11 Most Affordable U.S. Colleges for International Students

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Education at American universities is often very expensive. This is especially true for international students studying in the United States, since they aren’t usually eligible to receive federal student aid from the U.S. government.

However, there are a number of U.S. colleges which offer a quality education and affordable tuition and fees to international students. Use the list below to help guide your search!

To learn more about applying for financial aid, download our free Passport to American Education: A Simple Guide to International Student Financial Aid.

11 U.S. Colleges That Offered the Most Affordable Tuition to International Students in 2016-17

This list highlights 11 affordable U.S. colleges where the estimated tuition and fees for international students in the 2016-17 school year totaled less than $35,000.

These schools are all ranked within the top 100 on U.S. News and World Report’s 2018 Best College Rankings for their respective categories (national universities, liberal arts colleges, etc.). This means that in addition to being affordable, these colleges also provide their students with a quality education.

1.  Binghamton University

Binghamton is a public research university located in Vestal, New York. This university is the perfect place for students with a love for the outdoors. The campus includes a 182-acre nature preserve as well as an Adventure Resource Center and Outdoor Pursuits program.

Estimated tuition and fees for international undergraduate students: About $26,328.

2.  University of Minnesota – Twin Cities

The University of Minnesota is a public research university with campuses in both Minneapolis and Saint Paul (known as the Twin Cities). These campuses are only about 3 miles apart. Some of the school’s most popular majors are social sciences, biological and biomedical sciences, engineering, business, and psychology.

Estimated tuition and fees for international undergraduate students: About $28,910.

3.  University of Georgia

Founded in 1785, the University of Georgia was the first public, state-chartered college in the U.S. The school is located in Athens, Georgia—60 miles away from the state capital of Atlanta. Its beautiful campus is a blend of classic and modern—the oldest building dates back to 1806.

Estimated tuition and fees for international undergraduate students: About $30,392. 

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4.  Purdue University

Located in West Lafayette, Indiana, Purdue is best known for its engineering program. The school is nicknamed the “cradle of astronauts” because a whopping 24 of its graduates have gone on to become astronauts. This includes Neil Armstrong—the first man on the moon—and Eugene Cernan—the last man on the moon.   

Tuition at Purdue has not increased since 2012. This tuition freeze will remain in place at least through the 2018-19 academic year.

Estimated tuition and fees for international undergraduate students: About $30,954.

5.  Brigham Young University

Brigham Young University is a private, non-profit research university in Provo, Utah. It is owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and tuition costs are subsidized with church members’ tithing funds.

Estimated tuition for non-LDS students : About $10,920. (This is significantly cheaper than the average cost of tuition at private colleges in the United States: $34,740 in 2017-18.)

To prepare for your study abroad experience, be sure to check out these   challenges for international students in the U.S.!

6.  University of Iowa

Located in Iowa City, the University of Iowa is one of fourteen universities in the Big Ten Conference—the oldest Division I collegiate athletic conference in the U.S.

Estimated tuition and fees for international undergraduate students: Around $29,770.

7.  California Polytechnic State University

Cal Poly is a public university in Luis Obispo, California—a city halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco that has been ranked one of the happiest cities in the U.S. Some popular majors at the school include engineering, agriculture, business, and biological and biomedical sciences.

Estimated tuition and fees for international undergraduate students: $23,349.

8.  James Madison University

Named after America’s fourth president, James Madison University is located in Harrisonburg, Virginia—just over two hours away from the nation’s capital of Washington, D.C.  Those majoring in political science can take advantage of this close proximity by participating in the Washington Semester, during which they can experience working in D.C. with a semester-long internship.

Estimated tuition and fees for international undergraduate students: About $30,800.

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9.  Truman State University

Located in rural Kirksville, Missouri, some of Truman State University’s most popular majors include business administration and management, kinesiology, biology, psychology, and English.

Estimated tuition and fees for international undergraduate students: About $14,842.

10.  Asbury University

Asbury University is a private Christian liberal arts university located in Wilmore, Kentucky. Although the school is nondenominational, its foundation is centered on the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition.

Estimated tuition and fees for international undergraduate students: About $28,631.

11.  Florida State University

Students attending Florida State University in Tallahassee are just a short drive away from some of the sunshine state’s beautiful beaches. A few of the school’s popular majors include criminal justice, psychology, and English.

Estimated tuition and fees for international undergraduate students: About $21,683.    

BONUS: 10 U.S. Colleges That Awarded the Most Financial Aid to International Students in 2016-17

During the 2016-17 academic year, the 10 colleges and universities listed below gave out the most financial aid to their international students. Keep in mind, however, that these schools are also very expensive, prestigious, and selective.

If you plan to apply to one of the schools on this list, you’ll probably want to apply to other schools as well— ones with higher acceptance rates. Out of everyone who applies to universities such as Harvard or Yale, only about 5 or 6 percent actually get in.

1.  University of Chicago

Number of international students who received financial aid in 2016-17: 126

Average financial aid awarded to international undergraduates in 2016-17: $62,763

The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois. Although it is not an Ivy League school, it ranks just below Princeton and Harvard on U.S. News and World Report’s National University Rankings. It is tied with Yale as the third best university in the U.S.

Located in the third largest U.S. city, the university offers students the best of both worlds—a picturesque campus in an urban setting.  

2.  Columbia University

Number of international students who received financial aid in 2016-17: 213

Average financial aid awarded to international undergraduates in 2016-17: $62,004

Located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City, Columbia University is a member of the prestigious Ivy League. The university boasts distinguished alumni such as former U.S. president Barack Obama. 

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3.  Skidmore College

Number of international students who received financial aid in 2016-17: 82

Average financial aid awarded to international undergraduates in 2016-17: $60,975

Skidmore College is a private liberal arts college in Saratoga Springs, New York. Although still quite selective, its acceptance rate of 29% is higher than most of the other schools on this second list. The college offers a more intimate education experience than larger universities with an undergraduate enrollment of only about 2,680 students.

4.  Williams College

Number of international students who received financial aid in 2016-17: 98

Average financial aid awarded to international undergraduates in 2016-17: $60,944

Ranked #1 on the U.S. News and World report’s list of National Liberal Arts Colleges, Williams College is located in Williamstown, Massachusetts. With a rural setting and an undergraduate enrollment of just over 2,000 students, this college is perfect for students who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of big city life.

Do you need an F1 visa to study abroad in the U.S.? Here's  everything you need to know.

5.  Trinity College

Number of international students who received financial aid in 2016-17: 171

Average financial aid awarded to international undergraduates in 2016-17: $60,869

Trinity College is a private liberal arts college located in Hartford, Connecticut. While still selective, its acceptance rate of 34% is the highest on this second list. Its small size—approximately 2,200 undergraduate students on a 100-acre campus—offers an intimate setting amidst Connecticut’s state capital.  

6.  Harvard University

Number of international students who received financial aid in 2016-17: 600

Average financial aid awarded to international undergraduates in 2016-17: $60,687

Likely the most famous university in the U.S., Harvard is also the oldest. It was founded in 1636, 140 years before the U.S. became an independent nation.

Located outside of Boston in Cambridge, Massachusetts, this Ivy League school is ranked #2 on U.S. News and World Report’s National University Rankings and #1 on the Academic Ranking of World Universities.

Known for its excellence, rigor, and exclusivity, Harvard’s alumni include eight U.S. presidents and 62 living billionaires. It also boasts more Nobel Prize-winning affiliates than any other university in the world.  

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7.  Stanford University

Number of international students who received financial aid in 2016-17: 188

Average financial aid awarded to international undergraduates in 2016-17: $60,570

One of the world’s leading research universities, Stanford is located in California’s Bay Area in the heart of Silicon Valley. Many giants in the tech world were once students here, including the co-founders of Google, HP, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, PayPal, YouTube, Yahoo, and Netflix.

8.  Amherst College

Number of international students who received financial aid in 2016-17: 156

Average financial aid awarded to international undergraduates in 2016-17: $59,164

Located in Amherst, Massachusetts, Amherst College is ranked #2 on U.S. News and World Report’s list of National Liberal Arts Colleges. It is part of the Five College consortium, along with Smith, Mount Holyoke, Hampshire, and the University of Massachusetts—meaning students may take courses at any of these schools.

If you like music, Amherst may be the place for you. Known as “the singing college,” it has many acapella groups.

9.  Wesleyan University

Number of international students who received financial aid in 2016-17: 80

Average financial aid awarded to international undergraduates in 2016-17: $58,920       

Wesleyan University is a private liberal arts college located in Middletown, Connecticut. Some of its popular majors include economics, psychology, political science, and English.

10.  Yale University

Number of international students who received financial aid in 2016-17: 336

Average financial aid awarded to international undergraduates in 2016-17: $58,864

Yale, an Ivy League school founded in 1701 in New Haven, Connecticut, is one of the most prestigious colleges in the country. Its law school is ranked #1 by U.S New and World Report, and its School of Management, School of Medicine, School of Art, and School of Nursing are all very highly ranked as well.


Intl Student Financial Aid Guide

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