Cost of Graduate Education in the U.S.

I have received a few emails asking me to write about how much would it cost to study in the U.S. I know many of my friends have decided not to study in America when they considered the “Money” factor they must invest just to finish studies.

At the same time, I have seen some people who sold everything they had back home just to get education from U.S. colleges and universities.

So, the perspective usually varies from person to person. But I would say it’s really worth every penny one would spend to complete a graduate school program.

I’m going to write about the basic necessities involved and how much it would cost to stay and study in America.

The cost of living usually varies among the different States in America. And even within a State, the cost of living may also vary among cities where the graduate schools are located.

I will give you some estimates on places where you might live for comparison. In other words, location is a major factor.

If the graduate school is located, let’s say, in Kingsville, Texas, you would spend around $300 per month including all expenses, whereas if the school is in New York or Los Angeles, it might be around $800 per month.

Without a part time job or aid, it will be difficult to manage living in major cities.

Elements for Basic Living:

  • Apartment (on-campus or off-campus)
  • Groceries and food
  • Utilities (electricity, water, gas, internet)
  • Phone (landline or cell phone)
  • Books (used college books)
  • Personal care.


  • Dinning out
  • Travel, vacation
  • Car, car insurance
  • Starbucks coffee
  • Buying gadgets
  • Cable TV connection.

Considering all the above factors, I have met students who live for as low as $200 per month up, as well as affluent ones who spend as much as $1,000-plus for the same period.

If you live in Texas, $200 will be sufficient but for a very restricted way of living. I have encountered students who had such kind of lifestyle. But personally, I wouldn’t live that way.

I spent around $300 to $400 per month on basic expenses, plus others expenses. Just add anything to this based on your lifestyle to give you an idea of your potential monthly expenses. Again, this applies if you live in Texas.

Apartment rental is the main cost among all living expenses if you live in a major American city. If you have read my previous post, Cost of Living in UC Davis, where apartment rent costs around $1,600 per month for a 3 bedroom unit.

Whereas at UTA (University of Texas at Arlington), we only paid $600 per month for a 2 bedroom/1.5 bath apartment. So how many people stay in an apartment? That usually varies.

In a 1 bed/ 1 bath unit, I have seen 2 to 5 people staying. Usually, 3 persons is common.

In a 2 bed/2 bath unit, around 4 to 8 people stay. And this depends on the city and how strict the apartment rules/owners are.

Costs of groceries are almost standard throughout the U.S. and it will be shared by all your roommates, so it will not be a major expense, unless you dine out on a daily basis.

  • Phone = $10 to $50 per month.
  • Utilities (gas, water, electricity) = $100 – $200 per month.

The cost that will be put as living expenses in I-20 is higher and that usually doesn’t apply to international students who share apartments and food expenses. They use dorm expenses to calculate the living expenses. Living in dorms is usually expensive.

I hope this will give you an idea on how much your living expenses would cost.

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  1. sir i want to ask what is total cost of living for 3-4 years in Massachusetts USA.
    thanks you for your earlier E-mails
    you’re doing a great job in helping needy students.

  2. sir,i have a dought regarding payement of tution fee? we should pay the whole tution fee in once or we can pay it year wise? if year wise can we pay the fee by doing part time job?

  3. Hi,everyone,i just want to know about living cost and conditions at omaha,nebraska state,USA.becausa i am going to study BE(mech.engg) from university of nebraska,omaha.I also want to know that is it right university and state from study and jobs point of view.

    Thank you.

  4. Wat r d diff. part time jobs available..hw much do dey actually pay nd wont dis part time job fidel my study hours??

  5. hi

    i wonder if you could answer my question:

    first of all i don't want share my apartment with any one. how much is cost?

    second as i come to US in next fall, how could i find a good apartment via internet? is there any site for this?

    and is 30000$ fund per year enough to study in US for a couple! or i have to do part time jobs.

    thank you for your extraordinary web site. please contact me via email.

    thank you again.

  6. @Tanveer: I haven't written about your concern about renting apartment and finding roomates. I will write about that in future.

    1. Tanveer, where u from? Am also from Bangladesh. Guess you have been an old user. so what you doing now? Am new here and graduated in Mechanical Engineering from KUET. I am also looking for partner to live with in usa.

  7. @ There are websites, but it will not apply for students, that too international students. Since, we usually have 3 or 4 roommates. But it will be from $300 to $800 per month depending on the city. Not more than $800.

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