While the cost of college continues to rise for both domestic and international students alike, international students in particular are vulnerable to a host of unexpected costs of college that may not affect their domestic classmates. Aside from obvious – and easily budgeted-for – differences like tuition and international student fees, international students are also likely to face some one-off costs that the average domestic student will not. Here are some examples:
- Mobile Phone: while just about everyone has to pay for service no matter where they are from, phones from abroad may not be compatible with service providers in the US. As a result, international students may need to purchase a compatible phone and the accessories (case, charger, etc.) that go with it.
- Technology: everyone can come to school with their own laptop but few peripheral devices – such as printers, scanners, and the like – are as easy to travel with. If you are going to need one for class, make sure you budget accordingly.
- Health Insurance: while the US does not have universal healthcare, domestic students can stay on their parents insurance until age 26 thanks to the Affordable Care Act. At the same time, visa regulations – and school policies – require that international students maintain adequate health insurance while studying in the US. The costs of such plans vary but should be factored in to any international student’s budget.
- Transportation: if you plan to live on campus you may not need to rush out and buy a car – or even a parking pass – but on large campuses a bicycle to get you from class to class on time may be just as important a tool as a calculator. While domestic students may be able to bring theirs from home, international students will almost certainly have to buy one once they arrive on campus.
So, as you can see, while there are a number of unexpected costs associated with studying in the US it is easy enough to anticipate them. Just make sure you consider these and other costs when taking out an international student loan and you, too, will be well on your way to an exciting adventure abroad!