Best Cheapest Universities in the U.S. for International Students

Those who want to study a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in the U.S. have probably observed that the tuition fees are often more expensive compared to other popular countries which international students prefer.

While this is true, it shouldn’t hide the fact that there are actually affordable universities and colleges in the U.S.. These academic institutions manage to find the balance between costs and quality and provide great value for money.

Based on data from the U.S. News, these are the most affordable American universities and colleges for international students:

  • Henderson State University
  • Bemidji State University
  • Delta State University
  • Southwest Minnesota State University
  • Mississippi University for Women
  • Minnesota State University-Moorhead
  • Bridgewater State University
  • Nicholls State University
  • Eastern New Mexico University
  • Brigham Young University-Provo


View the full list of the most affordable U.S. universities for international students.

Here are other affordable American universities we recommend:

  • Pace University
  • Liberty University
  • West Texas A&M University
  • South Dakota State University
  • Kansas State University

How international students get the best value living in the U.S.

You may notice while looking at the list of universities that they are not in huge cities, nor are they among the big, prestigious, high-flying, Ivy League universities.

As USA Today reports, “These colleges may not be as big or as diverse as those on the east and west coasts, but many students enjoy the slower pace and the welcoming community they find. Because the schools are located in places in the country with a lower cost-of-living, the education experience tends to be much more affordable.”

Colleges tend to be a lot cheaper in smaller communities because students find themselves immersed in an area full of other students and there is not only an easier adjustment period.

Listed below are some things that ensure your university experience is affordable:

  • Student dorms offer all-inclusive facilities for students, eliminating any need to pay for expensive rent and utilities
  • College towns tend to be smaller, student-oriented places that allow you to get around easily by bicycle
  • Students can often expect discounts at local restaurants and cafes, just for being a student!
  • International students tend to have the highest tuition requirements, but many also have access to scholarships for studying in the U.S.
  • If you’re someone who is bilingual, you may take advantage of the number of students who are seeking language tutors. Why not make some money with your language skills?

Honorable Mentions

Rutgers University — New Brunswick, NJ

  • Tuition and Fees — $31,785
  • University Type — Public
  • U.S. News’ “Best National Universities” (Top 70)


University of Minnesota — Twin Cities — Minneapolis, MN

  • Tuition and Fees — $33,325
  • University Type — Public
  • U.S. News’ “Best National Universities” (Top 70)


Howard University — Washington, DC

  • Tuition and Fees — $28,440
  • University Type — Private
  • U.S. News’ “Best National Universities” (Top 80)


Soka University of America — Aliso Viejo, CA

  • Tuition and Fees — $33,962
  • University Type — Private
  • U.S. News’ “National Liberal Arts Colleges” (Top 30)


Thomas Aquinas College — Santa Paula, CA

  • Tuition and Fees — $26,000
  • University Type — Private
  • U.S. News’ “National Liberal Arts Colleges” (Top 40)

Bonus! 10 U.S. Colleges Awarding the Most Financial Aid to International Students

There are some universities that will provide a significant amount of financial aid to international students. There are often two different types of financial aid available to international students:

  • Need-Based Financial Aid — Many U.S. colleges offer financial aid for international students based on their financial need. Keep in mind most financial aid for international students is offered to graduate students.
  • Scholarships — Many schools and other educational organizations offer merit-based scholarships for international students. Usually the scholarship application is separate from the admission application.

Below are some of the American universities that award the most financial aid to international students in 2019-2020 school year.

University Location Number of International Students Who Received Financial Aid in the 2019-2020 School Year Average Amount of Financial Aid Per Student Annual Cost of Tuition and Fees 
Columbia University New York, NY 299 $71,069 $64,380
Skidmore College Saratoga Springs, NY 96 $70,069 $58,128
Amherst College Amherst, MA 133 $70,250 $60,890
Dartmouth College Hanover, NH 261 $68,998 $59,458
Williams College Williamstown, MA 108 $68,456 $50,760
Duke University  Durham, NC 211 $68,044 $60,488
Stanford University Stanford, CA 245 $68,000 $56,169
Wesleyan University Middletown, CT 95 $67,465 $59,386
Swarthmore College Swarthmore, PA 67 $67,165 $54,656
Harvard University Cambridge, MA 605 $66,805 $54,022

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