Financial guidance

The Cost for Studying Under Graduation Abroad

Kashyap Matani

Studying abroad sure is expensive but the ROI is worth it. Consider the USD to INR converter for the following guide to the total cost of pursuing an undergraduate degree from the US:


1. SAT or ACT Fee:

It is up to you to choose between SAT Vs ACT. Furthermore, some universities demand for the SAT Subject Test scores for admission to their courses. The cost for taking the SAT is $96.5 without essay and $113.5 with essay for Indian students. The ACT costs $103.50 without Writing and $120 with Writing.

Low scorers and a bunch of restless high scorers might retake the exam, doubling the total cost for SAT/ACT tests.

2. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL):

TOEFL is like the passport to the United States. The universities need to know your proficiency with the English language and hence, it is a compulsory exam, if not at the time of applications, at least during the VISA interview. The cost of the exam is $180.

3. Applying to US universities:

Fees for applying to each university varies from $50 to $100. We will assume the example of Arizona State University which charges about $85 from international students. However, Applications are incomplete without sending your official test scores (SAT/ACT and TOEFL/IELTS) through College Board/ACT and ETS/British Council. Scores can be sent to up to 4 (5, in the case of IELTS) universities for free for all of the aforementioned tests. You can apply to colleges through The Common Application. Note that a few colleges are not available on the Common App.

On an average, students apply to 8 US universities and the total estimate comes out to be as follows:

Application Fee ($85) + Sending SAT and TOEFL scores ($12 + $20) = $117. Let's be on the safer (read: higher) side and assume $120 per university. So, applications to 8 universities (including 4 universities receiving free scores) will be $((32 x 4) + (85 x 8)) = $808.

You can see if you are eligible for a fee waiver on the Common App website.

4. Other Expenses during Applications:

Now, this list might be long and will drastically vary from every applicant. Even so, the normal expenses in this category are as follows:

  • Counselling: Applicants who feel that a counsellor can fit in their shoes and get them to Stanford or Berkeley shell out anything from Rs.10,000 to Rs.50,000. We assume the average at Rs.25,000.
  • Transcripts on the college letter head (around 15 copies), Bank Statements (15), Affidavit (15) with the sponsors’ name on it (15) and dispatching them to the university (major expenditure of the lot). This, altogether, should not cost more than Rs.12,000.

In some cases, students make multiple copies of the Letter of Recommendations (LoRs) and Statement of Purpose (SoP) and unnecessarily burn an extra 500 bucks or so.

5. VISA:

While the costs are just a notable factor, it's really important to know the entire VISA Procedure.

Once you receive your I20 (official document sent by the university which states your stay in the United States and the amount to be spent for year), you need to pay up the VISA Fee which is $160 followed by the SEVIS fee which is $200.

6. Flight Tickets:

Single way airfares in Economy Class vary between Rs.40,000 to Rs.60,000 depending on your city, destination and airline. Return airfares cost somewhere between Rs.60,000 to Rs.90,000 and are a big deal in case you get homesick.

Thus, the total expenses are listed below:







1. Applications (to 8 universities)





2. SAT










4. Counselling





5. Other Expenses















8. Airfare (one-way)





Total: Approximately $2,800 with Counselling, $2,400 without Counselling.

Note: The above table is derived based on numerous assumptions and actual costs may vary for different individuals. Here, we summarize only some important expenses to get a rough estimate of the costs.


Students who plan to study in states/cities like California, New York City, Chicago, New Jersey, Washington, Florida, and Boston have to keep in mind that owing to the popularity of the location, they might have to spend more.

Moreover, if you plan to stay alone or with a single roommate in a fully furnished apartment, the expenses certainly will be higher. So, find yourself a nice roommate before landing there.

Having said that, it is not only safe to share your apartment with a couple of students in a new place, the fun factor is what makes the student life all the more interesting.

The two primary expenses after reaching the States are Tuition Fee and Living Expenses.

  1. Tuition Fee:
    The tuition fees vary from one university to other. Please check the University Reviews on Yocket  for each college on your mind. Furthermore, financial aids and scholarships are excellent ways of reducing the burden of tuition fees. You should check with the university websites for the same.
  2. Living Expenses:
    Well, there's no accurate way to estimate living expenses as factors like location, apartment size, number of roommates and proximity to the university drastically vary. However, on an average students tend to spend about $500 to $1100 per month, which includes everything.

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