Total Cost of Studying Bachelor’s Degree in USA – With Breakdown

Aditi Sharma Study in USA 73 Comments

Do you want to know what is the total cost of studying Bachelors Degree in USA?

This post is exclusively written for students who have completed their 10th grade and are yet to write 12th grade board exams.

I presume you have read my previous article Why I selected USA for Bachelors Degree.

Now, what might be deterring you would be the overwhelming cost of bachelor’s degree in USA that you see on the university websites.

In this post, I would be putting some light on affordability. If money isn’t bothering you, please discontinue reading; you will definitely find this post inappropriate.

Cost of Studying Bachelors Degree in USA

I am splitting total cost of studying bachelors degree in USA this in two parts

  1. Pre-departure expenses
  2. Post-departure expenses

Pre-Departure Expenses

This includes your exam fees, university application fees and visa application fees.

Exam fees: You will have to write two exams. SAT and TOEFL.

  • $103 for SAT
  • $165 for TOEFL

There are universities which don’t require SAT, but I strongly recommend getting a best possible score on the SAT.

SAT is a MUST for getting scholarships. With Scholarship, your cost of studying bachelors degree will be less by several folds.

On registration, you get 4 score reports free each for SAT and TOEFL.

Although you can take the tests numerous times, DISREGARD this option and give your best at the very first time.

University Application

Once you get SAT and TOEFL scores, you have to apply to the universities.

The average online application fee is $60. Your friends, who intend to pursue a master’s degree, must have applied to 8 to 12 universities.

But for Bachelor’s, most of the average universities (too good with respect to Indian standards) will admit you with good scholarship, provided you do well on the SAT.

Applying to 4 to 6 universities is sufficient. That would account to $60 X 4 = $240. Express mail service (DHL) would charge you Rs.900 per application packet. Rs.900 X 4 = Rs.3,600

(You are required to get a solvency certificate or credibility certificate from bank which shows that your sponsors are good up to a sum of Rs. 25 lakhs.)

Student Visa Application

Now that you have received admits (I-20) with good scholarship, you will have to apply for a student visa so as to enter the United States.

You need to pay Visa application fee and SEVIS fee. Visa fee is $160 and SEVIS fee is $200.

By proper planning, your pre-departure expenses must not exceed Rs.50,000.

Post-departure Expense

This includes your tuition fees, living expenses and miscellaneous expenses.

Tuition Fees

The tuition fees of the universities I applied and I recommend for undergrads have fees ranging from $15,000 to $20,000.

Tuition fees account for the majority of the total cost of Bachelor’s degree in USA.

With a good SAT score you will get good funding. Among my friends, the ones with great SAT scores have received scholarships that cover 90-95% of tuition fees, the ones with good score have received 75-80%  while those with above average score have received  50-60% scholarship.

This makes your tuition fee range from $1,000 to $10,000. In case you have exceptional performance in a sport which your university recognizes, you may qualify for Athletic scholarship as well.

Living expenses

This depends on the location of your university. You have to learn sharing things. It really helps a lot on minimizing expenses and saving time.

Living expenses range from $300 to $700. On an average, you may live easily with $400 to $500 per month. $450 X 12 = $5400


This includes your mandatory health insurance, books and the money you spend on movies or so.

University health insurance is expensive. It may range from $1,000 to $3,000 annually.

Most of the universities allow you to waive off the university insurance if your private insurance policy meets the standards of university’s health care policy. A health insurance from India which meets standards of university’s policy costs $300 – $400 annually.

Books cost $1,000 per year. Be willing to buy used books. Try to get them from your seniors.

That would cost you half of the money, $500. You have to cut on your spending habits.

Avoid addictions and spend only on necessary socialisation, $500 per year would be just fine.

All this makes the total range from maximum amounts for cost of studying bachelor’s degree in USA – $8,000 to $17,000; depending on your tuition fees and the scholarship you receive.

How to Reduce your costs:

Even after you receive scholarship, you have various opportunities to further reduce your costs.
DO check if the university you are applying has such opportunities available. In most cases it is limited. But, in some universities you can find it relatively easy.

  1.  On-Campus Jobs and Part time Jobs
  2. CPT Guide for Internships
  3. OPT Guide (Post Graduation)

Say, if you get a campus job, it pays you from $7.5 – $10 per hour.

You are allowed to work 20 hours a week. During vacations, you are allowed to work for 40 hours/ week. If you have CPT, that will pay you even more, $10 – $20 per hour.

Do the math and you will know how easy it has become to pay for your Bachelor’s degree.

The CollegeBoard website makes it easy for you to search good affordable universities. But in case of any doubts regarding university selection you may post comments below for help.


  1. i wanna study in usa.but i hava budgets of only 20000$.and my degree is a undergraduate degree…but if there are any chance of me…….

  2. Hi
    My daughter is a US Citizen studying in India. she would like to pursue Bachelors/Medicine at a good university in the US. I may not be able to support him financially.
    Does she qualify for Instate tuition, being a US Citizen?

    1. iam a kabir,living Bangladesh,i want to Bsc for radiologhy,how need many for me?

  3. hey there
    i want to study electrical engineering and i wish to do it from us .
    i read the procedure given above but i would love to know about the placement’s.

  4. Need information about SAT exam and coaching in Hyderabad or Vizag .

    What will be the cost for engineering in degree course in USA ?.

    How much SAT score is required to get admission in good universities in USA ?.

  5. hi, I’m a average student and I’m now in 12th . How much I have to score in h.s and SAT to get into ivy league??

  6. Hi
    This is Seshu from India,
    And I am going to appear for new sat on December 3 rd,so how much score is required to get a admission in good university’s with a good scholarship.

    1. Hey Goha! I’m Rajdeep, I too gave sat on December 3rd, may I know how much did you scored?

      Here’s the answer to your question: Range of 1250 to 1450 is considered great for good US colleges.

  7. Hello Mr Pranav.
    I am Sakshi want to join undergraduate program in Aeronautical engineering in USA in year 2018.
    Currently studying 11th. Please list of university that having Aeronautical engineering program.
    As well as SAT score respectively. Whether all this university give full scholarship for Indian student.
    For full scholarship what is the criteria for this university. please help me for understanding.
    Sakshi Chavan

    1. There are several schools for AE. Get good scores and aid depends on the school.

    2. Hello Mr Pranav.
      I am punit want to join undergraduate program in mechanical engineering in USA in year 2018.
      Currently studying 11th. Please list of university that having mechanical engineering program.
      As well as SAT score respectively. Whether all this university give full scholarship for Indian student.
      For full scholarship what is the criteria for this university. please help me for understanding.

  8. Hello I want to pursue marine engineering degree from University of Michigan and I am not that rich that I would study in us without scholarship can you help me about it I mean which scholarships are applicable in university of michigan

  9. My son is a US Citizen studying in India. He would like to pursue Medicine at a good university in the US. I may not be able to support him financially.
    Does he qualify for Instate tuition, being a Citizen?
    What are the scholarships available?

  10. Hi, My daughter intends pursuing per Bachelor’s degree in US . She has completed her Intermediate (10+2) from Hyderabad and obtained 96.5 %. Currently she holds a Visit VISA. So can she go to US and try getting an admission in US colleges.

    1. I don’t see a need for her to come to U.S. to apply for B.S. but, if you plan for Aug 2016 semester, she can come to be considered as domestic applicant.

  11. This post was very informative and useful.Just one query, the total cost mentioned is for four years or per year?

    1. In I-20 you will cost for 1 year. You have to do the math for 4 years.

    1. Hi I am harshit from middle class Indian family and I wanna study aerospace engineering at public universities in the USA but as they say you have to have 20 lacs minimum as liquid cash in your account but I have a big dream to study in USA is this possible

  12. Thank you for the article. Do most universities grant scholarship based on SAT scores? And do we have to apply seperately for scholarships or is it enough to just apply for admission?

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