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America’s Cheapest Universities for International Students

Updated: January 5, 2024 | Published: January 22, 2018

Updated: January 5, 2024

Published: January 22, 2018

Cheap Universities in USA for International Students copy

Why Study in America?

There are many advantages to studying in the United States and it would be difficult to list them all. Here are a few of the more significant ones.

Gain English Proficiency 

The best way to learn a language is immersion. Immersion takes you beyond the proficiency required for admission.  English as a foreign language students discover that by studying in the U.S. they quickly improve their language skills and become fluent speakers. 

Explore Various Cultural Perspectives 

American college students have the opportunity to be exposed to just about every nationality, ethnicity, and religious background. Campuses are a rich environment of diversity where students can learn about other cultures and share their own. 

Large International Student Body 

Not only are global cultures represented at the cheapest colleges in the U.S., but students, staff, and faculty come from around the world to participate in academia. A large international student body is an opportunity to network, spend time with people from your own culture while you’re far from home, and broaden your horizons.

Great Career Prospects

A degree from an American college or University tells an employer that you received a high-quality education.  Schools in the United States are consistently leaders in the arts, research, and development and many offer employment and internship opportunities that can’t be found anywhere else. 

Endless Academic Opportunities

Whether you’re at the cheapest university for internal students in the USA or the most expensive, you’ll have a wealth of academic opportunities. In addition to the rigorous academic standards, students can choose from a myriad of courses and aren’t required to declare a major until the end of their second year. And some of the best research and development programs in the world are at American schools, giving students opportunities not found anywhere else. 

Source: Pexels

Things to Know Before Applying

Now that you’re almost ready to take the plunge and start the admissions process, there are a few things that need to be understood. This will help you to streamline your decisions.

Private vs. Public Institution

When researching the cheapest universities in the U.S., you’ll likely discover that there are significant differences in areas such as tuition, housing, and acceptance rates. This has to do with whether the school is private or public. 

Public colleges and universities are primarily funded by the government, while private schools rely heavily on student tuition and private endowments. 

Tuition Costs 

Because private colleges aren’t relying on government funding and instead look to student tuition and endowments, it will be challenging to find one that is considered to be the cheapest university for international students in the USA. 

The fact is that tuition at public schools is significantly less expensive than at private ones. The average cost for public school tuition is $25,290 (in State) and $40,940 (out of State). Private school tuition will cost $50,900.

Additional Costs

American students have the choice of attending in-State schools where they not only get a tuition break but may be able to live at home while attending college. Unless they have family nearby, international students also have other costs including housing, groceries, medical, supplies, tech, and transportation. 

The average cost for room and board at a public university is $10,800 and $12,200 at a private one. While living on campus is a good financial decision, it’s important to understand that the cost of living varies from state to state. You will find, for example, that the cost of things like groceries, supplies, or transportation in Mississippi is significantly cheaper than in California

Cheapest Colleges in the US 

We’ve covered a lot of information so far on the journey to find the cheapest university for international students in the USA, so let’s now take a look at some of the cheapest colleges in the U.S. that offer a great education.

1. University of the People

University of the People has revolutionized college education. This accredited, fully online university has lowered traditional barriers by being tuition-free and lowering admission standards by accepting any student who has a high school diploma and proof of English language proficiency. 

  • Tuition: $0 (there are assessment fees to be paid at the end of each course
  • Scholarships: Available.
  • Degrees: UoPeople’s global community of students pursue certificates, associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in areas such as business administration, computer science, health science, and education. 

2. The City University of New York

The City University of New York, also known as CUNY, is the largest urban college system in the U.S. It has one of the most diverse student bodies in the country and offers degree programs in 25 colleges located across NYC’s five boroughs.

  • Tuition: $18,600 annually
  • Scholarships: Available 
  • Degrees: CUNY offers more than 1,750 programs in fields such as accounting, science, business management, education, film, IT, nursing, and social work.

3. South Texas College

South Texas is a public community college with six campuses in the Rio Grande Valley of south Texas. It will recognize its 30th year as an institution in 1993. More than half of its student body are the first in their families to attend college. 

  • Tuition: $7,500 
  • Scholarships: Available
  • Degrees: South Texas College offers a variety of programs for those students interested in pursuing certificates, associate’s, or bachelor’s degrees. Fields of study include business, health science, engineering, performing arts, and IT.

4. Northern State University

Northern State University, located in Aberdeen North Dakota, is a small public university on a picturesque 66-acre campus. Its programs are offered in 4 schools and students and faculty have been recognized globally for their research.

  • Tuition: $10,717
  • Scholarships: Available
  • Degrees: Certificates, associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s programs in areas such as accounting, banking, justice, science, education, and digital media are offered.

5. California State University 

California State University is a 23-school public college system. Its diverse student body enjoys unique opportunities and CSU is recognized as a Hispanic-serving institution. It has been ranked among the most affordable university systems in the country. 

  • Tuition: $5,742
  • Scholarships: Available
  • Degrees: CSU offers certificate, undergraduate, and degree programs across a myriad of fields. These include Aerospace engineering, agriculture, education, medicine, STEM, and film. 

6. Manhattanville College

Manhattanville College is a small, private college located in Lower Manhattan, NY. The student body is quite diverse with people from more than 45 countries. Reid Hall, which is the college’s administration building, is a well-known piece of architecture on the 100-acre campus. 

  • Tuition: $19,830
  • Scholarships: Available
  • Degrees: Manhattanville students enjoy a small faculty-to-student ratio. In addition to advanced certificates, the college offers degree programs in areas such as education, science, and art. Computer science, and human resources. 

7. Oklahoma Panhandle State University

Oklahoma Panhandle State University is a public college in Goodwell, Oklahoma. It first began as an agricultural university and then expanded to include teacher training. Today, it’s organized into 3 colleges that offer associate’s and bachelor’s degrees.

  • Tuition: $8,254
  • Scholarships: Available
  • Degrees: Program offerings include agriculture, nursing, science, communication, music, social science, IT, and business administration.

8. Texas A&M University

Texas A&M is a public, land grants university founded in 1876 and is the flagship of the Texas A&M University system. It has a sprawling campus with the largest student body in the United States. 

  • Tuition: $40,896
  • Scholarships: Available
  • Degrees: While Texas A&M is well known for its agricultural programs it also offers degrees in fields such as oceanography, psychology, business, dentistry, engineering, government, law, and medicine. 

9. Alcorn State University 

Alcorn is a historically black public land grant university that was started in 1871. Located near Lorman, Mississippi, this school has been recognized for excellence in agricultural research, liberal arts, technology, music, and nursing. 

  • Tuition: $7,868
  • Scholarships: Available
  • Degrees: Alcorn offers several notable programs in agricultural sciences as well as liberal arts, military technologies, and nursing. 

10. Minot State University 

Minot State University is the third largest university in North Dakota. It’s a public school with a very small faculty-to-student ratio of 11:1. The student body is very diverse and the school strives to offer affordable education. 

  • Tuition: $8,500 
  • Scholarships: Available
  • Degrees: MSU offers several programs. Students have the option of majoring or minoring in areas such as criminal justice, deaf/hard of hearing education, corporate fitness, and wellness management, human services, and music. They also offer programs like pre-law, pre-med, and pre-seminary.

Source: Pexels

Final Thoughts

It’s not impossible to find the cheapest universities in the US and pursue your dream of a college education! Many schools understand how foreign scholars enrich the educational experience for the entire student body and as a result, they have found ways to make getting a degree affordable. 

It takes a little time and research to find the cheapest university for international students in the USA but your diligent work will indeed pay off when you receive that acceptance letter! Educational dreams do come true, and there’s no time like the present to start that journey. To learn more about the student experience at University of the People, check out this resource.