Typical living expenses during Undergrad (Bachelors)Student in USA

In Student Life by KumarUpdated : 5 Comments

You may have read the recent article MS/MBA Cost of Living in USA – $250 or $950? Why difference ? by me corresponding to off campus living of Graduate student. In this article, check out the expenses from an Undergraduate’s perspective written by our guest author a recent Bachelors graduate.

Article by Guest Author

Below are just the basics…These expenses will vary greatly depending on your spending habits and the number of roommates you have, but here’s a rough idea of what is possible.


Estimated Cost

TuitionThis will vary greatly depending on whether you are paying in-state vs out-of-state, are receiving scholarship, and or another form of financial aid.

$5000 – $15000 / semester

RentOn Campus: This will generally be charged to your student account along with your tuition, but will vary by school as well.

$3000-$5000 / semester

Off Campus: This will vary by how many roommates you have, and the size of the city.  In a smaller city, the rents will be lower, maybe$500 – $700 / month for a 1-2 bedroom apartment.  In larger cities, it will be more.

UtilitiesThese will vary by location and some may be included with rent.

Electricity, Heat (this can vary greatly throughout the year, especially in colder climates – it is advised that you try to have this included in rent when living in a colder climate), Water, Cable/Internet, etc.

PhoneMost students don’t use landline phones anymore, so most just have a cell phone.  Cell phone costs vary depending on plan and carrier, but I would budget about $50 / month.
FoodIf you are living on campus, you will probably be required to have a meal plan, so you are covered, but you may want to order a pizza or Chinese at some point (approx. $15 for each order).

If you are living off campus, you may or may not be eligible for a meal plan, but I would definitely suggest that you cook for yourself.  You may split the grocery bill and cooking responsibilities with roommates.  I would plan on $100 / month for food (not including ordering in).  Of course, this varies by the quantity of food you will consume and your tastes/food preferences.

TravelThis will also vary greatly.  Around town, most local bus systems are free (or at least reduced-fare) for students with a campus ID.

***If you decide to have a car as an undergraduate, you will have the added cost of up-keep, gas, registration, and insurance.

About Guest Author :Kristal recently graduated from a State University in US with B.A and B.S in Economics, Mathematics, and Spanish Majors. She is going to attend a reputed University for PhD in Economics in fall 2010 with full funding. She will share her undergraduate experiences and PhD admission tips with our readers.

Image Credit : http://mortgagesandloans.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/Cost-of-Living.jpg


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Comments ( 5 )

  1. ifteras

    My kids are studying in india in ninth standard in Igcsc curriculum? My question to you is-Is curriculum important if my kids want to graduate in engineering from us university?
    I will highly appreciate if you shed some light on this issue.

  2. pranav

    Hopefully i would be going to the US in Fall 2012 for my Bachelor in engineering..
    I wish to know if a university could offer both Scholarships/financial aid & campus job. I am vying affordable universities like 1)Univ of Houston 2) Mississippi State 3)UTA.

  3. [email protected]

    my daughter is going to 2nd year puc ie 12th std in bangalore city,country india.we are suppose to be getting greencard of usa in 2012july brother sponsored.as she has passed well in 1st puc ie in physics,chemistry,&maths getting around 65%,now she is expecting to score around 75%.if she has to do her bachelors in engineering what would be her expenses.myself and my wife are high school passed and B com passed trying to get a job there & the recession will not allow us to have a stable and smooth job.we have been applying we may get both together $45000 per annum,and i have one more daughter who will be studying in 8th by than so i wll not be able to look after my 1st daughters engineering studies since she is an intelligent girl,has a very analaytical mind tommorow she may be the asset to the state.so keep in this view can you sujjest any finnancial assistant for my daughter to persue her career in engineering and oblize.i know there are laks crores to approach like me but treat me as a special case sir.kindly oblige.yhanking you.naveenyalanki

    1. administrator

      Naveen, Unfortunately, I do not know any financial assistant and we typically do not recommend anyone. if you have any specific questions about graduate or undergrad education in US, we can share our thoughts.

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