Cost of Living for Students in America

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Student costs in America, Student costs in America 2023, Cost of living for students in America, Student accommodation costs in America, Student transportation costs in America

2024-02-16

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Cost of Living for Students in America

Living costs in America vary depending on the lifestyle students opt for and the city they will stay in. However, an average budget of $11,000 to $20,000 annually will be sufficient to cover basic living expenses. Students should plan their budget, taking into account accommodation, meals, transportation, health insurance and other daily expenses. Average tuition and living costs are as follows:

School Costs

  • Ivy League: $59,076 - $68,230
  • Private Universities: $45,733 - $68,230
  • Public - State Universities: $32,833 - $58,950
  • Liberal Arts Colleges: $31,154 - $69,330

Monthly Living Expenses

  • Accommodation: $400 - $2,000
  • Meal: $400 - $800
  • Transportation: $100 - $300
  • Other: $680 - $1,700

Accommodation Costs

When considering the cost of living in America, the first thing that comes to mind is accommodation fees. Accommodation costs for students may vary depending on various variables. These factors include the city of residence, preferred accommodation type, dormitory options, and the student's personal preferences. There are four different accommodation options for students. These are university dormitories, private dormitories, homestays and rental apartments.

  • Residence Halls
    • Residence halls are generally located on or near the university campus and offer students a practical accommodation option. It is preferred by many students for its proximity to the school and for being more budget-friendly compared to other alternatives. Prices vary depending on the region of residence and the facilities provided by the dormitory and generally range from $4,000 to $9,000.
  • Private Dorms
    • Private dormitories, which offer more comfort and additional services, usually have slightly higher costs. However, they can offer students a more independent living experience. On average they cost around $800 per month.
  • Flats for Rent
    • Students generally have the option of accommodation in flats that they can rent for 2-3-4 people or flats that they rent individually. The cost of rental apartments can range from $250 to $1,000, depending on the size of the apartment, its location, and general rent costs in the city.
  • Homestay
    • Another accommodation option offered for students is a homestay which is generally preferred by students receiving short-term education. Depending on the agreement with the host, the monthly cost generally varies according to meal options and has an average price range between $140 and $400. This option offers students both the experience of staying in a home environment and a cost-effective accommodation alternative tailored to their individual preferences.

Food Expenses

One of the most frequently asked questions after accommodation is food costs. In America, the minimum recommended food expenditure for an average person is $420 per month. However, if you're staying in a hostel or homestay that provides meals, that amount can drop to between $250 and $300. Some food and beverage prices are as follows:

  • Bread: $3.6
  • 1 kilo of rice: US$4.6
  • 12 eggs: $4.62
  • 1 liter of milk: $1.04
  • 1 kilo of meat: $15.46
  • 1 kilo of apples: US$ 5.36
  • 1 kilo of tomatoes: US$4.7
  • 1 kilo of potatoes: US$3.10
  • 1.5 liters of water: $2.16
  • Average restaurant meal: $25.00

Transportation Expenses

Monthly transportation costs for students in America are generally between $100 - $150. However, depending on the city, travel habits, and type of transportation used, these costs can range from $50 to $200.

In big cities, using public transportation is often an economical option. Metro and train are available in almost all major cities. Besides, bus, metro or train subscriptions often offer discounted prices to students. For example, discounted Washington metro and bus ticket prices for students are as follows:

  • Metro
    • Weekday Discount (05:00 - 21:30) - $1.00 - $3.00
    • Weekdays after 21:30 & Weekends Discounted - $1.00
  • Metrobus
    • Discounted Single Ride - $1.00
  • Metro & Metrobus
    • 1-Day Unlimited Pass - $13.00
    • Monthly Unlimited Pass - $64.00 - $192.00
  • Bus
    • 7-Day Discounted Ticket - $6.00

Students can benefit from private transportation options such as taxis, and Uber and services such as bicycle rental in the city they live in. Taxi prices vary from city to city and generally range from $1 to $5 per kilometer.

Additionally, students can rent a car, which may be a more costly option. On average, 1 liter of gasoline is equivalent to 0.95 US dollars. Car rental prices vary between 70-150 dollars on average.

Other Expenses

In addition to accommodation, transportation and food expenses, students need to consider other expenses they will incur for tuition fees, course materials, health insurance, telephone, internet, personal expenses and entertainment. Depending on the visa status of international students, visa fees should also be taken into account in budget planning. For example, the average costs of other expenses are:

  • Electricity: $20 - $40
  • International Phone Cards: $15 - $30
  • Internet: $15 - $30
  • Cell Phone Bill: $50 - $80
  • Entertainment: $80 - $100
  • Weekend Activities: $50 - $100
  • Shopping: $100


Frequently Asked Questions About Cost of Living for Students in America



Students have the opportunity to live in shared flats or individually rented flats, usually in groups of 2, 3 or 4 people. Prices vary greatly depending on the area, the size of the apartment and the amenities it offers. For example, rent prices in larger cities can often be higher. The cost of renting an apartment as a student in America can range from $300 to $2,500.

Living costs in America vary depending on the lifestyle students opt for and the city they will stay in. However, an average budget of $11,000 to $20,000 annually will be sufficient to cover basic living expenses. Students should plan their budget, taking into account accommodation, meals, transportation, health insurance and other daily expenses. Average tuition and living costs are as follows: School Costs • Ivy League: $59,076 - $68,230 • Private Universities: $45,733 - $68,230 • Public - State Universities: $32,833 - $58,950 • Liberal Arts Colleges: $31,154 - $69,330 Monthly Living Expenses • Accommodation: $400 - $2,000 • Meal: $400 - $800 • Transportation: $100 - $300 • Other: $680 - $1,700

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