. MBA programs are often the most expensive. If you are targeting a postgraduate-level education, the tuition fee is typically higher and the costs will vary depending upon the program.
Approximate Annual Tuition Fee*
|Community colleges||$6,000 to $20,000|
|Undergraduate degree in USA for Indian Students||$20,000 to $40,000|
|Graduate programs (MS in USA, MBA in USA)||$20,000 to $45,000|
|PhD in USA||$28,000 to $55,000|
- Funding Options:
Often, the most prestigious US universities, with the high published rates offer quite generous funding opportunities. One of the highest-ranked universities, MIT, offers a massive 58 percent of undergraduates with financial aid. Similarly, at another high-ranking institute, Caltech, almost 60 percent of the undergraduates receive financial aid, while 98 percent of graduate (or Master’s) students and almost 99% of doctoral candidates receive full financial support.
Similar figures are cited by most top universities in the US, including forms of support such as grants, scholarships, assistantships and work-study schemes. While some funding options are only open to US citizens, there are plenty of financial aid avenues available to international students. The University of Pennsylvania, allocates more than 9 million USD each academic year in funding, specifically for undergraduate applicants from outside of the US, Canada and Mexico.
As per the data collected by US News, in 2017-18, Harvard University allocated financial aid to 594 international undergraduates, with the average grant of $64,459. The same data showed that Columbia University granted an average of $66,350 to a total of 257 international UG applicants.
- Need-blind Funding:
A small number of elite universities also offer need-blind admission policies for all applicants. This means that the students’ financial background is not considered during the admissions process, and the university pledges to provide appropriate aid to ensure that a deserving applicant is able to attend. Lots of US universities have some form of need-blind admission policy, but this does not always extend to international applicants. However, five elite universities in the US offer need-blind admission and full-need financial aid to students, irrespective of their nationality. These universities are Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard University, Yale University, Princeton University and Amherst College.
- Work while Studying:
To avoid getting overwhelmed with the cost of education and expenses, you could work part-time, up to 20 hours a week during academic sessions and full-time during vacations.
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Most US universities offer on-campus residence to international students, which is a very affordable option. However, you need to apply for it well ahead in time to secure a place for yourself. You will also have an option of going for off-campus accommodation, in which you can share an apartment with other students from India or opt for a homestay with a local family.
However, if you opt to rent an apartment, you will have to add utility bills like internet, electricity, water usage and also tenant’s insurance onto your budget. The accommodation cost in the US varies by region and lies somewhere between $6,000 and $14,000 a year*.
Living Expenses & Transportation
Living abroad as a student, it is wise to keep track of even the most basic expenditures so that you prevent yourself from overspending. Other expenses and living costs for a single student in the US are between $10,000-$25,000 per academic year*, depending on the city they choose to live. Consider the following common yearly expenses (which may vary from region to region) when creating your budget:
Books and Stationery: $500- $1000
Seasonal Clothing: $500
Miscellaneous expenses: $2000
Health Support and Insurance
It is mandatory for all Indian students travelling to the US to get medical insurance before the commencement of their course. Many American universities and colleges offer comprehensive health insurance plans for international students, which are applicable as long your program is ongoing, and they terminate upon completion.
Certain institutions may not offer any insurance; in that case, you will have to get private medical insurance. As per the American College Health Association, the average cost of a student health insurance plan could range between USD 1,500-2,500 for a year.
*Indicative and subjective to vary from region to region
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