Cost of Living in USA for Indian Students

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  • read time3 min Read
  • By:CANAM Group
  • Updated On:Jun 07,2024 05:57 PM IST

  • Explore the factors that affect the average cost of living in USA for Indian students.
  • Identify the various student housing options and cost-saving strategies to offset the high cost of living in USA.
  • Understand major expense categories that impact the cost of living in USA for Indian students.

Cost of Living in USA for Indian Students.webp

The United States of America (USA) beckons bright-eyed international students to its illustrious universities with an immersive student culture and promise of a life-changing experience. Beneath this allure of vibrant campuses and bustling cities lies a burning question: What is the cost of living in USA?

Before international students step on American soil, they must understand the ebbs and flows of expenses that will shape their experience. This blog is curated with the knowledge to navigate many financial decisions students will face while studying in USA.

Each year, USA hosts more than a million international students, emphasizing that it is one of the premium destinations for students planning to study abroad. Students base their decisions on academic excellence, a flexible education system, and abundant work opportunities the country offers. They often take a step back upon learning the country’s living expenses. But that must not deter students. Their budget should be prepared after thoroughly understanding the cost of living in the USA.

What is the Cost of Living in USA?

When planning to study in USA, Indian students must consider all expenses involved to avoid any financial difficulties in the future. This will help them focus on their studies efficiently. The average cost of living in USA for Indian students ranges between USD 1,100 to USD 1,200 per month. This depends primarily on the lifestyle and the city a student chooses to live in.

Many factors influence the monthly cost of living in USA for Indian students. Usually, the major expense that an international student has to incur is housing. Rental costs substantially vary on the basis of location, size, and kind of property. The infographic below illustrates the major factors, international students must consider when conducting their research:

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One of the main deciding factors for the cost of living in the USA is the type of student accommodations. Students must consider their budget, lifestyle, and transportation needs. On average, monthly rents in USA range from USD 650 to USD 4,000. The table below showcases the accommodation costs in USA:

Accommodation options in USAAverage Costs (Monthly and Yearly)
On-Campus Housing1,100 USD to 10,000 USD per annum (depending on whether a student is enrolled in public or private colleges in USA)
Off-Campus Housing
  • On a sharing basis: 400 USD to 500 USD per month
  • One-bedroom apartment: 500 USD to 3,500 USD per month

Rental accommodation is one of the off-campus housing an Indian student can consider. This accommodation offers them more flexibility, requires substantially less investment, and provides easy access to basic amenities. The average rent of one-bedroom apartments in major cities of USA is as given in the following table:

Name of the US CityAverage Monthly Rent (in USD)
Austin2,000 – 2,500
Boston2,500 – 3,000
Chicago3,000 – 4,000
Illinois1,400 – 2,000
Los Angeles1,500 –2,200
New York City3,500 – 4,500
Ohio1,000 – 2,000
San Francisco4,000 – 4,500
Texas1,500 – 2,500

How can Students Save on Accommodation Costs in USA

Saving on accommodation costs can be a simple process for international students, if they choose to stay with a friend or share an apartment with a roommate. This can also help them save on domestic expenses and utilities.

Tuition Fee 

The tuition fees of a college or university in the USA are one of the key expenses within the budget of living in the country. Students can choose from affordable universities in the country to receive a quality education without straining them financially.

Given below are the estimated annual tuition fees of different degree programs for international students:

Types of ProgramsAverage Annual Cost (in USD)
Undergraduate Programs (Bachelor’s)8,200 – 33,000
Postgraduate Programs (Master’s)

8,600 – 29,000

How Can Students Save on Tuition Fee in USA?

The most effective way to lower the tuition fee in the USA is to apply for suitable financial aid, such as scholarships, to pursue a Master’s degree in the country. This motivates students to study diligently and secure jobs in their field that can eventually offset the rising cost of living in this land of opportunities.

Travel Expenses

Travelling or Transportation is an essential aspect of the cost of living for international students in USA. Equipped with the most student-friendly transport infrastructure in the world, USA offers its student population access to public transportation, ride-sharing, car rental, or the opportunity to own a car. When relying on public transportation to determine their cost of living in USA, students must consider the following means of transportation:

Mode of Public TransportationAverage Cost (in USD)
Buses20 – 50 per month
Bicycles2 – 5 per ride
Taxi20 – 100 per week
Trolleys2 – 5 per ride

How Can Students Save on Travel Expenses in USA?

One of the most impactful ways to save on travel expenses and lower the cost of living in USA is to consider walking and cycling as a mode of transportation. Not only will students stay fit, but they will also contribute to a greener environment in USA. If travelling frequently is necessary, students can consider purchasing combo passes or special term passes. They must also be on the lookout for travel discounts offered to college or university students.

Food & Groceries

Fueling the academic fire as an international student does not come free. The cost of food and groceries is a fluctuating phenomenon in the USA. Groceries can range from a bountiful harvest at a budget-friendly supermarket to tempting organic delights. The infographic below gives an overview of various aspects that contribute to the average cost of food in USA:

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How can students save on their food & grocery expenses?

Cooking basic meals can help drastically in lowering food bills as well as the cost of living in USA per month for Indian students. Some effective strategies include planning meals ahead of time, creating a grocery list, and purchasing necessary items in bulk. Students can also utilize coupons and look for exclusive store deals and promotions. Restricting the urge to eat out often or order takeaways will also help them save on groceries and food, thereby reducing their cost of living in USA.


The most important expense that helps Indian students run their day-to-day activities in the USA is utilities. Their cost varies depending on the state and energy consumption. The table below elucidates these essential utilities:

Type of UtilityAverage Cost (in USD)
Electricity15.45 cents per kilowatt per hour
Garbage Collection15 – 20 per month
Gas2 – 3 per therm
Internet70 – 75 per month
Sewer Services14 – 135 per month

4 – 5 per 1000 gallons

How Can Students Save on Utilities while Living in USA?

Indian students can significantly lower their living expenses in USA by sharing a flat with roommates or friends. They must establish a habit of turning off the lights that are not being used. Reducing or shutting off the heat and air conditioning every time they leave their flat will help them save money on utilities.

Miscellaneous Expenses

Below are the miscellaneous expenses that international students have to bear while living and studying in USA:

Expense CategoryEstimated Average Cost
(monthly, in USD)

AirfareThis cost varies depending on how frequently a student travels to and from India
Clothing and Footwear50 – 200 (This is dependent on a student’s style and shopping habits)
Entertainment30 – 100
Fitness Memberships40 – 100
Healthcare 50 – 15050 – 150
Textbooks & Stationary50 – 200

How Can Students Reduce Miscellaneous Expenses in USA?

The most effective strategy for saving money on miscellaneous expenses is to find low-cost alternatives for the above-mentioned expenses. Indian students can also implement money–saving strategies to indulge in their desires at a later stage. Students can also look into thrift stores to not only save on their expenses but also contribute to reducing waste.


The investment to study in the United States of America goes beyond dollars and cents. Its universities and colleges offer world-class faculty with diverse programs and ample research opportunities to help students advance in their careers. Its environment fosters personal growth and global awareness. Careful planning and resourcefulness will help students navigate the living expenses in USA. Students can also get in touch with the study abroad consultants at Canam for their guidance to manoeuvre the cost of living in the USA.


For Indian students, the main expense is the tuition fees of their educational institution. Students must keep at least USD 1,100 to USD 1,200 per month for their living expenses in USA. This will depend on the student’s location and lifestyle. This includes housing, food, transportation, health care, taxes, and other miscellaneous expenses.
The cost of living in any city of USA generally depends on an international student’s lifestyle and spending habits. Students can consider living in Austin, Boston, Ohio, among other cities.
An international student in USA can typically expect to spend on rent, utilities, groceries, transportation, healthcare, and entertainment.
International students can implement a range of strategies to reduce their living expenses in USA. They must create a budget and track their spending habits. Additionally, they can look for affordable housing options such as shared accommodations. Traveling on public transportation and cooking meals at home will also further help reduce their cost of living.
Depending on whether an international student chooses on-campus housing or off-campus rental accommodation, their housing and accommodation living costs in USA can range from $600 USD to $2,000 USD per month.
Students over 18 can get in touch with the study abroad experts at Canam to get their profiles evaluated. The experts will assist them with the process of deciding the best universities and the most suitable scholarships, among other benefits.
Yes, Indian students can avail financial aid, such as scholarships, to support their education and the rising cost of living in USA. They are encouraged to get in touch with the study abroad experts at Canam to identify the best scholarships according to their profile.
USA is a popular study abroad destination among Indian students due to its world-renowned education, diverse study programs, and abundant career opportunities. USA also offers a high standard of living and exposes Indian students to a multicultural environment.

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