Though the best things in life are free, a college education – especially for international students – is not. Students from abroad are not only are typically required to pay out-of-state tuition rates and fees even at public universities, but also are subject to a variety of additional costs for international students that their domestic classmates need not worry about. Such costs vary by state, school, and even program but can affect a student’s bottom line and are therefore worth considering when it putting together a budget.

Airfare represents one of the most obvious, if seldom mentioned, additional costs for international students. While domestic students, by their very nature, live in the US, the cost of airfare adds a significant financial burden to international students on their way to study at US colleges and universities. The cost of gas may be rising but few in-state students need to worry about the cost of jet fuel! Similarly, student visa fees – the F-1 visa application alone costs $100 – add to the cost of arriving in the US.

In addition to these the logistical and legal hurdles, however, there are still additional costs for international students must consider. An ever-increasing number colleges and universities are charging international student fees to their international cohort. Though these fees – which can range from as little as $50 to as much as $500 per semester – are often used to provide special services (both academic and social) for international students, they add to the cost of a US education. International student insurance – which many schools mandate for their international students – is another cost that is in the best interest of international students but nevertheless adds to their bottom line. Finally, on top of these generic fees borne by all international students, students from non-English speaking nations may also be called upon to prove their English proficiency by sitting for an exam like the TOEFL which itself costs $180 but preparation for which can be still higher.

It all adds up but don’t worry! In the end, even if the cost of higher education in the US is pricey it is important to remember that a quality education is priceless.

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