Nepali Student – Cost of Living in the USA

The US is a country that is at the top of many Nepalese people’s list as the study destination. Not only Nepali Student, but International students from all over the world also choose the US. The reasons for being everyone’s favorite destination are the globally renowned universities, unlimited opportunities, and fantastic advantages for post-study employment.

Everyone desires the best in everything, the same as in the case of studying in the US. When choosing the US as a study destination, one of the major adjustments you have to do is in understanding the cost of living. The cost of living in the US for Nepali students can make all the difference to enjoying a successful period of study that is affordable and fun.

It can be complex to exactly estimate the cost of living in the US as this will vary depending on which city or state you’re planning to study in. Different cities and their corresponding urban, suburban and rural areas will all generate different costs. To help the Nepali Student who is planning to choose the US as a study destination, we have crafted this article to uncover the living cost. Not only Nepali Student, but this estimation of the cost of living in the US is also helpful to any international students planning to choose to study in the US.

Nepali Student Living Costs in the USA

We know the United States offers some of the world’s best Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs in the world. But also you need to be aware of potentially high living costs of the US. If you have done your mindset on studying abroad in the US you will need to have a good financial plan on how to cover tuition fees and other costs. You must have to do key estimates about the cost of living for Nepali Student including tuition fees, accommodation costs, funding, and money-saving tips. You’ll need to cover all these costs if you wish to get an American standard higher education.

Here we have estimated the general living costs of different major regions and cities of the United States. We believe that this estimation can give you a clearer picture of the general living costs of studying in the US.

Costs of living in the East Coast of the United States

Boston (Massachusetts) and Miami (Florida): 1,500 – 3,000 USD/month

Atlanta (Georgia): 1,200 – 2,200 USD/month

Philadelphia (Pennsylvania): 800-1.300 USD/month

Washington D.C., and New York City: 1,700 – 3,000 USD/month

Costs of living in the West Coast of the United States

Los Angeles (California): 1,500 – 2,500 USD/month

San Francisco (California): 2,200 – 4,000 USD/month

San Diego (California): 1,400 – 2,400 USD/month

Costs of living in the Central Part of the United States

New Orleans (Louisiana): 1,100 – 2,000 USD/month

Seattle (Washington): 1,500 – 2,500 USD/month

Costs of living in the North Central Part of the United States

Chicago (Illinois): 1,300 – 2,500 USD/month

Detroit (Michigan): 1,000 – 1,800 USD/month

Costs of living in the Southern Part of the United States

Dallas (Texas) and Houston (Texas): 1,000 – 2,000 USD/month

You can contact your University where you have planned to study for a more exact estimation of yearly costs.

Living costs will vary significantly depending on the location he/she wants to settle and the living standard of an individual. But for Nepali students, few factors may have a greater impact on the cost of living in the US. We have discussed each factor briefly below and also provided different costs:

  1. Tuition Fees
  2. Accommodation costs
  3. Utilities and food costs
  4. Transportation costs
  5. Health Insurance Costs

Related: How many Nepali students are in the US?

  • Tuition fees

First of all, before getting Student Visa for the US, you should search for the universities where you want to study, their fees and accommodation facilities. Tuition Fees range from $5,000 to more than $50,000 per year for international students in the US. As we know the cost of living in the US depends on the location. For example, cities or urban areas in Washington, California and New York are highly expensive.

The expenditure on tuition fees will depend upon the type of qualification and the university or school you choose to study. Nepali students will need approximately $10,000 to $55,000 per year to cover tuition fees.

Students can nearly cover all expenses while working on campus Jobs. Students can get paid $5.15 to $15 per hour for on Campus jobs. Nepali Student or any international students are allowed to work for 20 hours per week and 40 hours per week during summer. Some universities may allow students to work out of the campus after nine months of their arrival at the university.

Those students who have not received any aid or scholarship must come prepared for tuition fees and living costs for the first few months. And some universities of States like Alabama, Texas, Florida, etc have always a shortage of part-time jobs which makes it difficult to get an on-campus job for all students.

So students must either have scholarships or adequate funds for studying in Universities of these states. You can contact current students studying in those universities for the latest information about jobs, scholarships, and aids. Some of the universities also allow students to pay the fees of their last semester even after graduation.

In the US, the universities are of two types, they are Public (State) and Private University. Tuition fees will be lesser in a Public or State University in comparison to that of a Private University. And various scholarships are granted to meritorious Nepali Students by the US embassy in Nepal, US government as well as Private Universities to help fund their study expenses.

Most commonly, humanities, education and arts courses Mostly humanities, education and art courses are cheaper subjects in comparison to medicine and engineering subjects. If you want to study at the postgraduate level, the tuition fees will be higher than at the undergraduate level.

The tuition fees may vary depending on the program you wish to choose. Various programs such as an MBA degree and professional programs such as law, dentistry, medicine, some design programs, engineering, etc can cost significantly more. Most of the doctoral degrees are fully funded through research aid, assistantships, teaching, and bursaries.

Here are some of the indicative Tuition fees of various programs in the US:

  1. English language studies: $700 to $2000 per month
  2. Community colleges: $6000 to $20,000 per year
  3. Undergraduate Bachelor’s degree: $20,000 to $40,000 per year
  4. Graduate programs: $20,000 to $30,000 per year
  5. Doctoral degree: $28,000 to $55,000 per year
  • Accommodation Costs

Many universities in the US provide on-campus residence to international students which can be an affordable option for students. However, you need to apply for it ahead in time to secure a slot for yourself. And if the on-campus residence is not available, then you have to look for a room on rent, homestay or find localhost. The accommodation cost will vary with location.

Usually, it is cheaper accommodation if you get an on-campus residence. But if you couldn’t get on-campus residence then you can live in shared apartments with other friends. This can make your accommodation cost even cheaper than the on-campus residence.

Those students who live out-of-campus residence, usually have fewer Telephone bills and other expenses. From this, it can be estimated that renting outside campus in the United States might be less expensive than living on campus. As it may only cost 450 USD or less per month for shared rooms.

But if you are renting a full apartment only for yourself, then you will have to additionally pay for utility bills like electricity, internet and water usage which will be more costlier than the on-campus residence. The rent for a one-bedroom apartment can range between 600 USD to 3000 USD per month depending on the place you choose to stay. Universities can also help in finding accommodation, both on-campus as well as off-campus for international students.

Average room (on-campus residence) and board costs at universities amount to:

  1. 9,800 USD for one academic year at public four-year colleges
  2. 11,100 USD for one academic year at private four-year colleges
  • Utility Costs and Food Costs

Most of the utilities or facilities come with accommodation. It is rare to find your utility costs such as electricity or water usage costs are included in your monthly rent. It means that these costs need to be covered separately as separate expenses.

However, some utilities might be pre-included in your rental price. Utilities may or may not be included in your rental price, so you should read the agreement before signing it. And must understand how these costs are being covered. Here we have included some of the utilities with an average cost in the United States:

  1. Gas: This might not be available in all apartments in America. But if it is available, then it is only supplied for cooking purposes or heating. Normally, the cost of gas for cooking in a month may cost $10 to $15 per month which may rise to $50 to $100 per month, if it is used for heating purposes also.
  2. Electricity: There are various factors which may increase the cost of electricity. It will fully depend upon how much energy the apartment appliances may consume. The bill can get higher if you use electricity for cooking and heating purposes too. Electricity might cost you around $50 to $100 per month as a basic cost, the overall price can get higher up to 150 USD per month if heating is included.
  3. Water, trash, sewer: Usually, water and sewer are often covered by the landlord but if it is not provided in agreement then you may have to pay around 50 to 75 USD every three months (quarterly).
  4. Books and supplies: The books and other supplies like clothes, etc that you might need while studying in the US may cost you around 400 USD to 1,000 USD per year.
  5. Communications: When you live overseas, then you will surely miss your home, friends, and family. So to stay in touch with friends and family back home, communications may add some more expenses to cost of living:
  6. Internet: The average internet cost is likely to be around 45 USD to 50 USD per month. It might get higher if you choose different packages with unlimited access or TV channels added to it.
  7. Phone: This is certainly a more expensive way to communicate now internationally as it might cost high for phone calls. However, the cost can be minimized if you choose data packs for the internet to use on mobile phones which may cost around 50 USD a month to 100 USD a month. And other normal tariffs may apply for calling your friends in the United States.
  8. Other: You certainly need to have a saving for other personal or unexpected expenses for the year of about 2000 USD.
  • Food Costs in the US

The food and grocery bills in the US may cost around $20 and $40, but it will depend upon what you eat. Normally, groceries for one person for a month may cost 400 to 600 USD per month. Some meals may be included in your accommodation at the university. You can choose some of the cheapest supermarkets in the United States like Wal-Mart, Target, Costco, Trader Joe’s, to do your shopping.

Fresh product is likely to be more expensive such as meat and vegetables that aren’t in season and your dietary habits will also affect the food costs. Some of the common grocery costs are:

  1. Eggs: $2 for 12
  2. Rice: $1 per pound
  3. Bread: $2.50 per loaf
  4. Milk: $3.50 per gallon
  • Prices in restaurants in America

Generally, the restaurants have affordable prices in the US but there might be expensive restaurants too. A pizza in some of the restaurants will cost around 7 USD to 15 USD depending upon your choice of pizza and a coffee will cost around 3 USD.

In Chicago, you can grab a meal in just 12 USD and it might cost 5 USD for a beer in a bar and 2 USD in supermarkets. Many International and American restaurants in San Francisco serve meals that may cost around 15 USD. You can also get meals at a cheaper price in semi-urban areas.

The students who live in an on-campus residence, they can select the on-campus meal plans, which only costs around 250 USD per month.

  • Transportation Cost

Transportation facilities are available in all the cities and major towns in the United States. You can use regional trains, buses, and subways for traveling short distances. Traveling with these transportation facilities can cost around 45 USD to 100 USD per month. Some universities or colleges may provide a shuttle service, so you should find out if it is available in between your place of stay and campus.

You can have a pass for transportation and some universities may provide discounts for students which may cost between $45 to $100, but not all. A metro fare card in Cincinnati for students is 53 USD per semester and in Nashville, public transportation pass is 44 USD per month.

If you can afford a car then petrol or gas will cost you around $3.50 per gallon and there are extra costs for the cost of insurance too. Only there will high transportation expenses if you fly in an airplane from and to your home country.

  • Health Insurance Costs

All international students need to get mandatory medical insurance before the commencement of their program in the United States. Many universities in the US have initiated comprehensive health insurance plans for international students. This health insurance provided by the universities is applicable as long as your program is on-going and ends upon completion.

If your colleges may not offer any insurance, then you will have to arrange for private medical insurance. On average, medical insurance may cost between US$ 700 and US$ 1100 per year.

Note: All the prices mentioned are indicative and may slightly change due to several factors.

Related: Nepalese American: Facts and Statistics

What funding is available to study in America?

The fees of several universities maybe not the same as shown on the “sticker price”. The rates published by the universities and the actual amount students pay may be different. In short, students pay less than what is labeled by colleges. There are various funding and financial aid provided to the students studying in the US. The forms of support include assistantships, scholarships, grants, and work-study schemes.

It might not happen in other countries, as it’s rare for students in the US to pay the full tuition fees. In the academic year 2015/16, almost 85 percent of full-time undergraduate students at a four-year course received some form of financial aid. This data includes 83 percent of students at public colleges and 89 percent of students at private non-profit colleges.

Often, the highest sticker prices of most prestigious Universities in the United States may offer the most generous funding opportunities. One of the highest-ranked universities in the US and the world, the MIT, in which 58% received financial aid. And at Caltech, almost 60 percent of undergraduate students receive aid. And 98 percent of graduate students and 99% of doctoral candidates received full financial support while studying.

As some of the funding is only available to US citizens, but there are also lots of financial aid available to Nepalese as well as international students. For instance, the University of Pennsylvania allocates funding of over $9 million every academic year specifically for undergraduates from outside of the US, Canada, and Mexico.

In 2017/18 the Harvard University allocated aid to 594 international undergraduates, in which the average grant was about $64,459. And Columbia University provided the grant of $66,350 to a total of 257 international undergraduates. Most of the other leading universities such as Princeton University, Yale University and Amherst College of the US also cited similar figures.

Each US university’s website provides funding and scholarship information. When sending an application for admission, the students have to apply for financial aid also at the same time. Some US universities may also have a “need-blind” policy for admission.

The “Need-blind”  policy means the students’ financial background is not considered during the admissions process, and the university may provide sufficient aid to make sure every successful applicant can attend. Financial assistance is provided to international students focusing primarily on merit and rarely on need by the universities. Graduate and Doctorate degrees have more probability of receiving scholarships and financial aid. More generous funding is also provided to engineering, physical and biological sciences.

Related: Nepalese in America – Job, Income & Lifestyle

How can you calculate your costs of studying in the US?

It is better to calculate the costs of studying in the US on your own before moving to the US. It has become very much easier for individual students to estimate how much it could cost while studying in the US. The US universities must include fees and financial aid calculators on their websites.

This gives a rough idea to students of how much their intended course of study would cost and what aid they may be eligible for. These cost estimation can be done with net price calculators for international students which can be accessed via the government’s College Affordability and Transparency Center. This site also provides the details of the US universities with the highest and lowest tuition fees and costs.

Variations on the exchange rate of your national currency may also affect your budgeting plans. It is highly advisable to look for a part-time job while you are in the US or apply for available scholarships in the universities. This will greatly reduce your burden of the cost of studying in the United States.

If you want to know more about Nepali Student living cost in the US, please ask on Sodhnus.com

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