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Getting funding also helps with getting all your school supplies, like the books you need for each term. So check that out before you apply to US universities....

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A group of students exploring natureAs you consider undergraduate study in the US, it is important to know what costs to expect and to develop a plan to cover these. We recommend creating a detailed budget worksheet for each university, as the estimated expenses will vary from university to university. It is important to be realistic and to err on the conservative side when developing your personal budget. 

Application Expenses

Keep in mind that there will be several expenses to actually apply to US universities: 

Application Fee Waivers: If paying application fees would present a serious barrier to your university entrance, you may be eligible to request an application fee waiver from the US university. Enquire with the admissions office of each university to which you are applying to determine if fee waivers are offered and, if so, how to request one. Often the university will ask your careers advisor or head teacher to write a letter printed on school lettering head regarding your family’s financial circumstances and ability to pay application fees. 

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fees rates can vary significantly from university to university, as there are no standard government-set fees like there are in the UK. Rather, each university sets its own tuition and fee rates. This information should be readily available on the university financial aid or undergraduate admissions webpage.

Typically, private universities have the highest tuition and fees rates, followed by public and two-year colleges. At public (state-funded) universities, in-state students are charged a lower tuition rate, as state taxpayers. As an international student, you will be considered an out-of-state student for tuition purposes. However, often out-of-state tuition charges at a public university can be less than private university tuition charges. 

The average tuition and fees of American universities depends on the type of institution. The average tuition and fees rates for 2015-16 include: $23,893 (£18,384) per year for out-of-state students at public four-year institutions and $32,405 (£24,933) per year for private four-year institutions (US News and World Reports). For two-year colleges, expect tuition rates of approximately $8,000 (£5,056) per year. See the page on university funding for more information.

Please note these figures are averages and reflect the "sticker price" for a particular university, rather than the actual amount most students pay.  There is over $143 billion in financial aid available for study in the US, and approximately two thirds of full-time undergraduate students receive some type of grant aid. Additionally, one third of international students report a scholarship as their primary source of funding.

Further, tuition rates within a particular type of university can vary significantly. For example, though some private four-year universities charge upwards of $40,000 for tuition, only about 9% of students attend colleges with annual tuition and fees of $33,000 or higher.

Cost of Living and Additional Expenses

It is also important to take into account cost of living and additional expenses you will likely incur during two (associate's degree) or four years (bachelor's degree) of undergraduate study.

When calculating your estimated annual expenses, it is important to consider costs for:

You may also need to factor in health insurance, a PC or laptop and items to furnish your dorm room.

The cost of living can vary significantly by location and lifestyle. However, universities publish expense estimates tailored to their institution and local area, which should be readily available on the university financial aid or undergraduate admissions webpage. 

Living expenses per academic year at an American university average to $10,138 (£7,816) for room and board, $1,298 (£1000) for books and supplies, $1,109 (£855) for transportation, $2,106 (£1,623) for personal expenses and $700 (£435) for health insurance. All these figures are averages and actual living expenses can be higher or lower depending on the university, location and the student’s lifestyle. 

A few general rules to keep in mind to minimise costs: