Tuition is the cost of instruction; fees, on the other hand, are charged for library use, student activities, insurance, healthcare, etc. International students are required to pay both tuition and fees.
Although the range of tuition and fees may vary greatly from school to school, there is no correlation between the level of tuition and fees and the quality of an institution. The amount charged by a particular college depends on many factors, the most significant of which is the type of school. Tuition and fees are generally higher for private universities than for state universities. Community, technical, and vocational colleges charge the lowest fees of all. State universities charge out-of-state residents higher tuition than state residents.
In almost all instances, international students studying at state schools pay a higher rate throughout their study program because they do not qualify for residents’ rates. It should be remembered that not all universities charging the lowest tuition and fees also have the lowest living costs; you should examine both factors to get a more accurate estimate of your annual expenses.
Tuition and fees vary from school to school and rise by an average of 5 percent each year. You should consult the schools and colleges listed in the appropriate category of the School Directory for the latest figures. Just click on “Complimentary Information” to get the latest updates regarding tuition & fees from each school. Be sure to confirm current costs with the school when you apply.
Living costs vary widely and depend on individual lifestyles. Of course, if you are bringing family members with you to the United States, then your monthly expenses will be higher.
Living expenses are highest in the large cities, California, and the Northeast. Costs can be much lower in the South, Midwest, and other areas. University catalogs and Web sites are a good source of information on current living costs. Within the quoted total living costs you will usually find an approximate breakdown of costs for items such as room, board, books, medical insurance, and personal expenses. Your U.S. educational information or advising center will also provide you with the latest monthly living expenses for a given school.
Your basic living expenses will include food and housing, but don’t forget to allow for the following:
Books and Supplies: Colleges estimate the cost for books and supplies for the academic year. Students studying in the United States must buy their textbooks, which can be quite expensive. Most institutions have on-campus bookstores. Many of these stores allow you to purchase used books at a lower cost. You can also sell back your backs to the same on-campus stores at the end of the semester. If you are planning to study in a field that requires special supplies (i.e. engineering, art, or architecture), then your expenses are likely to be greater than average.
Transportation: The living costs quoted by most universities do not include trips between the United States and your home country. Be sure that your annual budget includes expenses for return travel between your home country and your college. If you plan to live off campus and commute to college, then you should add in your commuting expenses. Commuter colleges will provide an estimate of those expenses in their living costs.
Other Personal Expenses: Personal expenses include items such as the cost of basic goods, clothing, and services. Health insurance is required. If you have dependents — a spouse and/or children — or if you have special medical needs, then you’ll need additional funds for living expenses.