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Are you planning to pursue your higher studies at a reputed college or university in the USA? The United States of America offers some of the most sought-after and reputable US universities for Indian students looking to go for their Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.. However, it also comes with significant living costs. It is imperative for you to break down and understand the total living costs in the US. 

Living Costs in the United States

The living cost in the US per month for international students can vary from one state to another. Generally, living in urban areas can be more expensive than living in suburban areas or smaller towns. As per a general understanding, some locations in the Midwest regions of the country have lower living costs. On the other hand, the North-east and East regions have higher costs.  Living costs in US per month for international students can vary depending on several factors, including:
  • Personal spending habits
  • Renting apartments outside the college campus or on-campus accommodation
  • Access to a part-time job
  • Personal grocery shopping, meal plans, or eating out
  • Entertainment expenses
  • Travelling by public or private transport 
If you wish to compare costs of living in the USA city-wise, you will find that 7 out of 10 cities with the highest costs of living are located in California. Irvin has the highest median rent. It is followed by San Francisco and San Jose. On the other hand, US cities with the lowest costs of living are Cincinnati, Tulsa, and Oklahoma.  To help you understand the US living expenses per month or annually, we have compiled a tabular representation of the overall costs.

Cost of studying in US

Expenses Monthly  Annual
Tuition  $18,907
Student fees $400
Health insurance $70 $840
On-campus rent $600 $7200
Mobile phone $30 $360
Public transit pass $40 $480
Groceries or Food $300 $3600
Entertainment, gifts, clothes $80 $960
Car Insurance $1500
Car Fuel $200 $2400
Total Expenses $1320 $37,247
  Let us understand the US living cost per month in detail.
  • Accommodation Costs in the US: An average apartment can start around $600 while going up to $3,000. Renting outside college premises can be more expensive than living on campus. The average cost of an apartment can start anywhere from $600 (one-bedroom apartment in a rural area) and go up to $3,000 or even more (for a one-bedroom apartment in Boston).
  • Utility Costs: The US living cost per month for accommodation might not include utilities. Therefore, you should look into it before signing the rental agreement. As per a recent estimate, Connecticut features the highest average utility costs on a monthly basis in comparison to other regions.
Some of the common charges to understand are:
  • Electricity: $50 -100 per month
  • Heating: $50 -100 per month
  • Internet: $45-50 per month
  • Phone subscription: $50 per month
  • Trash, water, sewer: $50-75 per month. In most cases, the landlord covers them
  • Food Costs: For a single individual, groceries can add up to  $300 to $600 towards your living cost in the US per month. It will depend on your eating habits. You can look out for the cheapest options and supermarkets like Walmart, Target, Costco, and so more. 
The cost of eating out at  restaurants across different cities of the country also varies:
  1. In Chicago, you can grab a hearty meal at around $12.
  2. American and international restaurants in San Francisco cost around $15 for a meal.
  • Transportation Costs: The monthly transit pass for public transport can add up to $40 to $100 towards US living cost per month. Some universities might offer discounts as well. For instance, in Cincinnati, a metro card fare for international students can be $53 per semester. 
  • Tuition Fees: There are many prestigious US universities for Indian students.  The US university fees or US tuition fees varies depending on the university, course or program, duration of study, and more. On average, the US university fees for international students can be around $8,000 to $40,000 (for UG courses) and USD 10,000 to $60,000 (for PG courses).

How can Students in the USA Benefit from Niyo Global Card?

Living and studying abroad –especially in an expensive nation like the USA, can be quite expensive. On top of it, students studying abroad are expected to bear the currency conversion charges and other transaction charges  while dealing with the high cost of studying in the US as well. This could make budgeting the living cost in the US per month quite cumbersome. With a reliable international debit card like Niyo Global, you no longer have to worry about managing the total living cost in the US. The card can make your stay in the country quite affordable and enjoyable with its compelling features like:
  • Niyo Global offers a zero-balance savings account which means that you do not have to maintain a monthly minimum balance. It is a great benefit for students abroad who look forward to saving every penny.
  • Niyo Global is an INR-based global card. Therefore, it allows you to load currency in INR and the card converts your transaction amount into over 100 currencies, including US dollars. 
  • Niyo Global is a zero forex markup card, meaning, for any payments abroad, you will not need to pay extra for the convenience of currency conversions.
  • Niyo Global card adds to your savings in the form of monthly interest payouts. It is a major benefit for international students who can leverage some extra savings. 


As you apply for a US Student Visa, it is imperative for you to understand the cost of studying in the US. As an international student, if you wish to save money on your US living expenses per month, a reliable international debit card with zero forex markup, like Niyo Global Card can help. With the convenience of adding money in INR and the ease of spending anywhere, in-app ATM locator, real-time in-app Currency Converter, and much more, you can look forward to simplifying your overall expenses in a foreign nation like the United States of America.
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