Funding your studies in the USA

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

Remember that the ‘sticker price’ of a university fee isn’t the net cost. You can find ways to make your US university 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
  • Hundreds of US universities offer scholarships worth $20,000 or more to international students
  • Over 50% of the UK students we survey report a scholarship or financial aid as their primary source of funding in the USA
  • Funding can be need, merit or talent-based, and can be from the university or from an external funding body

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 (~$100 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.

If you can demonstrate financial need, some universities will waive their application fee. You should contact each university to find out their procedures.

University tuition fees

The average published fees for public and private institutions are as follows. As an international student, you are considered ‘out-of-state’ at all public universities:

  • Community college fees: $3,730 per year
  • Public out-of-state fees: $26,820 per year
  • Private fees: $36,880 per year

(source: The College Board Trends in College Pricing)

Because there are so many universities in the US, some will have much lower fees and some will have much higher fees. Remember that these fees are ‘sticker prices’ and do not include any funding you might receive. Private universities might have more generous funding opportunities available for international students. 

It is very possible to have an affordable university 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 locale.

When you receive an offer of admission, the university will tell you your net cost of attendance and how much they expect you and/or your guardians to contribute.

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