Funding your studies in the USA

There are lots of opportunities to fund your postgraduate degree in the USA.

Remember that the ‘sticker price’ of a graduate school fee isn’t the net cost. You can find ways to make your US higher education experience as or more affordable than in the UK.

In this section you can learn about:

Did you know?

  • To get a visa, you need to prove you have access to funding for the first year of study
  • Assistantships offer funding or tuition waivers in exchange for teaching undergraduate classes, researching or supervising lab work
  • Fellowships are outright grants
  • There are thousands of external funding bodies offering scholarships

Application expenses

It’s important to be realistic about expenses from the very start. Before you even begin the application process, you should account for:

  • Admissions exam fees, if required ($200-250 per sitting)
  • Application fees ($50-$100 per university)
  • Visa application and Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fees. This will vary by visa type, but you should anticipate ~$380-$500.

It is very rare for non-US citizens to be eligible for graduate school application and admissions exam fee waivers.

Tuition fees

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average yearly fees for a private graduate degree are $23,266. Because there are so many programmes available, some will cost much more and some will cost much less.

Remember that these fees are ‘sticker prices’ and do not include any funding you might receive from the university or an external body.

Public universities usually have lower fees than private institutions, but private institutions might have more funding available.

Full details of the cost of attendance can be found on a university or graduate school's website. When calculating the sticker price of a graduate programme, it's important to find out if the fees are expressed on a:

  • Per year basis
  • Per semester basis
  • Per credit basis

It is very possible to have an affordable graduate education in the USA.

Other expenses

You should also take into account the following when doing your financial planning:

  • Room and board
  • Books and supplies
  • Local and international transportation
  • Personal expenses
  • Health insurance

Each university will have a published estimated cost of living for their location.

When you receive an offer of admission, the graduate school will tell you your net cost of attendance and how much they expect you to contribute.

By that point in time it might be too late to secure extra funding, so follow the guides in this section and do your research early.