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Cost of Living in USA

Indian students’ cost of living in the USA varies depending on their location, lifestyle, and splurging patterns. A student should budget between $1000 and $2500 a month on average to pay for housing, food, transportation, health insurance, utilities, study materials, and extracurricular activities.

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What is the cost of living in the USA for Indian students?

Accommodation takes up the majority part of the budget. Meals and grocery shopping are an important part of living and these expenses must be properly planned to avoid excessive cash outflow. With the aid of Student discounts & cards, Access to public transportation becomes cheap.

A mandatory health insurance must be included while forming the budget.

Looking for Scholarships and part-time jobs can efficiently help in maintaining a balanced lifestyle while studying in the USA. 

Affordable cities to live in USA

The USA is known for its community of people from diverse cultures and nations. This offers a holistic experience while studying and exploring the country.

When considering affordability and deciding where to reside, it becomes vital to look outside the cities with glamorous lifestyles to stay on budget. 

Here are some relatively more affordable cities to live in the USA:

  • San Diego

With beautiful beaches and wholesome sites, San Diego offers a mild climate making it a comfortable city to reside. The low tuition fees make it affordable for students to maintain their expenses and budget.

  • Baltimore

Baltimore is a famous East Coast city with a distinctive Inner Harbour. Baltimore, well-known for its educational institutions, sports teams (the Ravens and Orioles), and maritime heritage, provides a dynamic and diverse urban experience with little cost of living.

  • Atlanta

Atlanta poses renowned universities alongside low tuition fees and accommodation paving its way to growing international reputation. It serves as a hub for media, technology, finance, and other industries and offers a blend of historic significance and diverse culture. 

  • Houston

Houston, also known as a Space City is a house for international students especially from the field of science and technology due to the low cost of living index and extensive industry experience.

  • Chicago

Chicago is recognized for its metropolitan vibe at an affordable cost and its iconic architecture maintains its reputation. It has always been the talk of the town for its top-class Universities and educational curriculum.

Even with the low cost of living, the lifestyle standards are not compromised in these cities. One gets access to all the amenities and experiences without creating a hole in their pockets.

Average Cost of Living in USA

The cost of living in the USA for Indian students can vary based on several factors, including the city or region of residence, lifestyle choices, and the particular university or institution they attend. 

Here are some key expenses that Indian students in France typically incur:

1.Tuition Fees:

Tuition fees vary depending on the level of study (undergraduate, master’s, doctoral) and the institution. Public universities in the USA often have lower tuition fees.It can be anywhere between $25000- $45000 a year depending upon the university.


Renting an apartment or shared accommodation is a significant expense and takes up a huge chunk of the budget.

Costs will vary based on the city and the accommodation type (student dormitory, shared apartment, private studio).It ranges from $9800 – $11,000 per year. It can cost as low as $450 to as high as $3500 a month in off off-campus setting. 


Cooking at home is usually more cost-effective than dining out. Indian students may find preparing meals with ingredients from local markets economical.

It ranges between $300-$600 while staying off campus and $250 when staying on campus. Grocery shopping is time-consuming and one must do it effectively to avoid wastage. 


Public transportation costs, such as metro or bus passes, will depend on the city of residence and the frequency of use. Owning private transport can be expensive in the country. It ranges from $300-$700 per year.

5.Health Insurance:

Most universities pose the requirement of mandatory health insurance for International students during their stay in the USA. They cost around $700 to $1100.This cost will depend on the coverage and the insurance provider.


Monthly utility costs for electricity, water, heating, and internet will vary based on the size of the accommodation and the region. This can take up $100-$200 per month on your budget. 

7.Books and Supplies:

Costs for textbooks, study materials, and other supplies related to academic courses. They can cost anywhere between $900- $2000 a year. 


Additional healthcare expenses, such as doctor visits or medications, are not covered by insurance.$50-$200 should be the budget for such emergencies. 

9.Leisure and Entertainment:

Budget for social activities, outings, travel, and other leisure pursuits. These can take up $80-$100 from your budget. 

10.Miscellaneous Expenses:

Miscellaneous expenses for personal needs and unforeseen costs. Students must keep an emergency fund of $1000-$2000 to help them out in such situations.

 Indian students must plan their budget carefully, research the specific costs associated with their chosen city or region in France, and take advantage of any student discounts or benefits.

Health Insurance for International Students

Health Insurance is an integral part of the requirements for international students. Some Universities make it mandatory to have health insurance and the amount might be included in the tuition fees.

However, if one is asked to opt for health insurance themselves they must get a thorough understanding of it and choose the right plan as per their requirements. 

There are various health Insurance that International students can opt for while studying in the USA:

  1. University-Sponsored Plans: Many universities offer their own health insurance plans designed specifically for international students, often meeting specific visa requirements.                                                      
  2. Private Health Insurance: International students can opt for private health insurance plans from insurance providers, that offer a wide range of coverage options.                                                                      
  3. International Student Insurance Plans: There are insurance plans tailored for international students, offering coverage for medical expenses and emergency evacuation. Some students might be eligible for government-sponsored health insurance plans based on their visas. 

The cost of health insurance can vary based on factors such as the level of coverage, the insurance provider, and the specific plan chosen.

The average cost for health insurance is around $700 to $1100 per year, but this can vary.

Cost of Living: Transportation, meals & attractions and activities 

New York City:

  • Public transport (monthly pass-subway): $100-$120
  • Meals: $300-$500
  • Attractions and activities: $100-$200
  • Rent (shared bedroom apartment): $1000-$4000


  • Public transport (monthly pass): $80-$100
  • Meals: $300-$400
  • Attractions and activities: $50-$100
  • Rent (Shared bedroom apartment): $500-$1500


  • Public transport (monthly pass): $90-$100
  • Meals: $300-$400
  • Attractions and activities: $100-$150
  • Rent (one-bedroom apartment): $1500-$2000


  • Public transport (monthly pass): $60-$90
  • Meals: $300-$500
  • Attractions and activities: $100-$200
  • Rent (one-bedroom apartment): $1200-$1800

San Diego:

  • Public transport (monthly pass): $80-$100
  • Meals: $300-$400
  • Attractions and activities: $100-$150
  • Rent (one-bedroom apartment): $1500-$2000

Tips for cost cutting as a student

Cost-cutting or minimising the cost of living is essential for students to manage their budget and lead a healthy lifestyle in the country.

Here are some practical tips to save money & reduce costs while studying:

  • Budgeting:

Propose a monthly budget that includes all expenses and income, if any. Classify your expenditures into categories to see where the cash outflow is and where you might be able to save.

  • Cook at Home:

Prepare meals at home to save on dining out costs. Buying groceries and cooking for yourself is typically cheaper and healthier.

  • Student Discounts: 

Benefit from student discounts on events, museums, software, transportation, and more. When making a purchase, always inquire about the availability of a student discount.

  • Share Accommodation: 

Consider sharing accommodation with roommates to split rent and utility costs. Shared apartments or dormitories are often more affordable than living alone.

  • Use Public Transportation:

Opt for public transportation instead of owning a car. Monthly passes for buses, subways, or trams are usually cheaper than daily or individual tickets.

  • Freelancing or part-time work:

Consider part-time employment or freelancing to supplement your income, if possible. Make sure it doesn’t affect your academic performance.


The cost of living in the USA varies depending on the city and lifestyle, although it often ranges from modest to slightly higher. The cost of living is typically higher than most foreign countries, especially regarding lodging and dining out. 

With its abundance of public spaces, diverse cultural offerings, and reasonably priced leisure pursuits, one gets the opportunity to balance their expenses and lead a healthy lifestyle.

Students and locals can easily manage the expense of living in this lively and culturally diverse nation by making wise financial decisions and prioritizing necessities.

If you are an aspirant looking to study at your dream university, book an appointment with AdmitX today and start your applications early to avail yourself of all the benefits.

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