According to a recent study by HSBC Group, the United States is now the second most expensive country in the world for international students. The combined average cost of university fees and living expenses for international students in the US is over $35,000, and international students at Ivy League schools can expect to pay far more, with total costs running over $58,000.
In spite of the high cost, more and more international students are studying in the United States every year. According to the “2012 Open Doors Report” released by the Institute of International Education (IIE), in the 2011-2012 school year, international student enrollment at both colleges and graduate schools in the US increased. 764,321 international students in total were enrolled at a US institution, a 5.7% increase over 2010-2011.
A US education is likely an expensive endeavor for international students from any country. International students are not eligible for federal financial aid, scholarships are often limited, and some colleges charge additional international student fees on top of tuition. For these reasons, the majority of international student rely primarily on their own funds to study in the US. In 2011-2012, 486,524 international undergraduate and graduate students used personal or family funds as their primary monetary source—a 6.1% increase over those who did so in 2010-2011.
However, an increasing number of international students in the US are finding outside sources willing to pay the brunt of their education costs. These outside sources include foreign private sponsors, current employers, or their US college or university. Receiving international aid is more common for international graduate students than undergraduates. In spite of this, US colleges are seeing bigger year-over-year jumps in international student enrollment than graduate schools.
The majority of international student enroll in public schools for their US education. Of the 24 institutions with the most international students in 2011-2012, about 20 were public schools. However, some international students look elsewhere for their educations. In that same school year, about 11% of international students in the US were enrolled in community colleges, two-year institutions with typically low costs. Another third of international students were enrolled in private, nonprofit colleges.
International students in the US are advised to consider all their options carefully before enrolling. The school they choose could drastically change the amount they end up paying for their education, and students should be searching for the school that is the right fit for them and their budgets.
Keep checking back for more from our series on the most expensive countries for international students.