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Study Abroad in the United States: Housing & Living Costs

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The cost of living varies widely across the United States. For example; the cost of living is generally lower in Idaho than in neighboring Washington. Equally, if you study in Kansas City, Missouri, the cost of living will be lower than in Oakland, California. 

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International students in the United States can find themselves in small and large cities. But this section will focus on the cost of living in a major city, Atlanta, Georgia, to allow for budget planning in more expensive places. Do be aware that cities like New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles can have a significantly higher cost of living than elsewhere in the United States.

Some average living costs in Atlanta are:

Monthly rent (1 bedroom apartment): $1100 *

Utilities (monthly average): $160 *

Monthly public transport pass: $95

Meal (inexpensive restaurant): $14

Coffee: $4

Milk (1 liter): $0.80

Vegetables (1kg): $2

Eggs (dozen): $2

Water (1.5 liter): $1.80

Chicken (1kg): $10

Wine (bottle): $15

Bread (loaf): $2.70

* Don’t worry too much about the cost of rent and utilities on that list. Most students in the United States live in dorms. These are known as halls or corridors elsewhere in the world. In the United States, it’s common to share a dorm room. This keeps costs a lot lower and generally means that you’ll only have to make one monthly payment for rent and utilities. 

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The average cost of living for one person in Atlanta, excluding rent, is about $1000 a month. 

The range of cities and schools across the United States ensures that there’s somewhere to study that suits most budgets. 

Once you've been studying for nine months on an F visa, you can apply to the Optional Practical Training program. This means that you can earn money whilst studying. Find out more about it here.


A major cost that international students have to consider is healthcare. Unlike in other popular study abroad destinations, like the UK and Germany, there’s no state healthcare in the United States. The entire healthcare system is completely private and is run as a free market.

That means that you’ll need health insurance. With healthcare being a business, the market is pretty busy. You’ll need to carefully look at what plans do and don’t cover. If you have any pre-existing conditions, you’ll also have to declare these. Don’t forget to check if there’s an excess to pay on any plans. It’s best to take out health insurance before you arrive in the United States so that you’re covered from the moment you get there.

Study in the United States

The United States is a continent of adventure and experiences in just one country. This section gives you an overview of what it's like to study abroad in the United States, as well as insight into some of the opportunities waiting for you.

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Education in the United States

Want to learn about how the higher education system works in the United States? The USA is a popular destination for students around the world given its diverse range of programs, friendly citizens and its culture and history. Find out more about the structure of the education system in the United States!

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Student Visas

Do you need a visa to enter the United States to study? Learn more about the student visa process, and what you need to enter the country, depending on your citizen status. You will also be required to bring certain documents with you to passport control at the airport in order to gain entry into the country.

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Tuition Fees & Scholarships

Tuition fees for American programs vary greatly based on the school and degree program. International students usually pay a different fee than U.S. citizens. However, there are also plenty of scholarships available specifically for international students.

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Language & Culture

American culture has been popularized around the world! From famous movies and TV shows to internationally successful companies and brands, the United States has a lot to offer. Find out more about what the country offers in terms of language, culture, cuisine, and more!

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Meet the English Requirements

Make sure you're ready to start studying abroad in the United States. American schools will normally want to see evidence of your English-language abilities. The TOEFL iBT® test is accepted by all American schools and is even the preferred test by 9 out of 10 American universities. Find out more about the TOEFL iBT test and how it can help you.

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Application Process

All countries have specific admissions requirements for students to enter their universities. Learn more about the ins and outs of admission to programs in the United States, and what you need to apply.

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Ready to look at education in the United States? Use our search engine to find and compare top programs in the United States today!

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Last update: 02 Dec 2021

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