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Navigating the Cost of Study & Living in the USA

When pursuing higher education abroad, the United States of America is the top choice for many students as it is the best study abroad destination for personal and professional growth. With the country's diverse landscape & bustling cosmopolitan cities, the USA offers endless possibilities. But amidst the allure of bright lights and big dreams, it becomes highly crucial to understand the financial landscape of the USA to ensure a smooth transition and a successful journey ahead.

Come along as we discuss the cost of education and living across the United States! Right from the cost of studying at a US university, visa fees to navigating the living costs in various cities, we will discuss all things financial. So, stick around, get to know the country's economic landscape for international students and get ready to convert your American Dream into reality. Let us first begin by understanding the higher education system in the United States.

Higher Education System in the United States

With over 5,300 universities and thousands of courses, the US higher education system provides innumerable options for international students. Here are the types of degree programs available at US institutions:

Undergraduate Degree

An undergraduate degree at a US university is divided into two categories: an Associate's Degree and a Bachelor's Degree.

  • Associate Degree: An Associate Degree is a two-year program that either leads to a specific vocation or transitions to a bachelor's program.

  • Bachelor's Degree: A Bachelor's Degree is a four—or five-year program in which students earn credits in a wide variety of courses.

Master's Degree

A Master's Degree is a two-year program offering additional specialization in a chosen subject.

Cost to Study in the US

The American higher education system has something that everyone’s pocket can afford. The tuition fees of a US University range from high to low. An average cost to study for an undergraduate or a master's Degree in the USA ranges between $20,000 to $80,000/per year across fields like Engineering, Business, Medicine, Education, Humanities, Healthcare, etc. Let us now understand the average tuition fee per year for each level of study:

Level of Study
Average Tuition Fee
Associate Degree
Undergraduate Degree
$8,000 - $40,000
Master’s Degree
$28,000 - $55,000

Pre-Arrival and Post-Arrival Costs in the USA

Studying abroad comes with many financial commitments at every stage. Thus, students opt for education loan for abroad studies to fund their international degrees. In the USA, at pre-arrival stage, students are required to pay for one-time pre-arrival expenses like the university application fees, English proficiency tests, standardized tests like GRE and GMAT and student visa fee. In contrast, post-arrival costs in the USA include tuition fees, health insurance and cost of living in USA.

University Application Fee
Rs. 17000
GRE Exam 
Rs. 22550
ACT With Writing: $211.50
ACT Without Writing: $186.50

Student Visa Fee
$185 - $350
Tuition Fees
Bachelors – $8,000 – $40,000
Masters – $10,000 – $60,000
Health Insurance
$1,000 – $1,500
Living Expenses
$20,000 – $22,000

Best Student Cities in the USA

The United States of America is popular for high quality standard of living and the best student cities. Cities like New York, Los Angeles, California, and San Franciso are expensive, whereas Seattle, Boston, and Atlanta are affordable cities for students. Students on tight budget can choose the universities in these affordable cities and lower their cost of living in USA.

Cost of Living in US in USD
New York
San Francisco
Los Angeles

Many international students also apply for a student loan for USA to fund their tuition fees and living expenses while they stay in the US. Listed below is the cost of living:

Average Cost 
Rent for housing including utilities
Dormitory housing 
$7,588 – $11,914/year
Books and Supplies

Pursuing higher studies in the USA is a dream of many international students but only a handful of them have a right guidance to turn it into reality. Many students have a misconception that the tuition fee of an US University is typically on the higher side however it’s not true. Infact, it is the only country which boasts of the universities with high tuition fees, medium tuition fees & even low tuition fees. Students can choose the university as per their financial capacity or even apply for an education loan.

Financial lenders often encourage ambitious individuals to take a loan and fulfill their aspirations of studying abroad, and to support them, they have introduced various schemes and types of education loans. Let us shed some light on it.

Types of Education Loan

Secured Education Loan: A secured education loan is a type of loan where the borrower provides collateral to the lender bank against the funds to finance their education. In case of a secured education loan for abroad studies, the collateral can be an asset such as a house, car, or other valuable property. By offering collateral, the borrower reduces the risk for the lender, which often results in lower interest rates than unsecured loans. If the borrower fails to repay the loan, the lender has the right to seize the collateral to recover their losses.

Unsecured Education Loan: An unsecured education loan is a type of loan where the borrower does not need to provide collateral to the lender to obtain funds for their education. Instead of requiring assets as security, these loans are approved based on the borrower's creditworthiness, such as their credit history, income, and ability to repay the loan. Because no collateral is involved, unsecured education loans typically have higher interest rates than secured loans. However, they can be more accessible for borrowers who may not have valuable assets to use as collateral.

Depending on their situation and circumstances, students can opt for a suitable type of education loan. An Education Loan covers the complete cost, such as tuition fees, USA student visa cost, living expenses, and travel expenses.

Embarking on a journey to pursue higher education in the US is exciting and the American dream can become a reality with careful planning and exploration of financial options. For assistance regarding an overseas education loan, you can connect with ÉLAN Loan experts.

Right from choosing the right kind of education loan to getting faster loan disbursements, our experts can guide you through the entire process. So, reach out to team ÉLAN & fulfil your American study dream!


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