Unraveling the Truth: Is Studying in US Really Very Expensive?


Meridean Overseas

Updated On 25 May 2023 & Read Time 7 minutes



The United States has always been an attractive study abroad destination for international students seeking a world-class education. However, there is a prevailing notion that studying in the US comes with an exorbitant price tag, making it unaffordable for many. In this blog, we will delve into the reality behind this belief, explore the range of costs involved, and highlight both the most expensive and more affordable universities. We will also discuss why the USA continues to be a popular destination for students worldwide.

Most Expensive and More Affordable Universities

It is essential to recognize that the cost of studying in US varies significantly across universities and degree programs. While some prestigious institutions do come with high tuition fees, there are numerous affordable options available as well. Let's explore both ends of the cost spectrum:


Most Expensive Universities:


  1. Harvard University: Harvard is renowned for its academic excellence and legacy, but it is also one of the most expensive universities in US. The average annual tuition fee for undergraduate programs at Harvard is around $54,000, excluding additional expenses.

  2. Stanford University: Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Stanford is a top-tier institution with a prestigious reputation. The average annual tuition fee for undergraduate programs at Stanford is approximately $56,000.

  3. Columbia University: Situated in New York City, Columbia University is known for its strong academic programs. The average annual tuition fee for undergraduate programs at Columbia is around $61,000.


Most Affordable Universities in US:


  1. University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA): UCLA offers quality education in US at a relatively lower cost. For in-state students, the average annual tuition fee is approximately $14,000, while out-of-state students pay around $43,000.

  2. University of Texas at Austin: The University of Texas at Austin is a well-regarded institution and is on the list of the most affordable university in US. In-state students pay an average annual tuition fee of around $11,000, while out-of-state students pay approximately $40,000.

  3. Arizona State University: ASU is known for its innovation and commitment to inclusivity. In-state students pay an average annual tuition fee of around $11,000, while out-of-state students pay approximately $29,000.

Why Study in US?

Academic Excellence and Research Opportunities:


American universities are globally recognized for their academic rigor, diverse range of programs, and emphasis on research and innovation. Students can benefit from state-of-the-art facilities, renowned faculty, and access to cutting-edge resources, fostering a conducive environment for learning and growth.


Variety of Programs and Specializations:


Study in US offers an extensive array of academic programs and disciplines, providing students with a wide range of options to pursue their interests and career goals. Whether it is business, engineering, liberal arts, or the sciences, American universities cater to diverse fields of study, ensuring students can find their desired area of specialization.


Cultural and Global Exposure:


Studying in the USA offers a unique opportunity for students to immerse themselves in a multicultural environment. Interacting with peers from different backgrounds, engaging in discussions, and sharing experiences not only enriches their education but also broadens their worldview, fostering cultural understanding and global awareness.


Better Career Prospects:


While studying in the US may require a significant financial commitment, it is crucial to consider the potential return on investment. American universities are renowned for their academic excellence, research opportunities, and industry connections. The quality of education and the resources available often translate into better career prospects and higher earning potential for graduates.


Moreover, the multicultural and diverse environment in US campuses fosters personal growth, global networking, and exposure to different perspectives, which can be invaluable assets in today's interconnected world.


Scholarship and Financial Aid Opportunities:


While the cost of studying in the USA can be substantial, there are various scholarships, grants, and financial aid programs available to support international students. These opportunities can significantly alleviate the financial burden and make education in the USA more accessible.

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Tuition Fees in US Universities

One of the primary factors contributing to the belief that studying in the USA is costly is the perception of high tuition fees. Admittedly, many American universities do have higher tuition rates compared to institutions in other countries. However, it is crucial to consider the quality of education and the opportunities available when evaluating these costs. It is important to note that tuition fees vary widely across institutions, degree programs, and locations within the United States.


While prestigious Ivy League universities or private institutions often have higher fees, there are numerous state-funded and community colleges that offer more affordable options. Scholarships, grants, and financial aid programs further help alleviate the financial burden for eligible students, making higher education more accessible.

Living Expenses: A Diverse Range of Options

Apart from tuition fees, another significant consideration for studying in US is the cost of living in the USA. Living expenses can vary greatly depending on the city or region you choose to study in. While some cities, such as New York or San Francisco, have higher living costs, there are also more affordable alternatives available.


Universities often provide on-campus housing options, which can be a cost-effective choice for students. Additionally, students can explore off-campus housing options, roommates, or even home-stay programs, which can significantly reduce living expenses. Many cities also offer affordable public transportation and student discounts on various amenities, allowing students to manage their budget effectively.

Financial Aid and Scholarships: Bridging the Gap

To address the financial concerns associated with studying in US, numerous financial aid programs and scholarships are available. Universities, both private and public, offer a range of scholarships and grants based on academic achievement, talent, and financial need. International students are also eligible for various scholarships specifically designed to support their education.


Additionally, external organizations, government-sponsored programs, and private foundations provide funding opportunities for international students. Thorough research and proactive application to these programs can significantly reduce the overall cost of studying in the USA.

Part-Time Work Opportunities: Supplementing Income

Many international students choose to work part-time while pursuing their studies to help cover their living expenses. The United States offers several on-campus job opportunities tailored to students' schedules, allowing them to balance work and academics effectively.


The Optional Practical Training (OPT) program provides an opportunity for international students to work in their field of study for a specified period after graduation. This program not only helps students gain valuable work experience but also provides an additional source of income to offset their education costs.


In conclusion, the belief that studying in US is overwhelmingly expensive is myth. While it is true that costs can be high, there are several factors that mitigate this perception. The availability of scholarships, financial aid, and part-time work opportunities provide avenues for students to manage their expenses effectively. Additionally, the return on investment in terms of quality education, career prospects, and personal growth make studying in the USA a worthwhile pursuit.


It is crucial for prospective students to conduct thorough research, explore different options, and plan their finances wisely. By considering affordable institutions, opting for on-campus housing, applying for scholarships, and maximizing part-time work opportunities, studying in the USA can become a viable and fulfilling experience for students from around the world.


If you are planning to start your study abroad journey to US, we encourage you to have a word with our team of expert counsellors at Meridean Overseas Education Consultants (MOEC). If you are unable to travel to our offices, we offer online counselling services via our website. Our dedicated counsellors will provide you with the best guidance regarding your application to study in US. Don’t hesitate to contact us at application02@meridean.org or call us at 1800-1230-00011.

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