What are International Student Expenses like in the United States?

If you are an international student looking to study in the United States, it is extremely important to take into consideration all of the expenses involved. Nomad Credit can help you find international student loan options to help fund your education. 

  • Some of these expenses include, but are not limited to: tuition, room and board, books, transportation, and other living and personal expenses.

Those are some of the more obvious expenses. US News has also brought attention to what they call three hidden expenses for international students:

  • Health care and insurance,
  • Expenses during breaks,
  • Transportation.

What if I Have a Scholarship?

Even if your education is funded by a scholarship that may not necessarily mean that your potential health expenses are covered.

  • If you are unsure of this detail, make sure to contact the administrator of your scholarship to clarify this information for you.
  • Oftentimes, college-related health insurance does not completely cover the costs of doctor’s appointments or health issues you may experience related to your teeth and/or eyes.
  • Most colleges do offer health insurance, so if you consider purchasing your respective college’s plan, make sure to read the details of that plan to make sure it covers what you foresee your needs will be.
  • It is also extremely important to note that the health care system in the United States differs from most of the rest of the world, so benefits you may experience in your home country may not be experienced in the United States.


Many college students enjoy the breaks, such as Thanksgiving break, winter break, and spring break.

  • Oftentimes, students use these periods as a time to travel and unwind from the academic stresses of higher education.
  • However, breaks prove to be another expense for international students.
  • For example, if you are living in a dorm, most schools do not allow students to stay in the dorms over breaks for safety reasons.
  • Again, make sure to check your respective dorm schedule and rules to be clear on the closing and opening dates for breaks.
  • Some schools may allow you to stay for an extra fee (expense), or you may have to stay at a hotel for the duration of the break (expense).
  • On the other hand, if you do not want to do that, you’ll have to pay for a flight for either a vacation (expense) or to go back to your home country (expense).
  • One way to lower break expenses is to know this information ahead of time and book the appropriate flights and accommodations so that the prices are more consumer-friendly than they would be if purchased last minute.


Transportation could potentially be another large expense to international students.

  • Oftentimes, if you live on campus, schools provide campus transportation that typically comes at no cost for the student (it is included in tuition).
  • However, it may be different if you choose to live off campus. In some cases, campus may be close enough for you to walk to class.
  • If campus is not within walking distance, then you will have to consider other transportation methods, such as a city transport pass for buses and or subways, a bike sharing pass, a bike, or other types of vehicle sharing, such as Zipcar or Uber.

Tuition/Living Expenses

The largest expenses you will encounter, barring any serious unforeseen medical tuition, will be tuition and living expenses.

  • Living expenses include, but are not limited to, rent and food/meals. Rent varies from city to city and type of housing.
  • Assess your financial situation and your needs in determining where you will live.
  • Some choose to live alone, bearing the responsibility of rent themselves, while other choose to live with a number of roommates to decrease monthly rent payments per person.
  • In making this decision, it is important to be aware of what situation not only works for you financially but also academically.
  • If you struggle to do your school work with distractions, then it would most likely be suggested that you live alone or with only one roommate.

At Nomad Credit, we know that studying abroad in the United States can be expensive. If you have any questions about questions or concerns about expenses and/or funding your study in the U.S. please visit us at www.nomadcredit.com. We’d be happy to help you search and compare options for education loans or study loans, too. Please send us an email at help@nomadcredit.com if you have any questions! We are happy to help.

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