Calculating College Costs

Before you even decide which college to attend, you’ve had to spend hundreds of dollars to take standardized tests and other entrance exams (You should devote some time to calculating your college costs). You have made payment for credential evaluations and for application fees, and you have even made payment for postage for sending some of those credentials to every school you considered. And now that those costs are behind you and you’ve had time for your bank account to relax, you’re starting to research all the possible scholarships for international students in the USA. But, unfortunately, tuition is only a part of the costs you’ll incur during your time in school.

All the other costs – Calculating College Costs

Students who reside on campus must pay for room and board and also for meal plans, and all students are charged miscellaneous fees. And if you’re residing off-campus, you also need to pay to stay and eat somewhere. These costs can add up to several thousand dollars per semester, and you haven’t even bought bedding yet.

Speaking of bedding, you’ll need to furnish the place where you’ll be living. If you’re residing on campus, basic furniture will be available, but you’ll require towels, sheets, lamps, decorations, electronics, cleaning supplies, basic office supplies, and so on. If you reside off-campus, you may need to purchase furniture – and if you don’t have a meal plan, you’ll have to buy kitchenware in addition to everything else. has an excellent, thorough breakdown of costs so you can create an accurate budget for your time as a student. You can then apply those expenses to a financial planning worksheet so you can view your expenditure clearly. It’s a daunting but super helpful way to stay on top of your finances.

But as an international student calculating college costs, you’ll also have several additional costs that American students won’t have to worry about (yes, we agree that the list of costs is never-ending):

  • Visa: In order to legally be in the USA, international students are required to get a student visa and must pay all associated costs with the application, possibly including a lawyer as well.
  • Flights: Since your home nation is most probably across an ocean, you’ll likely need to fly to the United States so as to get to your school. You’ll also need to pay for return flight tickets and also possible round-trip tickets for holidays home in the middle of the stay.
  • School breaks: A lot of domestic students return to their parents’ houses for different school breaks all through the year and in the summer. If you’re unable to return to your home nation, you may have to pay for housing and other expenses during that period.
  • Transportation: Though the policies vary per school, some students possess vehicles while in school. If you’d like to own a car as a student, you’ll need to purchase the car itself and also cover extra costs like car insurance, repairs, gas, etc.
  • Family: Some visas permit students to bring their partners and/or dependents to the United States while in school. Doing so requires many additional costs in pretty much all categories.
  • Exchange rates: Even if you pay your tuition in dollars, you most likely have to exchange your original currency first. Note that exchange rates and price increases can greatly influence how far your money can go.

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