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Living Cost In USA 2022: Cost of Living for Indian Students

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There were over 1 million international students studying in the US in 2019-20. Even though the US has been one of the preferred countries for higher education, international students are slowly decreasing every year. One of the significant causes of this decline is the cost of higher education in the US. According to the QS Top Universities ranking, the US is the most expensive country for international students.

However, even though the living and studying costs are high in the US, it is ranked as the best country for international students by UNESCO. International students can cover their living costs in USA through financial aid, part-time work, or internships.

This blog tells you about the living costs in the USA for international students.

living cost in usa

Common Housing Options for International Students in the US

There are three housing options for international students in the US.

  • The first option is to stay on campus. You can apply to your university if you wish to stay on campus. Many US universities also make it compulsory for first-year students to live in campus apartments.
  • The second option is to rent an apartment outside the campus. Even though this option is cheaper than the first one, transportation can be a hassle for international students. Many universities have tie-ups with private apartment owners for student accommodation.
  • The third option for living in the US is to choose a homestay. You can stay as a paying guest with a native American family.

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Living Cost In USA 2022: Cost of Living for Indian Students

Living costs in the USA for Public & Private Universities

The total living cost in the USA will comprise your housing rent, food, travel, books and supplies, health expenses, and personal expenses. The cost of living in the US for different universities has been provided below:

Harvard University

  • On-campus accommodation rent varies between $2000-4000 per month, depending on the residential building and amenities.
  • Off-campus living cost- There are more than 1000 student apartments near Harvard University. Some of the most affordable options are given below:
  • 35 Marion St Medford U1 Rental- It is a three-bedroom apartment with $2,700 monthly rent. It is 2.3 miles from Harvard University.
  • #606 Queen room in Brighton- It is a three-bedroom apartment, 2.5 miles away from Harvard University. The rent of this apartment is $2,700 per month.
  • Exchange Street Apartments- This is 3.5 miles away from the university with a monthly rent between $2,245 – $3,425.
  • Nova Quincy Apartments- $1,850 to $2,999 per month. The facilities include air conditioning, Wi-Fi, microwave, dishwasher, concierge services, elevator, and more.
  • Fees – $30,000 per year

Stanford University

Living cost for an academic year (3 quarters)

Campus housing rent$16,590
Cost of food$6,390
Personal expenses$6,555
Transportation cost$1,380
Books & supplies$990
Campus Health Service Fee$696
Health insurance$6,192

If you live on campus, you will have to pay 10-40% higher the accommodation cost.

Also Read: Score 8+ band in IELTS Speaking

Yale University

Total living costs per month are $2,685. It includes:

  • Housing and Food- $1,991
  • Academic- $160
  • Personal- $235
  • Medical- $294
  • Transportation- $185

Columbia University

Total living expense, including rent, utilities, and food costs, is $20,565 per academic year.

  • Commuting cost- $1,040 per academic year.
  • Books cost- $1,400 per year.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

It is compulsory for first-year students to live on campus. The total cost of living in MIT is $21,510 per year. It includes the following:

  • Cost of housing- $11,550
  • Meals- $6,550
  • Books and Supplies- $840
  • Personal Expenses- $2,202
  • Student activity fee- $368

University of California, Berkeley

The following are living costs for undergraduate students for the academic year 2021-22:

Campus residence hall accommodation cost$41,678
On-campus apartment cost$40,256
Off-campus apartment cost$37,922
Home staying accommodation cost$30,080
Room & board fee$18,456
Campus residence hall & campus apartment$14,730
Student Health Insurance Plan$3,788
Utilities Cost$1,200 per month
Food costs for an academic year in a campus residence hall$1,616
Food costs for an academic year for an on-campus apartment$3,920
Personal expenses$1,854
Transportation cost$620

Brown University

The cost of living for Brown University for the academic year 2022-23 is the following:

  • Cost of accommodation- $9,368
  • Food expense- $6,472
  • Personal expenses- $2,700
  • Health insurance- $4,204

University of Michigan

The following is the cost for first-year students per academic year:

  • Housing and meals- $12,592
  • Books and supplies- $1,048
  • Personal expenses- $2,454

Cornell University

The living cost at Cornell University for an academic year is given below.

  • Student activity fee- $309
  • Health insurance fee- $420
  • On-campus housing cost- $9,962
  • Meal expenses- $6,434
  • Off-campus housing and meals- $16,396
  • Cost of books and supplies- $1,000
  • Personal expenses- $1,876

Princeton University

You will have to pay $32,925 in total living expenses per year while studying at Princeton University. It includes the following:

  • Housing expenses- 14,120
  • Food expense- 8,715
  • Cost of books and supplies- 2,085
  • Personal expenses- 8,005

State-wise Living Costs in the USA

Your cost of living might also depend on the state you live in. The cost of living is the highest in Boston. However, if you stay in suburban areas in the South or Midwest like Ohio, Alabama, Atlanta, Mississippi, Kansas, Indiana, or Miami, the cost of living in the US will be comparatively less than in urban areas. According to HSBC, the following are the top five US states for international students if you are planning to live off-campus.


The average cost of living in the US for international students is $2990 per month in California. Students can easily find an apartment in California with a $1200 monthly rent.

  • Average rent per month- $2000
  • Phone costs- $350
  • Internet bills per month- $50
  • Transportation cost for train and bus- $3 per trip.

You can consider living in California if you are studying at public universities like Stanford University, California Institute of Technology, and the University of California, Los Angeles, Berkeley, San Diego, and Santa Barbara.

New York

The following is the average monthly cost of living in New York City for international students.

  • Renting cost- $3,089.42
  • Transportation cost- $127
  • Utilities cost- $63.59
  • Health insurance- $100

The best universities in New York are Columbia University, Cornell, and New York University.


The monthly cost of living in Texas is comparatively lower than in other states. Its cost of living index is 93.9.

  • Rent- $787.57 per month
  • Electricity bills- $185.43 per month
  • Phone bill- $197.66 per month.

If you study at the University of North Texas, Trinity University, or Southwestern college, you can consider staying in Dallas or Houston in Texas or in Oklahoma.

Boston, Massachusetts

This is one of the most expensive states to live in the US, especially for students. The average cost of living in Boston for students is $3316 per month. The average rent amount in Boston is $2511 per month.

Living in Boston is more suitable for international students studying at Harvard University, MIT, Northeastern University, and Boston College.


The average cost of living in Chicago for students is $1470 per month. The average rent amount is $600 per month.

You can stay in Illinois if you are studying at the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and the University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign.

living cost in usa


The average cost of living in the US for international students is $2326 per month, and the average monthly rent in the US is $1918. Your living expenses will include food, public transportation, mobile, Internet, books and supplies, and other utility costs. In addition to this, you also need mandatory health insurance to stay in the US, which costs around $7,000 per year.

However, the living cost may increase or decrease depending upon the on-campus or off-campus living, amenities, the state you live in, and the distance of your apartment from your university. It is best to choose on-campus accommodation if available. However, if you wish to stay at an apartment off-campus, you should select an apartment within 3-5 miles of the institution so that you can save on travel costs. Leap Scholar can guide you about the housing options and the cost of living in the US, along with helping you apply for financial aid.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which is the best city to live in the US for Indian students?

California is the top city in the US for international students. Most of the top universities in the United States of America like the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, Los Angeles. The average cost of living in California is around $4000 for international students. It includes rent, food, and transportation expenses.

2. Is living in US expensive?

Yes, the US is one of the most expensive countries for international students. The average cost of living in the US for international students is $4000 per month. However, international students can work part-time to cover their living expenses on their own. On-campus accommodation options are usually more affordable than off-campus apartments. The living cost in the US will also depend on the state where you live and your educational institution.

3.How to manage living costs in the USA?

International students have plenty of options to pay for their living costs in the USA. The most feasible options include:

a. Scholarship and other financial aid- The average financial aid amount in the US is USD 20,867 per year for international students. You can apply for scholarships or grants to manage your living cost in the US.
b. Part-time work- You can also do entry-level jobs along with your studies. These jobs pay around $7-$9 per hour of work.
c. Internships- The average stipend for internships in the US is $15 per hour. You can work up to 20$ hours a week to manage the cost of living in the US.

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Atima Khurana

Atima has 12+ years of experience in the field of overseas education and she specializes in U.S. admissions.

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