The USA is a dream location to study for most Indian students. But studying abroad is often expensive. Not only do you have to consider tuition fees, but also the cost of living, supplies, travel and insurance. So, what is the cost of studying in the USA for Indian students? Read on.

USA’s university system is much lauded, which makes studying there an exciting opportunity, as well as a challenge to get in. Also, the tuition fees at American institutions are not on the cheaper side for an Indian student. So how expensive is it really to study in the US? We have just the answer for you.

Cost of Studying in USA for Indian Students

To start with, let us examine which are the top courses students opt for studying in the USA. MBA or Business Management takes the top position followed closely by Engineering, and then Mathematics and Computer Sciences, and finally Social Sciences. (source)

Unlike in India, there is no government-set standard for fees in the US and each institution can decide their own fees. The fee depends mainly on the university of choice, the department you want to study in, demand, specific subject costs and projected job prospects of the students at graduation.

The American education system is divided mainly into three types:

  • The Public colleges,
  • The Community, Technical or City colleges( where you do two-year programs)
  • Private Universities.

The cost bracket is the main differentiator between these types of universities. Private universities are usually the most expensive ones. State universities aren’t as much, and community colleges have an even lower fee. (source)

However, the perception is that degrees from the Ivy League colleges or reputed private universities carry more heft. The reputed state colleges come next. Hence, the rush is usually directed at these institutes.

So what are the top universities everyone has their eyes on in the USA?

Princeton University, Harvard University, Yale University, Columbia University, and Stanford University are the elite institutions. You can also find that the best colleges are located in the bustling cities of Boston, New York, Cambridge, and New Haven.

What is the cost of studying in the USA

Diving right into the cost, let us look at the fee divide. Tuition fees form a significant chunk of your expenses while studying in the USA. They vary drastically across public and private institutions. The average cost of studying at a private college is approx. Rs 25–30 lakh($33,000-$40,000)while in a public college it is Rs 15–23 lakh($20,000-$30,000). (source)

Cost of living is also a little staggering in the country. Students who prefer to live in the city would have to spend more money than those who stay in the suburbs. It is estimated that an average student spends approximately Rs 8-9 Lakhs ($10,000–$12,000) per year on living expenses. Students can, therefore, choose to cut down on their budget by finding lodging a little further from the city and relying on public transport for travel. Students say that living on the East coast is cheaper than on the West coast, so that’s something you can keep in mind when choosing a university.

Living expenses cover everything from accommodation, food, travel, textbooks, clothing depending on the weather and the occasional entertainment expenses too. You may also encounter other expenses during your course of study like travel expenses back home to India, vacations, and even essential large purchases like a computer, a car, furniture, medical expenses etc.

So on a rough average, the total annual cost can come to around Rs 34 lakh of which Rs 25 lakh is for tuition fees and Rs 9 lakh for living expenses.

Cost of studying MBA in USA

Being the hottest course in the USA for Indian students, the MBA course opens the doors for a career in business. Of the many factors considered when opting for an MBA, the cost is a critical touchpoint. The cost of an MBA degree varies widely, but on an average, the tuition fee for a two year, full-time MBA program is about Rs 45 Lakhs($60,000). If you are looking at the top business schools in the US, the sum can go as high as Rs 76 Lakhs ($100,000).

Living cost for an MBA in the US – Total Cost of studying MBA in USA

The cost of an MBA includes tuition, fees, books, and the estimated cost of living, city of stay, also the location of your school. Programs, clubs, and opportunities like global study or immersion programs can take you to places outside the US which will amplify your cost.

MBA programs are offered by public and private institutions. Although typically public universities cost less than private, that’s not always the case and depends on university-specific factors. It is found that the least expensive private business schools will cost you Rs 34 Lakhs ($45,000) in tuition fees. On the other end, the average cost of the more expensive private schools is at Rs 42 Lakhs ($56,379).

So how do we bring down the cost?

Choose schools that offer merit-based scholarships that will cover a part of your tuition and living expenses. Researching earlier on can raise your chances of getting hold of scholarships. There are also research scholarships offered by organizations other than school. For example, the Forte Foundation offers fellowships and other support to women MBA students. As a plus, students with multiple MBA program acceptance letters at hand may sometimes be able to negotiate on the scholarship money. (source)

Cost of studying MBBS in the USA

Unlike other countries like the UK and Europe, the US does not offer undergraduate programs in specific disciples like Engineering or Medicine. Students complete a general degree in a study area, like Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts and then do their major in the area of interest. Looking at their costs, it’s very much dependent on the institution. Also, for international students, the fee is on an even higher side.

Undergraduate degree programs for international students studying at a public college in the USA cost about 25,000$/year, and in a private college it comes up to 34,740$. The fee at some premier universities can also go well above the US $50,000 per year. To be more cost-effective one can do undergrads at a community college where the fee amounts to US $2,527 per year.

The trick here is that at a community college, you get an associate’s degree and not a bachelor’s, and it will serve you as the first half of a bachelor’s. You can then transfer to another university to complete the next two or three years. Many universities consider students to their programs based solely on their academic ability and not financial means. (Source)

So how expensive is the accommodation? – Cost of studying medicine in USA

The Midwest region of the US has a lower cost of living compared to East and North East that are more expensive. An average apartment month (a 1BHK apartment in a rural area) rental starts at $500 per, and as you move to the city, it gets to $3,500 (a 1BHK apartment in Boston).

Campuses also provide accommodation, usually dormitory-style, with two or three people sharing a room as well as bathrooms and toilets. On-campus dormitory rooms at public four-year colleges typically cost about $10,440 per year, and at private counterparts, it is at about $11,890 per year. This is inclusive of all utilities and housing-related costs. Each university’s website has specific calculators for estimating accommodation and tuition fees for you.

Other student costs include essentials like internet provision costs $45-50 per month, and household and monthly phone bills are around $50. If you own a vehicle, petrol costs around $3.50 per gallon. For public transport, the pass costs about $50-60 with certain areas offering discounted prices for students. Academic supplies too don’t come cheap with the average cost of books and essentials per academic year at about $1,170.Another compulsory requirement is the student visa for studying in the USA, which costs $160. (source)

Cost of studying MS in USA for Indian students

For MS courses too, there are a lot of factors that sway the estimated cost. Professional courses like the MBA, MD or JD typically are on the more expensive side than a master’s course or a PhD programme.
For MS studies, you will need to start with GRE, which is a primary requirement. It costs about$200 (INR 13,500) for the exam and the score to be sent to universities. MS in a foreign country also requires you to furnish the TOEFL score. The TOEFL fee currently in India is $180 (Rs 12,000). (source)

Next, the Application fee for top MS programs comes at an average of $75 (4,500 Rupees). The average cost of postgraduate fees per year for international students at public colleges comes in the range of 20-35,000$, whereas private colleges will set you back by 40,000$. Plan your prospective colleges ahead because you will have to pay an additional $27 (INR 1,800) for each application sent to each college after the first four. [Source]

MS Tuition Costs in the USA

Unlike MBA programs where tuition fees are fixed, in the US the fee for MS programs are charged based on the credit hours. Usually, you are expected to complete an average of over 30 graduate-level course credits. The fee per credit hours will fluctuate depending on whether you are studying at a public school or private school.

An MS scholarship can be a lifesaver which can save you a lot of money. The standard fee for MS programs ranges from $10,000 to $80,000 (Rs6 – 48 Lakh) for the two year period. You can look up available scholarships to cut down on costs. (source)

Living cost is also to be considered – Total cost of studying MS in USA

You need to consider costs for living spaces, food(d’uh) and entertainment too. For shared accommodation and a modest lifestyle, the cost of living in the USA can be roughly $1000 a month, which brings it to $24,000 (~ INR 16 lakhs) for two years. Note that the cost varies according to state, city, and your lifestyle as well.

Cost of studying PhD in USA

PhD is also a popular course in the US, and the average course fee can be around 28-40,000$.

PhD is a very attractive course to pursue in the USA. Students in PhD courses in USA have the advantage of being in direct contact with their professor giving them flexibility to change their research and study areas. PhD students here need to take up a great deal of teaching and marking therefore, your work/life balance needs to be inclined to working.

Plan ahead for your PhD application so that you have plenty of time to arrange your PhD funding. The cost of PhDs can vary between $28,000 to $40,000 per year, but students usually can find funding for much of their studies. Some PhD students may also get stipends from their institution, which is an advantage. Students can also find funding from the American government under various schemes like The Fulbright Program. You just have to keep a keen eye before applying.(source)

Undergraduate courses in USA

Many Indian students also go to the USA to study bachelor programs in philosophy, mathematics, literature, journalism, or even foreign languages.

The general stream courses are classified into four main categories:

  • Humanities where you learn Modern Languages, History, English Literature, and Philosophy
  • Sciences that teaches you Astronomy, Biology, Physics and Chemistry
  • Social Sciences which deals with Political Science, Sociology, Anthropology, Economics, and Geography
  • Creative Arts that delves in Fine Art, Theatre, Creative Writing and Speech.

These courses can also be pursued as a stepping stone to your graduate school. You can apply for medical or law degrees with the bachelor’s degree given that you have a broad base of knowledge.

Such courses will form the base of a broad range of career paths. Some fields look out for liberal arts majors are:

  • The education sector – With public school teachers required at schools across the country, you can find employment in this sector. To teach at schools you need to have a bachelor’s degree, undergo and complete a certification program followed by student-teacher training.
  • Advertising industry – Employers here prefer applicants with liberal arts degrees or a degree in psychology, literature, sociology, or journalism where they work in marketing, promotions, or PR.
  • Finance – A booming sector, requires skilled and sharp employees. They look for candidates who have a degree in finance, math, or economic studies.(source)


Since Studying in the US is quite an expensive affair, planning in advance and looking at scholarships offered by American universities and colleges is a great way to cut costs. Meritorious international students can avail partial or fully paid studies depending on qualification, course and the institution.

The American government is also offering many scholarships and bursaries and so are private and public establishments. The deciding factor for most scholarships is a good academic score. It also depends on the chosen school, subject and level. Some even give scholarships for extracurricular activities and volunteering too.

Some of the popular scholarship programs are Foreign Fulbright Student Program, Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation, Humphrey Fellowship Program, Microsoft Scholarships and Inlaks Scholarships among many others. (source)

You can also take up part-time jobs to pay off your school fees and for other living costs along with studies.


The USA is a great place to do your studies especially, postgraduate courses. One has to keep in mind the institution, the cost and location of study when choosing universities. Planning ahead is the biggest tip when selecting colleges. It gives you time to weigh in different schools, assess your financial situation and goals and select the right school. MindMine Global is here to guide you and take you through the process of admissions. Feel free to get in touch with us for any queries or assistance.


1. What is the average cost of studying in USA?

Although the cost is highly fluctuating depending on universities, the average tuition fee for undergraduate courses for international students, per year is between US $50,000 for premier institutions and $2,527 at community colleges.

2. What is the cost of studying engineering in USA?

The cost of studying engineering in the USA for undergraduate degree is upwards of $40,000 in academic fees. Adding costs incurred for accommodation and living expenses, it comes to around $60,000 per year. Average cost for MS programs in the US is between $10,000 and $80,000 for the 2 year course. But you can easily get financial aid to pay off full/part of your tuition fee.

3. What is the average cost of studying medicine in USA?

The cost depends on whether you are studying at a private or public school. On an average, studying medicine at a public medical college will cost you $32,495 per year, and in a private medical college, it can be around $52,515 per year.

4. What is the cost of studying in MIT, USA?

MIT is a highly prestigious institution. On an average, attending MIT costs you about $73,160 including tuition fees, accommodation and living expenses. The cost also depends on the type of courses you are pursuing.

5. What is the cost of studying in the USA for Indian students in rupees?

The cost of studying in the USA can depend on many factors like the college of choice, course, location and lifestyle. The average cost for undergraduate courses for Indian students studying in the US is between 2 Lakhs and 40 Lakhs.

6. What is the cost of studying MBBS in USA for Indian students?

MBBS course in the US costs roughly between $200,000 and $300,000. This is for the four years span of the course and it does not cover residency and additional training.

7. What is the cost of studying MBA in USA

The cost of MBA degree can fluctuate depending on if you prefer public and private institutions, its location and the course preferred. On average, the tuition for an MBA program is above $60,000 for the two year course. Top business schools can even set you back by $100,000 or more covering both tuition fee and living costs.

8. What is the cost of studying MS in USA

Well, if you are looking for the cost of studying in the USA for Indian students, then you are in the right place. The tuition fees for MS programs in the USA can range between $7000 to $21,000 and more. It is highly dependent on whether you choose to go to a public or private school as well as the course you selected.