American universities are considered to be one of the best in the world that offer not just world class education but also incredible opportunities. It is therefore not surprising that one of the most pressing and worrying issues for students when applying to schools in the US is cost. Living expenses in the US — barring tuition fees, medical cover, textbooks or airfares could range anywhere from $450 to $550 per week for most students to live comfortably.
American universities are considered to be one of the best in the world that offer not just world class education but also incredible opportunities. On one hand where the rewards to study in a reputable university are innumerable—they are also one of the most expensive not only in terms of tuition fees but also in terms of cost of living.
It is therefore not surprising that one of the most pressing and worrying issues for students when applying to schools in the US is cost. The annual cost of living for students in the US dependshugely on: location of the university, lifestyle, and type of accommodation. Living expenses in the US—barring tuition fees, medical cover, textbooks or airfares could range anywhere from $450 to $550 per week ($23,400-$28,600 per year) for most students to live comfortably.
The most important components include: rent, food, travel, shopping and calling cards with rent being the chunkiest expense.
A good percentage of the total living expenses could be attributed towards rent. However, rent differs hugely within the country, sometimes even fluctuates tremendously within city limits. Rentals turn out to be most expensive in cities such as New York owing to sky high real estate prices. Alternatively, rents are much lower in smaller towns. A decent apartment in California could come at no less than $2,000 a month and would cost much higher in New York. An apartment on a double sharing basis would therefore cost somewhere between $750 to $1,250 per month, depending on the location.
The cost of electricity is more-or-less the same throughout the country. The only variation is the consumption. Electricity costs shoot up during winter months in the northern states due to harsh winters. The West and South also see an upward trend in terms of electricity consumption during the summer months. Electricity billson an average would amount to about $50 per apartment.
This again is a variable largely dependent on the quality and quantity of groceries purchased. Many students do not like to cook and eat out most of the time but on an average each individual could spent close to $125 per month towards groceries.
Calling cards and mobile phone charges
A calling card to make around three calls per week back at home in India costs around $10, however a basis telecom plan for a mobile phone could cost anywhere around $50 per month.
Assuming that most meals are consumed at home and that excursions to restaurants happen only on weekends the cost of eating out would be in the range of $100 to $150 per month.
The categories above are some of the most basic and broad for expenses that students would incur while studying abroad. There might be a variance in the expenditure depending on the location and lifestyle of students. However, this list will give you a broad understanding on where and how money would be spent while studying in the United States of America.
Given the long duration ofstay it makes sense to spend money on cards or to create a bank account for the purpose of sustaining oneself in the US. It is nevertheless advisable to carry some currency with you for immediate and essential expenses. The best deals can be availed here in India and the earlier you buy your currency the better. Do make sure to research options thoroughly and keep a check on currency fluctuations so as to buy on a day when the rate is favourable. American Dollars in the last few years have been trading very high so make sure to keep a close eye on the markets.
Check for currency exchange rates: http://www.bloomberg.com/markets/currencies/cross-rates
For more details on financial aid, college scholarship and grant information: http://www.iefa.org/
Find accommodation options on: http://usa.accommodationforstudents.com/
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