Let’s take a detailed look at how much a master’s in the US could cost you.
Tuition/Fee for Masters in the US
Tuition for a master’s degree in the US can depend on a range of factors. These factors include the type of program, the number of credits selected, and the extra fees charged as part of tuition.
Some of the types of extra fees universities can charge include student service fee, activity fees, sports center fees, student union fee, technology fee, library fee, sustainability fee, and fees for books and supplies, among others. These fees are usually more minimal than the overall fees charged for all the credits taken.
Master’s programs in the US require you to take a certain amount of courses so that you have enough credits to earn your degree. In most universities, each course gives you three credit hours. If you decide to take three courses in a semester, you will earn nine credit hours and pay tuition for nine credit hours for that particular semester. Most universities expect you to take at least 12 courses (36 credit hours). The number of credit hours varies from university to university.
The most reasonable universities can charge as low as USD 150 per credit hour, while the most expensive ones can charge as much as USD 2000 per credit hour.
Costs for programs usually vary for different programs. There are also variations in cost for the same disciplines among universities. To help you find reasonably priced programs for various disciplines in the US, we’re listing 20 universities that are known to offer programs of good value in some of the most popular disciplines in 2020.
Valley City State University (Valley City, North Dakota)
Oklahoma State University – Institute of Technology Okmuglee (Okmuglee, Oklahoma)
Rust College (Holly Springs, Mississippi)
Dickinson State University (Dickinson, North Dakota)
Broward College (Fort Lauderdale, Florida)
Henderson State University (Arkadelphia, Arkansas)
Bemidji State University (Bemidji, Minnesota)
Delta State University (Cleveland, Mississippi)
Southwest Minnesota State University (Marshall, Minnesota)
Mississippi University for Women (Columbus, Mississippi)
Minnesota State University – Moorhead (Moorhead, Minnesota)
Bridgewater State University (Bridgewater, Massachusetts)
Nicholls State University (Thibodeaux, Louisiana)
Eastern New Mexico University (Portales, New Mexico)
Brigham Young University (Provo, Utah)
Stony Brook University (Stony Brook, New York)
Southern Illinois University – Carbondale (Carbondale, Illinois)
Middle Georgia State University (Macon, Georgia)
University of the Potomac (Washington, D.C.)
Lamar University (Beaumont, Texas)
Drake University (Des Moines, Iowa)
University of Wisconsin (Madison, Wisonsin)
Butler University (Indianapolis, Indiana)
Texas A&M University (College Station, Texas)
Valparaiso University (Valparaiso, Indiana)
Providence College (Providence, Rhode Island)
University of Scranton (Scranton, Pennsylvania)
Bethel University (Saint Paul, Minnesota)
Creighton University (Omaha, Nebraska)
Xavier University (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Otterbein University (Westerville, Ohio)
Hamline University (Saint Paul, Minnesota)
Assumption College (Worcester, Massachusetts)
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (Champaign, Illinois)
Baker University (Baldwin City, Kansas)
Saint Norbert College (De Pere, Wisconsin)
Brigham Young University (Provo, Utah)
Le Moyne College (Syracuse, New York)
University of Florida (Gainesville, Florida)
University of Missouri at Columbus (Columbus, Missouri)
Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, Georgia)
Rice University (Houston, Texas)
University of California – Irvine (Irvine, California)
Clemson University (Clemson, South Carlolina)
University of Utah (Salt Lake City, Utah)
Washington University of St. Louis (St. Louis, Missouri)
Vanderbilt University (Nashville, Texas)
New Jersey Institute of Technology (Newark, New Jersey)
Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, Maryland)
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (Champaign, Illinois)
Rutgers University (New Brunswick, New Jersey)
University of Washington (Seattle, Washington)
Purdue University (West Lafayette, Indiana)
Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Worcester, Massachusetts)
University of Rochester (Rochester, New York)
University of California – Riverside (Riverside, California)
Stevens Institute of Technology (Hoboken, New Jersey)
University of Delaware (Newark, Delaware)
North Carolina State University (Raleigh, North Carolina)
University of Wisconsin (Madison, Wisconsin)
Williams College (Williamstown, Massachusetts)
Amherst College (Amherst, Massachusetts)
Pomona College (Claremont, California)
Wellesley College (Wellesley, Massachusetts)
Swarthmore College (Swarthmore, Pennsylvania)
Vassar College (Poughkeepsie, New York)
Soka University of America (Aliso Viejo, California)
Middlebury College (Middlebury, Vermont)
Principia College (Elsah, Illinois)
Washington and Lee University (Lexington, Virginia)
Grinnell College (Grinnell, Iowa)
Davidson College (Davidson, North Carolina)
Bowdoin College (Brunswick, Maine)
Colgate University (Hamilton, New York)
Colby College (Waterville, Maine)
Haverford College (Haverford, Pennsylvania)
College of the Atlantic (Bar Harbor, Maine)
Smith College (Northampton, Massachusetts)
Denison University (Granville, Ohio)
Wesleyan University (Middletown, Cincinnati)
Counselor Tip: You will have to select well-ranked and low-tuition / fee schools with Assistantships or Fee waivers for the best value on your investment in higher education.
Cost of Living
As a student in the US, you can choose from a few accommodation options. Depending on factors like budget, living preference and so on, you could choose to live on campus or off campus.
Dormitories are the most popular form of on-campus housing. Dorms, which usually house a large number of students, will have a group of students sharing a large room and bathroom (usually with a few smaller shower cubicles). Dormitories could be exclusive sometimes, as some are open to either only men, women, freshmen, or could cater to a particular theme. In terms of finance, while dormitories may appear more expensive than other accommodation options, when you break it all down, the range of services that are included in the fee you to pay for living in a dorm, could make living in a dorm well worth it. Dorm rooms are well furnished and usually have everything you need, with a cafeteria close by that is well stocked. As dorms are usually situated close to educational buildings, you wouldn’t have to spend on transport. Another advantage of opting for a dorm is that you will not be required to provide a security deposit.
With all these benefits, why would one consider off-campus housing?
Off-campus housing is an excellent option for thrifty students. Despite the security deposit and transport costs, students can really save up when it comes to food. While meal plans are still quite popular, the prices are often inflated, and this is where a lot of students, who choose to live off-campus and cook their own meals save money. While universities often help students make off-campus housing arrangements, students can also opt to rent apartments and homes, privately. To cut costs further, you can always share your flat with other people. Another benefit of off-campus housing is that you get to choose your flat/ roommates, which is something you cannot do when you decide to live in a dorm.
Another option that first-year students may want to consider is homestays. As an international student, living with Americans will help you better integrate with American society, and you get a private room and hot meals to boot.
Another important factor that determines the price you will have to pay for accommodation, irrespective of whether you choose to live on or off-campus, is the location of the university. Universities in smaller towns or cities can often be less expensive, while universities in larger metropolitan cities can be quite expensive.
Most Expensive Cities in the US:
New York City, New York
San Francisco, California
San Jose, California
San Diego, California
Los Angeles, California
Least Expensive Cities in the US:
Las Vegas, Nevada
Salt Lake City, Utah
San Antonio, Texas
Des Moines, Iowa
Buffalo, New York
Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
Most programs in the US require you to have taken the GRE. The cost of the exam is $205. If you aren’t happy with your score and wish to retake it, you will have to pay an additional $205.
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
All students hoping to pursue their higher education in the US must take TOEFL. The test is compulsory because universities need to know your proficiency in the language. It is also necessary for your VISA interview. The cost of the exam is $180.
Applying to US universities:
The application fees vary according to each university, but they will usually lie within the $40 to $200 bracket. Another factor that may contribute to your application expenses is reporting your GRE score to universities. ETS, which conducts the GRE and TOEFL, allows you to send both scores to four universities for free, but additional scoring reports would cost you extra. You will have to pay an additional $27 for GRE and $20 for TOEFL, each time you wish to send your scores to a university.
Other Expenses During Applications:
Let’s assume you are planning to apply to multiple universities. For this, you will require around 15 copies each (to be safe) of transcripts on the college letterhead, bank statements, and affidavits with the sponsor’s name on it. Dispatching these documents to the universities will also cost you money. Altogether, you would spend around Rs. 8,000. In some cases, students make multiple copies of their Letters of Recommendation (LORs) and Statement of Purpose (SOP) and unnecessarily burn an extra 500 bucks or so. While today, most universities allow you to upload these documents online, thereby cutting costs, upon admission, you will have to send them a hard copy of the transcript of your financial documents.
You need to pay the VISA Fee, which is $160, followed by the SEVIS fee, which is $350.
Single way airfares in Economy Class can range between Rs. 40,000 and Rs. 3,00,000, depending on your city, destination, airline and when you book it. According to the Vagabrothers channel on Youtube, the best time to book tickets is six weeks before your travel date.
The least expensive university- Birgham Young University- Tuition and fees for a year cost around 4.3 Lakh rupees.
The most expensive university- Columbia University- Tuition and fees for a year cost around 47 Lakh rupees.
The cost for other universities depends largely on the location and whether the university is state-run or private.
How can you cover costs while pursuing an MS in the US?
As a student, you are allowed to work for 40 hours a week. Students can get paid anywhere between 7 and 12 $/hour.
You should also try to get fee waivers. Teaching Assistantships, Research Assistantships, and Graduate Assistantships will cover some part of your fee, and you will be paid each month, which should also help you lessen the burden of finances.