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cheapest colleges in usa for international students

Last Updated on August 12, 2023 by Oluwajuwon Alvina

The Cheapest U.S. Colleges for International Students

International students often want to know which U.S. colleges and universities charge the lowest tuition. This list of 82 low-cost, four-year U.S. colleges and universities is based on the 2015 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). To be included in this list, the school must satisfy the following criteria:

  • Enroll at least 400 international students as undergraduate students. The average international student enrollment was 1,207.
  • At least five percent of undergraduate enrollment must be international. The average percentage of international students was eight percent.
  • Charge less than $25,000 for out-of-state tuition and fees and less than $40,000 for out-of-state tuition, fees, room, board, books and supplies, based on 2015-2016 published college costs. The average tuition and fees total was $18,010 and the average of the full college costs was $32,604.

Of the 82 colleges, 73 were public colleges, eight were non-profit and one was for-profit. The most popular states were New York, California and Texas.

Although these colleges charge low tuition, there are some colleges that charge higher tuition but also provide generous financial aid to international students. Many of the two-dozen colleges that provide need-blind admission to international students also meet the full demonstrated financial need of these students, making them just as affordable as the low-cost colleges.

Least Expensive U.S. Schools for International Students

The name of each school is linked to their admissions office website. Look for a link labeled “International Students” or “International Admissions” on these webpages for information and forms for international students.

Here They Are: 7 of the Most Affordable Colleges in the United States for International Students

Let’s get you started on the path to reaching your educational goals!

1. The City University of New York 

The City University of New York – also known as CUNY – is a public university system in New York City that includes 26  individual institutions, where students can learn from award-winning faculty. Among those intuitions are Baruch College, Hunter College, Brooklyn College, , City College of New York, and more.

Committed to providing accessible, high-quality education to New Yorkers of all stripes since 1847, CUNY offers affordable tuition rates to all students.

Among its current initiatives are programs for adult students, Latino faculty growth, and innovative workforce training.

Annual tuition for international students: $17,400

Percentage of international students: Unknown
Read moreHere

2. University of the People 

University of the People is the world’s first non-profit, tuition-free, accredited online university. With a groundbreaking online learning model and instructors from the world’s foremost academic institutions, UoPeople offers the opportunity of a high-quality, accessible, affordable American degree programs.The university offers associate and bachelor’s degree programs in business administration, computer science, and health scienceas well as master’s degree programsin business administration and education. Classes are taught by globally leading faculty from NYU and UC Berkeley.

Annual tuition for international students: University of the People is tuition-free, which means there is no charge for teaching or instruction. To help support the university’s continued operation, UoPeople Assessment Fee per course completed.
The estimated total fees for the associate degree are as followed: $2,060

The estimated total fees for the bachelor’s degree are as followed: $4,060

Percentage of international students: 54%

3. California State University, Long Beach

Established in 1949, California State University, Long Beach – also known as Long Beach State, or “The Beach” – is the third largest campus of the California State University system, which has 23 branches across the US’ most populous state.

With a campus located only 3 miles (5 kilometers) from the Pacific Ocean and a 40 minute drive from Hollywood, students enjoy a variety of science-focused programs (chemistry, astronomy and environmental science, among others) and art programs (theater, film, design, dance and music), alongside degree options in liberal arts, education, business administration, health and human services, engineering and mathematics.

Annual tuition for international students: $8,151

Percentage of international students: 7.5%

 

4. Alcorn State University in Mississippi

Alcorn University was founded in 1871 in Claiborne County, Mississippi, with a goal to provide education to descendants of previously enslaved African Americans. Today, it offers more than 50 degree programs to over 4,000 students with diverse ethnic backgrounds.

The university also collaborates with educational institutions from around the globe. Among others, it lets students spend a semester in South America or Africa, participate in videoconferencing sessions with organizations from around the world, and take action to improve the lives of people living in developing countries.

Students and graduates are called Alcornites. According to the university’s website, if you’re an Alcornite, you’re “an individual with both the knowledge and the character to achieve your dreams… for your career, for your family, for your community.”

Annual tuition for international students: $6,888

Percentage of international students: 2.8%

 

5. Minot State University in North Dakota

Founded in 1913 in Minot, North Dakota, Minot State University ensures a student-teacher ratio of 14:1, making it the place to go if you want to enjoy the small town feeling where everybody, including faculty staff, knows your name – in a big town university campus.

At Minot State University, you can choose from 60 undergraduate programs – as diverse as information systems, science, social work, education, finance and criminal justice.

Annual tuition for international students: $6,809

Percentage of international students: 12%

6. South Texas College

Established in 1993, South Texas College offers both undergraduate degree and certificate programs. It is credited for transforming life paths and communities in the Hidalgo and Starr counties, as 67% of its students are the first in their families to attend a university.

Committed to creating social and economical mobility in these communities, South Texas College maintains a 22:1 student-teacher ratio, creates cross-disciplinary learning experiences and promotes cost efficiency in higher education.

Annual tuition for international students: $4,200

Percentage of international students: Less than 1%

 

7. Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Artin New York

Established in 1859, Cooper Union is known as one of the hardest universities to get into, as its programs in architecture, fine arts, and especially engineering, are highly celebrated.

At the same time, though, Cooper Union is committed to equal opportunities, and practices “need-blind admission”—meaning the team considering an applicant’s merits has no idea of their financial status as they decide whether or not to admit them.

Until the fall of 2014, every student accepted into Cooper Union received a full scholarship covering the annual $43,250 tuition. Though this is no longer the policy, every student still gets a 50% scholarship. International students need to pay an additional $1,005 per semester, but it’s still one more of the more affordable institutes of higher learning in the United States.

Annual tuition for international students: $22,635

Percentage of international students: 17.5%

How to Choose the Most Affordable US University That’s Best for You

With so many universities in the US, deciding which one to choose is not easy.

Once you’ve narrowed your list to universities you can afford, remember to take additional expenses into account – living expenses, commute expenses, course materials, and more. If the cost becomes too high, you can consider studying at a more affordable American online university.

Thoroughly explore the programs and the career opportunities that interest you and don’t be afraid to reach out to graduates of various programs(you can find them on LinkedIn, for example).

Remember, networking in your dream industry is not just for graduates.

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