It is fairly common knowledge across the world that the United States is one of the most opted for countries in terms of higher education. In addition to being one of the world’s largest superpowers, the country has one of the most efficient and prestigious higher education systems in the globe. It is home to a majority of the top 10 universities in the world.
Spanning across six major time zones, this vast country offers a diverse and colourful learning experience for its students, so it comes as no surprise that every year, the United States sees an increasing number of undergraduate and postgraduate students.
Studying in the United States provides students with not just an elite academic experience with access to thousands of universities and colleges and subsequent degrees of study, but also provides countless work and post-study opportunities that help to broaden a student’s horizons.
Countless student organisations and extra-curricular activities are also available for students as means of diversifying their student life. The United States has over 4500 institutions of higher education which means prospective students definitely have plenty of choices that would suit their preferences.
Naturally, with the wealth of education that this country has to offer, it definitely comes with a cost. Higher education in the United States is deemed to be fairly expensive for students, particularly for international students.
Additionally, the United States is one of the few countries that are generous with financial aid and scholarships so this can very well work in your favour! Popular student cities including the likes of New York, Los Angeles, Boston and San Francisco are among the most expensive and largely determine a high cost of living.
Nevertheless, do not let this deter you! In this article, we provide a list of some of the cheapest universities in the US that will definitely help you to cut down on costs and consider the high quality of education at an available price.
How much does it cost to study in the United States?
This is a difficult question to answer as the costs vary due to various factors ranging from the university, course of study, location and student’s preferences. Two-year colleges tend to be the cheapest while private colleges and universities tend to charge the most.
Additionally, bigger cities tend to have a higher cost of living as opposed to specific states. On average, students can expect to pay between $12,000 to $40,000 on an annual basis.
Although the cost of studying in the United States can be quite expensive, many international students study in United States for free. Check out this article to learn more.
How competitive is admission to university?
Admission is naturally competitive for international students, primarily due to the fact the colleges and universities in the US receive hundreds of thousands of international applications every year.
While academics is a major factor, most colleges also focus on the SAT scores as well as English tests such as the TOEFL; scoring highly on these exams while presenting a powerful extra-curricular track record should definitely guarantee you a place at an American university.
We have prepared an application guide on How to Study in the United States (4 Steps) for those that aren’t familiar with the process. If you aren’t familiar, it is a good idea to read that article.
What are the academic requirements like?
Most American universities consider a holistic approach to student admissions. They typically tend to look for strong academic potential, diverse extra-curricular activities, high scores in SAT exams and most importantly, a powerful application statement!
Cheap Universities in the United States
1. City University of New York
- Tuition fees: From $17,000
- Link to website
The City University of New York (CUNY) is a large public university located in the heart of New York City. Founded in 1961, the CUNY is comprised of 26 different campuses including an undergraduate honours college, multiple senior colleges, community colleges and postgraduate institutions.
Major component institutions include Brooklyn College, Baruch College and City College of New York. It was established as a university system that offers accessible education to all communities and thus has one of the most affordable tuition rates in the country.
It has a student enrolment of 275,000, making it one of the largest universities in the United States. This cheap university in United States also has one of the most diverse student bodies with countless nationalities and an incredibly large international student population. They have access to over 80 different fields of study.
2. California State University, Long Beach
- Tuition fees: from $8300
- Link to website
Based in the sunny city of Long Beach in California, the California State University Long Beach is the third-largest member of the CSU system. It currently has a student population of over 39,000 and receives a record number of applications on an annual basis.
It has a competitive admissions system with an acceptance rate of 28% owing to its large number of applications. Added to this is the fact that CSU Long Beach is one of the most diverse universities in the west coast of the US in terms of racial diversity.
Academically, the university is comprised of 3 liberal arts colleges and 5 vocational colleges which span across a range of fields of study. Collectively, over 150 different degrees are offered to the student population. Students also have access to a diverse range of clubs and organisations, in particular those that focus on sports.
The university has been ranked in the top 250 universities of the US based on the Forbes ranking system. Additionally, it is reputed for being one of the universities in the US with the cheapest tuition fee rates.
3. Alcorn State University, Mississippi
- Tuition fees: from $8000
- Link to website
Alcorn State University is a public research university located in the city of Lorman in Mississippi. Founded in 1871 as a historically black university, the university has a rich history and its students have contributed immensely towards the fight for racial equality.
With a student population of over 5000 who come from a diverse range of ethnic backgrounds, it is one of the largest universities in the state and is academically comprised of seven main schools with over 50 different fields of study. Its schools mainly oversee the disciplines of agriculture, arts and science, business, nursing, education and psychology.
Additionally, programs such as the MBA as well as long-distance global programs further provide outreach for international students and have become extremely popular over the years. It further maintains numerous international connections with partner universities across the world, enabling its students to frequently take part in numerous exchange programs in areas in South America and Africa.
The university has also been constantly ranked among the top 300 universities in the United States due to its academic potential.
4. Minot State University, North Dakota
- Tuition fees: from $8500
- Link to website
Based in the tiny but iconic city of Minot, the Minot State University is a public research institution that was founded in 1913. This cheap university in the US is the third largest institution of higher education in the State comprised of over 4500 undergraduates.
Minot State currently offers a range of degrees numbering nearly 60 for both undergraduate and postgraduate students. Its main academic divisions that oversee this include the Colleges of Arts and Science, Business, Education/Health Sciences as well as the graduate school.
Its programs in the field of Business are especially ranked highly and have been accredited as being of high quality. The university proudly boasts of ample facilities for its students and ensures that they have an enriching student life during their period of education.
5. The University of the People
- Tuition fees: Normally free with administration fees
- Link to website
Iconically one of the most recent additions to the higher education system of the United States, the University of the People is a private ‘distance’ institution of higher education that was founded in 2009. With its base in 2009, the university has become a convenient institute that offers long-distance education for a student population that is increasing beyond 25,000.
It is currently one of the most prestigious distance learning facilities in the country and has numerous partnerships and collaborations with renowned universities in the country such as Yale University. With its online education option, the university charges almost no tuition fees for the majority of its course but includes minor administration fees with the additional availability of scholarships and financial bursaries.
The institution offers a range of academic opportunities for prospective students. Examples of degrees range from Business Administration and Computer Science to Health Sciences and Education. Despite its online system, the university constantly strives to provide optimal support for all of its students.
6. California State University, Los Angeles
- Tuition fees: from $17,000
- Link to website
Commonly known as Cal State LA, this iconic university is based in the popular city of Los Angeles. Founded in 1947, the university is an original member of the California State University Network and currently has a student population of over 26,000 in total. Cal State LA is comprised of 8 major academic schools of study that are divided into over 50 academic departments. Collectively, these departments offer well over 260 different degrees that include Bachelors, Masters and doctoral programs.
Additionally, this cheap university in USa for international students is also one of the only institutions of higher education in the country that has an early entrance program for gifted students.
With its location in the heart of Los Angeles, the university provides its students with outstanding exposure to the thriving nature of this supercity, together with countless opportunities for their extra-curricular as well as academic life. The university further has constant exposure to the technological and economical hubs of the city and thus give students easy access to opportunities that would facilitate their future employment and careers.
Facilities are numerous so as to ensure students receive an optimal learning experience during their studies here at Cal State LA.
7. University of Louisiana, Lafayette
- Tuition fees: from $23,000
- Link to website
Based in the historic city of Lafayette, the University of Louisiana is a public research university that was established in 1898. With a student population of over 20,000, the university is the largest by enrolment in the region. Approximately 5% of the student population consist of international students who come to study from outside of the United States.
Initially, the university was established with the goal of providing industrial education for its students and its predominant focus to this day focuses on engineering, industrial design, computer science and architecture, although a diverse range of other programs are also offered to the students.
Collectively, the university offers around 80 undergraduate programs, 30 Masters programs and 10 doctoral degree programs. With its outstanding academic prowess, the university has been consistently ranked among the top 1000 universities in the world as well as the top 300-500 universities in the United States.
8. University of Texas, El Paso
- Tuition fees: from $21,000
- Link to website
The last university in our list of cheapest universities for international students is The University of Texas, El Paso. This is a public research institution that is a member of the University of Texas system. It is also a leading member with a student enrolment of over 26,000 in total.
With its intense research profile, the university is committed to providing optimal contribution to Texas’ research and has been classified as an institution of high research activity. Academically, the university is subdivided into 8 major colleges and schools.
Collectively, the UTEP offers around 75 undergraduate degrees, 75 masters degrees and around 20 different doctoral degrees to its students. Its academic and research potential have placed the university in the top ranks, namely as one of the top 150 universities in the United States as well as the top 1000 universities in the world.
Additionally, the university’s unique Asian (Dzong)-style architecture coupled with its unique and beautiful location on the hillsides overlooking the Rio Grande river make it a stunning location for students to study at.
I hope that this article on cheap universities for international students was informative. If you are interested, visit the Cheap Tuition Category!