The 10 Cheapest U.S. Universities for International Schools (2022 Updated)

A friend of mine was studying abroad in the United States and was always complaining about how expensive everything was. One day, he went to Walmart to buy some groceries and came out shocked at how much cheaper everything was compared to back home. He immediately called me up and said, “You’ve got to come over here and check this place out! It’s amazing!”

I decided to do a little research on the matter, and it turns out that there are a number of universities in the United States that are actually quite affordable for international students. In fact, some of them are even cheaper than universities in other countries! Here is a list of the top five cheapest universities in the USA

There is a certain charm about studying abroad, especially if you get to study in the United States of America. The land of opportunity has so much to offer students from all over the world, and it is no wonder that many international students choose to pursue their studies in the USA.

In this article, you are going to discover which U.S. universities are affordable for international students.

How Can These Universities be so Cheap?

The U.S. charges higher fees for out-of-state residents. This is done so that the state can keep its best and brightest students within its borders.

However, to encourage international students to study in their universities, some states offer a waiver of this out-of-state fee.

In addition, many U.S. universities have partnerships with foreign governments and organizations that help subsidize the cost of tuition for international students. These subsidies can come in the form of scholarships, grants, or other forms of financial aid.

Another thing to consider is the universities’ location. Some states have a lower cost of living than others, and this can make a big difference in the overall cost of attendance. Usually, these are smaller universities located in the countryside.

For example, tuition at a private university in California will be more expensive than at a public university in Mississippi because the cost of living is higher in California.

The 10 Cheapest U.S. Universities for International Students

Before getting into the list, we must first remember that just because these universities are cheap, it doesn’t mean they’re bad. They might not be as prestigious as their Ivy League counterparts, but they still offer a top-notch education.

Now that you know how these universities can be so cheap, let’s take a look at the list of the top five cheapest colleges in the United States for international students.

Keep in mind that tuition fees are just one part of the equation. The cost of living, scholarships and other financial aid will also play a role in how much it will cost you to attend one of these universities.

Now without further ado, here are the X cheapest U.S. colleges for international students.

1. New Mexico Highlands University,  New Mexico

This public university is located in the city of Las Vegas, New Mexico. It was founded in 1893 and has an enrollment of about 3,700 students.

This is easily one of the cheapest universities for international students. A year’s tuition will cost you around $10,998, way below the average of this list, where most universities will charge around $20,000 per year.

And, still, you’re getting a great education. This university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and offers over 50 undergraduate and graduate programs in fields such as:

  • Counseling
  • Business
  • Education
  • Nursing
  • Social work

And many others.

Housing will cost you around $4000 per year, food about $3000, and other expenses like books, transportation, etc. will set you back an additional $2000. So, all in all, you’re looking at a grand total of around $18000 per year to attend this university.

So, if you’re looking for a cheap university in the United States, New Mexico Highlands University should definitely be near the top of your list.

2. University of Maine,  Maine

This public university is located in the city of Orono, Maine. It was founded in 1865 and has an enrollment of about 11,000 students.

The University of Maine is another great option for international students looking for a cheap university. A year’s tuition will cost you around $12,780, which is again well below the average of this list.

This university is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education and offers over 100 undergraduate and graduate programs in fields such as:

Housing will cost you around $4500 per year, food about $3500, and other expenses like books, transportation, etc. will set you back an additional $2000. So, all in all, you’re looking at a grand total of around $22,500 per year to attend this university.

The University of Maine is a great choice for international students who want to study in the United States on a budget.

3. Arkansas State University, Jonesboro

This public university is one of the most affordable options for international students, with tuition and fees totaling to about $21,666 per year.

At Astate you can enroll in  any of their over 150 degree programs. The most popular majors among international students are business, management, and marketing. That’s not surprising, considering how valuable international experience is in those fields.

The university is located in Jonesboro, Arkansas, which has a low cost of living. In fact, Forbes ranks it as the third-most affordable place to live in the United States.

International students make up about 11% of the student body, and the university has a strong international program that helps students with the transition to life in the United States.

4. Florida Polytechnic University, Lakeland

This public university is one of the newest in the United States, having only been founded in 2012.

The university is located in Lakeland, Florida, which has a moderate cost of

Florida Polytechnic University costs approximately $USD 21,611 for international students to attend. Considering that more than 2/3rds of that are fees, it’s a bit annoying. But it’s still among the cheapest schools for international students in the United States.

The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology).

It offers undergraduate and graduate programs in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) disciplines. In fact, its mission is clearly stated as:

The mission of Florida Polytechnic University is to prepare 21st century learners in advanced fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to become innovative problem-solvers and high-tech professionals through interdisciplinary teaching, leading-edge research and collaborative local, regional and global partnerships

So, if you want to enroll in a top-quality engineering or scientific major,  Florida Polytechnic University is a great and affordable (for our standards) option.

The university has a strong focus on research, and it’s known for its cutting-edge facilities. It’s home to about 1300 students, of which 48 are international, making them 3.4% of the student body.

5. Alcorn State University, Lorman

Alcorn State University is located in Lorman, Mississippi. It is accredited by  the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

The university offers over 40 undergraduate and graduate programs, with business administration being the most popular among international students.

Alcorn State University has a strong commitment to diversity, and international students make up about 15% of the student body. The university offers many resources to help these students adjust to which has a low cost of living. The town is home to about two thousand people and is located about an hour from Jackson, the state capital.

The university offers over 40 undergraduate and graduate programs, with business administration being the most popular among international students. But it offers other interesting courses such as:

  • Military science
  • Education and psychology
  • Mathematics and Computer science
  • Advanced technologies
  • Agriculture

This public university has a tuition of only $18,599 per year, making it one of the most affordable options for international students.

Alcorn State University enrolls about 2,700 students. Quality-wise, it consistently ranks among the cheapest but also the best colleges in the country, especially in Nursing.

This public university has a tuition of only $18,599 per year, making it one of the most affordable options for international students.

6. Minnesota State University, Moorhead

MSUM offers over 60 undergraduate majors and 15 graduate programs. The most popular majors among international students are business, education, and engineering. Again, not surprising considering the global nature of those fields.

MSUM is located in Moorhead, Minnesota, which has a low cost of living. In fact, it’s so affordable that Kiplinger ranks it as one of the top ten most affordable places to live in the United States.

The university has a strong international program that helps students with the transition to life in the United States. International students make up about 11% of the student body.

Expect to pay around $26,035 yearly as an MSUM international student. This includes housing and meals.

7. South Dakota State University, South Dakota

At SDSU you can enroll in any of their over 180 undergraduate degree programs. Aside from the usual suspects like accounting, marketing, and business, the university offers a lot of programs in the field of agronomy and agriculture.

The university is located in Brookings, South Dakota, which is cheaper than the average U.S. state. So you won’t spend as much on living expenses as you would if you were attending school in a more expensive state.

This public university is one of the most affordable options for international students, with tuition and fees totaling to about $21,666 per year.

8. Monroe College, New York

Monroe College is a for-profit institution located in the Bronx borough of New York City. It was founded in 1933 and has an enrollment of about 5700 students. The school offers Associate’s, Bachelor’s, and Master’s degrees in a variety of subjects, such as:

  • Accounting
  • Business
  • Sports management
  • Computer information systems
  • Computer networks and cybersecurity
  • Criminal justice

And many more.

International students at Monroe College pay about $15,600 per year in tuition fees. Add housing to that, and you’re looking to pay around $25,000 per year.

While this sounds high, it’s actually quite cheap when you compare it to other colleges in New York City. In addition, the cost of living in the Bronx is lower than in Manhattan, so this will help offset some of the expenses.

The school also offers a number of scholarships and grants to help offset the cost of attendance.

9. Chadron State University,  Nebraska

This public university is located in the small town of Chadron, Nebraska. The school has an enrollment of about 1900 students.

Chadron offers hundreds of courses in all sorts of disciplines, from the classics like Law, Accounting, and Business, to more niche topics like Water Resource Management. Here are some of the more unique degrees you can get:

Bachelor of Science with a Comprehensive Major in Physical Sciences Geoscience Option

  • Bachelor of Science in Education with a Subject Endorsement in Earth and Space
  • Science Bachelor of Science in Education with a Field Endorsement in Science (7-12)
  • Earth and Space Science Concentration Bachelor of Science in Education with a
  • Middle Grades Content Area of Specialization in Sciences (Grades 4-9)
  • Minor in Geoscience
  • Minor in Water Resources Management

Costs-wise, expect to pay around $22,248.00 for a year at Chadron State as an international student.

10. Peru State College, Nebraska

This university was founded in 1867 and is the oldest college in Nebraska. Peru State College is located in the town of Peru, which has a population of about 850 people.

The school offers over 50 undergraduate majors, with popular programs being Business Administration, Education, and Nursing. But you can also enroll in programs in Mathematics, Marketing, and Wildlife Ecology. The variety is quite impressive for such a small school.

International students at PSC pay $21,494 per year in tuition fees. This makes PSU’s costs in line with other colleges on this list.

What sets this school apart is its long tradition of excellence in education. The school has a strong commitment to teaching and research, and this is reflected in its student body, which is made up of people from all over the world. The school hosts around 1,900 students.

If you’re looking for a relatively cheap university in the USA that has a lot to offer, then Peru State College is a great option.

Why Study in the U.S.?

There are many reasons why international students choose to study in the United States. The most common reason is that U.S. universities offer a world-class education.

In addition, the United States offers a variety of degree programs that are not available in other countries. And, if you want to study a specific field, such as business or engineering, the United States is often the best place to do it.

Another reason why international students choose to study in the United States is because of the opportunity to gain work experience. Many U.S. universities offer internship and co-op programs that allow students to work in their field of interest while they are still in school. This can be a great way to get your foot in the door and make valuable contacts in your field.

And last, employers will love your international experience! Studying abroad looks great on a resume and can give you an edge over other job applicants. It shows grit and determination, 2 highly desirable traits among employers.

So, if you are an international student looking for a world-class education at an affordable price, consider one of the universities in the next section.

Editor’s note: While the costs are high, it is absolutely worth it. You’ll easily become the most valuable among your countrymen with local degrees. And you’ll also be first in line for promotions and other perks. Education is expensive, but it’s an investment for life.

Conclusions

There are a number of colleges and universities in the USA that offer great value for money. If you’re an international student on a budget, then these schools are definitely worth considering.

But don’t expect to ever spend less than $20,000 for a full year of schooling. And remember, the cost of living in the USA is quite high as a result of how wealthy the country is, so you’ll need to factor that into your budget as well.

But overall, studying in the USA is a great experience, and these schools offer a great education at a reasonable price. So if you’re looking to study abroad, then be sure to check out these universities.

It’s up to you to decide whether the cost of attending a U.S. university is going to be worth it. But if you’re looking for a great education at a reasonable price, then these schools are definitely worth considering. So don’t let the cost of tuition deter you from studying in the USA.

It’s an investment that will pay off in the long run. You’ll become highly sought by employers because of your degree.

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