No matter how you look at it, college in the US is certainly no cheap endeavour. Although a US college experience is extremely valuable, tuition, loans, and subsequent expenses put many learners in the financial red for a while. Is this the same for international students? Foreign student enrollment in the US has grown from 35,000 in the 1950’s to an outstanding 1.05 million students today. The US Department of Commerce reported that these students contributed around $30.5 billion to the US economy in 2015. With this huge influx of students and money, how do expenses compare for our international friends?
On average, international student tuition is approximately equivalent to out-of-state tuition, which College Board estimates to be around $33,000 per year for four-year public institutions and $43,000 for private institutions (these numbers excluding room and board which can be another $10,000 per year). However, this number does not take into account additional surcharges that many universities impose on international students, such as the University of Illinois’s $2,500 fee for undergraduate international students in the engineering school. Further indirect charges that only apply to international students include things like TOEFL tests, ESL classes, health insurance plans, and pricey plane tickets.
Things like room and board, application fees, and transportation costs are particularly good at ringing up a fat bill. For international students, these subsequent costs often end up being much more expensive than for domestic students.
Dean of Admissions of the University of Washington offers an interesting recently took an interesting stance on the matter in the New York Times. He believes that high Chinese international student tuitions can be thought of as “a way of getting some of that money back” from the United State's heavy economic reliance on China. The university reported that a whopping 18 percent of incoming freshman in 2012 were international students. They also stated that the university’s tuition income from international students is being used to offset deductions in tuition for in-state students after hefty a state funding cut.
Although more and more international students are choosing to come to the US to study, they are certainly paying a shinny penny to do so. With many universities declaring the importance of a large international student presence, we can expect to see these enrollment numbers, and possibly also price tags, continue to rise.