Undergraduate Degree Costs in USA for Indian Students 2024


International students can select from over 4,000 courses offered by US colleges. More than 200 universities in the nation are included in the QS World University Rankings 2023. For foreign students, the cost of a bachelor’s degree in the United States can range from 35,00,000 to 50,00,000 INR, particularly if they want to attend the best universities. Even while a bachelor’s degree in USA costs more as compared to most other study abroad locations, the return on investment is unmatched. 

Regarding pre-arrival undergraduate degree costs in USA, bachelor’s degree tuition fees in USA, living expenditures, and answers to frequently asked concerns regarding the cost of an undergraduate degree in USA, this blog will provide you with all the background information you need to understand the full cost of an undergraduate degree in USA for Indian students.

Understanding the Landscape of USA Undergraduate Education

Generally, educational institutions in USA can be grouped into two very broad categories: public universities and private universities. The explanation for each is as follows:

Public Universities: They are state-funded, hence more affordable for in-state residents. A wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs is offered. Such universities have a sizable student population and a very extensive variety of extracurricular activities. Examples of such institutions include the University of California System, the University of Michigan, and the University of Texas System.

Private Universities: They are funded from tuition fees, donations, and endowments; no state funding. They generally have higher tuition costs but often provide more financial aid. They are also known for small class sizes, personalized attention, and a strong focus on research. Some specialize in certain subjects or have unique approaches to education. Examples include Harvard University, Stanford University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Community Colleges: Two-year institutions; relatively cheap higher education; they offer several undergraduate and vocational programs. They even help in the providing of entry-level jobs and pursue further studies with it. These colleges have an open enrollment policy to meet the diverse needs of the students. Existing examples: Santa Monica College, and Miami Dade College.

Ivy League Institutions: These are the prestigious private universities in the Northeast USA, known for rigorous academics, selective admissions, and rich traditions. They offer a wide range of UG, graduate, and professional programs. Their highly competitive admissions process seeks the best. Examples: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia.

Breakdown of Tuition Fees for an Undergraduate Degree in USA

Public universities are funded by the state government and therefore charge much lower fees, that is, ranging from $20,000-$35,000 per year compared to programs offered at private universities with fees ranging from $35,000-$60,000 per year.

Public universities: $15,000 to $35,000 per year (in-state)
Private universities: $35,000 to $70,000 annually
Public universities: $18,000 to $40,000 per year (in-state)
Private universities: $40,000 to $80,000 annually
Computer Science:
Public universities: $15,000 to $35,000 per year (in-state)
Private universities: $35,000 to $70,000 annually
Social Sciences:
Public universities: $12,000 to $30,000 per year (in-state)
Private universities: $30,000 to $60,000 annually
Public universities: $12,000 to $30,000 per year (in-state)
Private universities: $30,000 to $60,000 annually
Natural Sciences:
Public universities: $15,000 to $35,000 per year (in-state)
Private universities: $35,000 to $70,000 annually

Additional Academic Expenses

  • Textbooks and Supplies: Expensive course materials.
  • Labor Fees: Charges for lab materials and equipment.
  • Technology Fees: Maintenance and upgrade costs of campus technology.
  • Library Fees: Special rates to access particular library services.
  • Other Academic Fees: Fees for courses or specialized services.

Medical Costs and Health Insurance

Health expenses might be high in the United States, hence calling for the best health insurance. International students are often in need of health insurance. The annual premiums may fall anywhere between $500 to $2,000 for insurance companies and the coverage. Factors related to potential medical expenses:

  • Preventive Care: Medical checkups may reduce costs if patients are proactive with preventive care measures.
  • Emergency Care: High bills might result in the case of an accident not covered by the insurance.
  • Chronic Conditions: Ongoing medical care can add costs for such conditions.
  • Specialist Care: Treatment by specialists could be considered expensive.
  • Prescription Medications: Insurance coverage can lower prescription costs.

Visa Costs and Travel Expenses

  • The cost to first acquire a student visa if you are overseas and an F or M visa applicant is of major importance to many individuals who are going to study in the United States. Paying a $160 application fee will have you acquire a visa as a student in US. It should be noted that this is non-refundable, irrespective of whether your visa will be approved or not.
  • SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) – This is a fundamental part of studying in the United States; the government generates enormous revenue from the payoffs for SEVIS. It is to be noted that for F and M visa applicants, SEVIS costs are $350; for J visa applicants, they amount to $220. This cost has a large part of the money financed through the payment; therefore, if one wants to pursue an undergraduate degree in USA, they will need to pay the fees.

Overview of all Pre-arrival Expenses for UG Indian Students

Expense Amount (in USD) Amount (in INR)
IELTS registration fee $245-255 18,750-19,600 INR
TOEFL registration fee $190 14,550 INR
SAT fee $104 8,300 INR
ACT fee $85 6,800 INR
Visa application fee $160 12,250 INR
SEVIS fee $350 26,800 INR
Airfare $500-1000 35,000-70,000 INR
Insurance $500-1,000 40,000-80,000 INR
Application Fees $50-200 3000-16,000 INR

Tuition Fee Waivers, Financial Aid and Scholarships for Indian Undergraduate Students

Scholarships and financial aid are essential to help Indian students go for undergraduate degrees in US. These tools are vital to lower the cost of education and to ease financial stress on both students and their families. Financial pressure may simply be too much for many excellent students to bear due to high overseas study costs. Some universities do provide tuition fee waivers or scholarships specifically for international undergraduate students. These may be partial or full tuition costs, along with additional benefits like stipends for living expenses or research opportunities. Students seeking admission to the United States as undergraduates should research any such opportunity of scholarships provided by a university or an external organization, according to eligibility and application processes.

Types of Scholarships

  • Merit-Based: Provided for academic achievement, leadership, and extracurricular activities.
  • Need-Based: For most students, it is primarily for financial needs.
  • Subject-Specific: This is given to students pursuing a particular field or major.
  • Diversity and Country-Specific: It is intended to bring diversity and target students from certain countries like India.

How to Apply

  • Start the Application Process Early.
  • Explore All Options.
  • Meet Eligibility Criteria.
  • Highlight Achievements.
  • Write Strong Essays.
  • Request Letters of Recommendation.
  • Stay Organized.
  • Follow Instructions Carefully.

Top Scholarships for Indian Students

  • G.P. Birla Scholarship
  • CLP India Scholarship Scheme
  • Sitaram Jindal Foundation Scholarship Scheme
  • Raman Kant Munjal Scholarship
  • The Anant Fellowship

Education Loans for Studying Abroad

To pay for their studies overseas, Indian students can choose from several different education loan choices. Banks and other financial organisations provide these loans, which can be used to pay for living expenses, tuition, travel expenses, and other expenditures associated with pursuing an education.

Things to Take into Account

  • Interest Rates: To reduce long-term expenses, compare rates.
  • Make sure the loan amount covers all of your costs. 
  • Select a repayment schedule that fits your budget. 
  • Determine the necessary collateral. 
  • Verify the prerequisites. 
  • Take duration into account for prompt financing.

Responsibility of Repayment and Financial Stability

  • Before signing, be sure you understand the conditions of the loan.
  • Make a budget and look for work to help with payback.
  • Create a payback plan taking future stability in mind.

Top Education Loan Providers in India

SBI, HDFC Credila, Axis Bank, Punjab National Bank, Canara Bank, Avanse Financial Services, TATA Capital.

Employment and Work-Study Opportunities

  • If you have an F-1 visa which is required to pursue studies in USA, you do not need to obtain USCIS authorization to take up work on campus at your university.  On-campus employment is done through a business that has a contract with your university and offers amenities like a cafeteria, bookshop, and other services.
  • Work done off campus as a requirement of a fellowship, assistantship, post-doctoral appointment, scholarship, or job in a company is connected to your university. For instance, a professor-led study project funded by a grant from outside the institution. With the DSO’s approval, you are permitted to work off-campus for any of the following after finishing your first academic year: Curricular Practical Training (CPT), Optional Practical Training (OPT), (STEM) Optional Practical Training Extension (OPT). These three choices essentially indicate that your work must be relevant to your subject of study.
  • If recommended by the DSO and approved by USCIS, which issues an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), Indian students are also granted permission to work off campus in cases of financial hardship or emergencies. The same applies to internships with international organisations such as the UN.

Overview of Post-arrival Expenses for Indian UG Students

Expenditures Monthly Budget
Rent $150-250 
Food $400 US
Transportation $100-300 
Phone/ Internet $50-150 
Electricity $100-120
Personal $300-600

 Cost-Saving Options for Indian Students

  • Purchase or rent second-hand textbooks.
  • Use free or low-cost digital resources.
  • Avail library facilities; borrow materials.
  • Share resources and expenses with other students.
  • Live off-campus, if possible, and share accommodation.
  • Self-cook at home instead of eating out for meals.
  • Choose public transportation or biking as travel alternatives.
  • Set a budget and cut out non-essential expenses.
  • Find part-time work and look into financial aid.
  • By following these ways, Indian students can systematically control their living expenditures when studying in the USA.

For further specific information on the cost structure in USA and how to tackle them, contact Manya – The Princeton Review. We have our seasoned experts to help you manage your finances as per your budget and requirements efficiently.

Sharing is caring:
Book your Free Counselling Session now!


What are some strategies Indian students can employ in planning financially for their undergraduate studies in USA?

Students must start planning early and research thoroughly. They should develop a detailed budget, and the scope of all the available financial aid, maintain high academic performance to qualify for scholarships, consider the exchange rate fluctuations, and if needed, seek advice from financial advisors.

Is there a chance for Indian students to get part-time jobs in USA while studying?

Sure, many universities provide part-time job opportunities on-campus for international students, including Indian students. To say the least, not all part-time jobs would be available for international students outside of campus. Students should research work regulations in the USA for international students, as they could hinder their employment eligibility.

Can Indian students work a full-time job in the United States while they pursue their undergraduate degree?

No, under most circumstances, international students in USA may work part-time on or off-campus, amounting to 20 hours per week during the academic year, and they may be eligible to work full-time during scheduled breaks, such as the summer vacation, under certain conditions.

What kind of entrance exams are needed for Indian students applying for the undergraduate program in USA?

SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test) and ACT (American College Testing) are standardized tests that most U.S. universities require Indian students to present their qualifications. Along with those, some universities may also demand that students take English language proficiency tests such as TOEFL or IELTS.

What are some of the common challenges that Indian students can face while studying in USA, and how can they overcome them?

Some of the common challenges that Indian students may face while studying in USA include homesickness, adjustment to culture, academic rigor, language barriers, and financial constraints. Building a support network, keeping in touch with family and friends, seeking support from campus resources, and engaging in cultural exchange activities would be some of the solutions to these challenges.

Planning to study abroad?
Get free 1-on-1 counselling with our experts

Subscribe to this blog