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Affordable cities in the USA

The ultimate list of 10 cheapest cities in USA for International Students

The United States has some of the top-ranked universities in the world according to the 2020 QS World University Rankings. Although education in the US is expensive yet there are some of the cheapest cities in USA for international students.

The country has a maximum number of international students who choose to pursue a global education.

The promise of a better lifestyle, international experience, cultural exposure, and availability of significant opportunities attracts students each year.

However, the United States is also known as one of the most expensive places to study, with high tuition and cost of living, which is why US cities often score the lowest on the affordability index.

It is a matter of course. Achieving the American dream has these hurdles, but choosing a well-educated and affordable city makes it easier.

There are many cheapest cities in USA for students such as Houston, Baltimore, San Diego, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and so on.

In this article, we count down to reveal the cheapest U.S. university cities in the United States, based on our affordability index similar as affordable cities in Australia and affordable cities in the UK. There are at least two world-renowned universities in every city.

Here is a list of top 10 cheapest cities in USA for international students. considering cost of living and tuition.

 1. San Diego

Average tuition: $15,500 per year

Average cost of living: $1,400 – $2,400/month

With low tuition and an affordable cost of living, San Diego is a budget-friendly city for students. One of the cheapest cities in USA to live in.

You’ll experience a relaxed atmosphere with lots of fun activities and delicious Mexican food. The city also provides quality education to over 70,000 students each year. It also ranks 76th in the World’s Best Student Cities (QS).

Watch majestic sea lions basking in the sun, soak up the sunset along the coast, and enjoy long walks in Balboa Park. These are just a few of the many things you can do for free. Have fun and save money.

Top Universities in San Diego

2. Baltimore

Average tuition: $21,500 per year

The average cost of living: $1,100-$2,000/month

Baltimore is a charming city. The city has more monuments per capita than any other city in the United States, and you can visit them all.

It’s also home to the second busiest port in the country that shouldn’t be missed. The quality of education is ranked highest. Making that claim, it ranks fifth in education and opportunity and is one of the top 10 university cities in the United States (US News and World Reports).

The city also has some of the cheapest universities for international students in 2020.

 Top Universities in Baltimore

  • John Hopkins University
  • University of Maryland
  • Baltimore County
  • University of Baltimore

3. Atlanta

Average tuition: $27,100 per year

The average cost of living: $1,200-2,200/month

Atlanta is one of the cheapest cities in USA, ranking the city 57th on the Best Cities for Students (QS) in the World.

More than 16,000 international students study in Atlanta each year. Job opportunities and industry exposure are high as it is home to many big companies such as Porsche, CNN, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Philips, Coca-Cola, and AT&T Mobility.

There are many activities you can do to blow off steam. You can visit museums, music venues, theaters, and art galleries. You can also get your heart pumping by hiking in the mountains and spending time in nature.

Top Universities in Atlanta

  • Georgia State University
  • Clark Atlanta University
  • Georgia Tech

4. Philadelphia

Average tuition: $29,900 per year

The average cost of living: $800-$1,300/month

Next on the list are college towns. Philadelphia has the second-highest number of colleges in the United States.

The city is ranked 8th in the United States in the ranking of Best Student Cities (QS). Philadelphia is also the first World Heritage City, so you can explore and enjoy its historically significant locations.

Her 12% of the city’s student population is also made up of international students. Another plus is the location of the city. The city is located two hours’ distance from New York City and three hours from Washington DC. This is useful for short weekend getaways, short internships, and projects.

Top Universities in Philadelphia

  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Drexel University
  • Temple university

5. Houston

Average tuition: $29,800 per year 

Average cost of living: $1,000 to $2,000/month

Houston is the fourth largest city in the country and second for the highest number of Fortune 500 companies.

The city is very inclusive and proudly ranks the city as one of the cheapest cities in the US for international students. Of the more than 6 million residents, 1.5 million are foreigners.

The city has many attractions such as museums, water walls in the Galleria area, and the Downtown Aquarium. You can keep a checklist of these places and check them off every weekend.

Houston is also known as Space City due to the location of the NASA Space Center. This makes the city very well suited to studying top courses such as engineering, physics, astrophysics, and mathematics at a high level. 

Top Universities in Houston

  • Houston Baptist University
  • North American University
  • University of Downtown Houston

6. Chicago

Average tuition: $30,800 per year

The average cost of living: $1,300 to $2,500/month

Chicago is Known as the “Gem of the Midwest”. The city has a lot to offer.

The city’s dashing skyline gives you the feel of a big city at a cost below the US national average.

The city is also among the top 10 student cities for overall student experience.

No wonder international students make up 18% of the city’s total population. It is one of the best cities in the US for international students.

If you don’t want to drop cash from your wallet while exploring the city, you can always visit one of the city’s many free attractions, including Lake Michigan, Millennium Park, and the Lincoln Park Zoo. 

Top Universities in Chicago

  • University of Illinois at Chicago
  • University of Chicago
  • Northwest University

7. Miami

Average tuition:$30,800 per year

The average cost of living: $1,500 to $3,000/month

Miami offers a world-class global education along with glitzy vacations and spectacular beaches. The city is one of the 100 best student cities (QS) in the world. In addition to education, we also offer a diverse cultural experience with a strong Hispanic and African American culture.

Miami offers world-class employment opportunities in many industries, including tourism, creative design, banking, finance and IT.

Regardless of your academic field, there are many opportunities for internships and part-time jobs alongside practical training. The year-round tropical climate is a sweet addition.

Top Universities in Miami

  • Florida International University
  • University of Miami
  • Barry College

8. Dallas

Average tuition: $31,700 per year

Average cost of living: $1,000 to $2,000/month

Dallas is the ninth largest city in the United States and a good choice for international students. You can enjoy various gourmet foods in Tokyo.

Dallas has more restaurants per capita than New York City! This means you have a wide variety of delicious food choices in every corner of the city.

DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) in the city makes getting to these restaurants and other meeting points easy and cheap. With top brands such as 7-Eleven, JCPenney, Frito-Lay, and Texas Instruments home to the city, part-time and post-graduation job opportunities abound.

Top Universities in Dallas

  • University of Texas at Dallas
  • University of Dallas
  • Southern Methodist University

9. Boston

Average tuition: $34,800 per year

The average cost of living: $1,500 to $3,000/month

Boston has over 100 colleges and universities with approximately 250,000 students. 21% of this student population are international students. The city is ranked 12th in the World Student City Ranking Index (QS) for its quality of education and vibrant nature.

The city’s top universities are also generous with student grants and scholarships. Most universities offer full or partial merit-based scholarships to international students. These scholarships can be applied for in the first step of the application process.

It should also be noted that Boston ranks second as the best city in the world for graduate school (QS) recruitment.

Top Universities in Boston

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology(MIT)
  • Harvard University
  • Boston University
  • UMAS Boston

10. Pittsburgh

Average tuition: $37,000 per year

Average cost of living: $1,200-$2,000/month

Pittsburgh offers education through top universities and the opportunity to explore 446 bridges. Compensating high tuition with a low cost of living keeps the city in one of the cheapest cities in the United States.

 Technology, healthcare, robotics, engineering, biomedical, and finance are some of the core areas of education and employment. Many famous brands such as Google, Apple, Bosch, Disney, Uber, and IBM have offices here.

A day’s drive from Pittsburgh will take you to other major cities such as New York, Boston, Washington DC, Chicago, and Toronto, useful for travel and excursions.

Top Universities in Pittsburgh

  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • Carlow University

In the end,

Choosing the right city can make a big difference to your teaching experience abroad.

With the right city, planning and budget, studying in the USA can be great.

Tips to minimize spending:

  • Choose an on-campus meal plan, as many colleges offer complete meals at low prices. 
  • Shop at discount supermarkets like Walmart, Target, Costco and Trader Joe’s. 
  • Most US cities issue student passes with subsidized public transportation fares. Don’t forget to request.
  • Always keep some security deposit on hand for emergencies. 

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