10 Most Affordable USA Colleges for International Students

Most Affordable USA Colleges for International Students - featured image

Reviewed by: Melissa Anderson, MS.Ed. | Reading level: Grade 10 | First covered: December 2023

As the world recovers from the pandemic, the number of international students enrolled in US campuses has started to soar again. Still, tuition in the United States can be more expensive than in other nations. Thus, international students may need significant funds to study in the country.

Most Affordable USA Colleges for International Students - fact

The good news? Many US colleges and universities offer international students affordable tuition rates. Some even have financial aid and scholarship options for those who are eligible.

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Why Do International Students Choose to Attend USA Colleges?

Studying in the US can be expensive. Many international students are still determined to attend college here. This may be due to the following reasons:

  • The country is home to world-renowned colleges and universities with high academic excellence.
  • Studying in the US provides opportunities for cultural exchange and immersion.
  • The US educational system fosters a wider global perspective. This perspective encourages students of diverse backgrounds to collaborate and learn.
  • US universities emphasize research and innovation. International students can work with renowned professors and engage in cutting-edge research.
  • English is the primary language on US campuses. This allows international students to improve their language skills. This can enhance their global employability.
  • US universities provide dynamic and engaging learning experiences through their innovative teaching methods. These methods emphasize critical thinking and practical application of knowledge.

Top 10 Affordable USA Colleges for International Students

1. Oklahoma Panhandle State University

Goodwell, Oklahoma

Estimated Cost of Attendance: $15,768- $17,970 (24-30 credit hours)

Oklahoma Panhandle State University is the only public Hispanic-serving institution in the state. It has a diverse on-campus culture. This is thanks to international students from more than 25 nations worldwide. The University has three distinct colleges offering various degree programs to international students.

2. National Louis University

Chicago, Illinois

Estimated Cost of Attendance: $19,350 (annual)

National Louis University’s main campus is located in Chicago, IL. It has two other campuses in the same state and one in Tampa, Florida. This private, not-for-profit university has at least 70 graduate and undergraduate degree programs. They are offered via on-campus and online learning formats. NLU has international students from more than 50 nations. They contribute to the vibrant culture on campus. The Office of International Student & Scholar Services helps international students navigate various concerns. These can range from immigration to employment. There are also scholarships available to international students.

3. Eastern New Mexico University

Portales, New Mexico

Estimated Cost of Attendance: $19,380 (annual)

Eastern New Mexico University is a public university with significantly reduced education costs. This includes international students on a non-immigrant visa. There are more than 90 degree programs, many of which are in online learning formats. International students can find the major that fits their personal and career goals. The University established an Office of International Affairs. It addresses the needs of international students. It also ensures they aren’t excluded from campus involvement and college experiences.

4. Nicholls State University

Thibodaux, Louisiana

Estimated Cost of Attendance: $21,100-$25,000 (annual)

Nicholls State University is a part of the University of Louisiana System. It welcomes international students to its undergraduate and graduate campuses. The International Student Services addresses the needs of international students in various aspects. Some of these include cultural adjustments, US immigration regulations, and employment.

5. Brigham Young University

Provo, Utah

Estimated Cost of Attendance: $23,052 (Latter-day Saint); $29,548 (Non-Latter-day Saint)

Utah-based Brigham Young University is a private, not-for-profit research university. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sponsors it. In Fall 2023, the University enrolled 1,241 international students out of 34,937. Students come from 102 countries. South Korea, Mexico, and Canada are the top three countries represented. BYU has an interactive online International Student Checklist. This makes it easy for international students to process their applications.

6. Henderson State University

Arkadelphia, Arkansas

Estimated Cost of Attendance: $24,798- $36,366 (nine-month cost)

Arkansas-based Henderson State University offers several undergraduate and graduate programs in various fields. Some of these include business and entrepreneurship, health, education, and social sustainability. The University accepts international undergraduate students as freshmen, transfer students, and dual-degree candidates. It also accepts international graduate students. The University’s Center for International Programs was established to address international students’ concerns. IT also promotes cultural diversity on campus and in the surrounding community.

7. South Dakota State University

Brookings, South Dakota

Estimated Cost of Attendance: $25,324 (annual)

South Dakota State University is a public land-grant research university. It offers nearly 200 degree programs. International students are enrolled in both undergraduate and graduate programs. The school’s Office of International Affairs supports and services to international students. Examples include:

  • visa regulations advising
  • cultural orientation
  • transitioning to the US
  • campus involvement

8. Minnesota State University, Moorhead

Moorhead, Minnesota

Estimated Cost of Attendance: $26,585 (annual)

Minnesota State University, Moorhead, is a part of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. The public university offers in-state tuition for its international students. The University has a total of around 157 international students from 42 countries. There are more than 128 majors to choose from. International students will likely find the one that fits their career plans. They can also find support with the International Student & Scholar Services.

9. Bridgewater State University

Bridgewater, Massachusetts

Estimated Cost of Attendance: $41,315 (annual)

Bridgewater State University is a public university. There are over 100 high-quality degree programs at affordable rates. The Office for International Student and Scholar Services offers support to international students. This includes matters like:

  • immigration
  • campus orientation
  • internships
  • employment

The University is known for offering excellent graduate and undergraduate degrees.

10. Texas A&M University

College Station, Texas

Estimated Cost of Attendance: $43,840- $59,336 

Texas A&M University is a public research university with more than 5,000 international students. This makes the institution a diverse and inclusive place of higher education. The University provides a range of practical services supporting and guiding international students. Some of these include visa advising, financial aid, and scholarship opportunities.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the admission requirements for international students to enroll in US colleges?

Admission requirements vary from one college to another. Below are the typical required documents to prepare:

Fully filled-out application
Photocopy of passport
– Copies of high school transcripts for undergraduate admissions
– Copies of college credits, if any
– Letters of recommendation
– Personal essay
– Bank statement and other financial document to prove funding while in the US
– Standardized test scores, e.g., ACT or SAT
– English proficiency test scores, e.g., IELTS or TOEFL

International students must check with the admissions office of the schools they’re interested in. Here, they can find specific criteria.

How can international students finance their college in the US? Are they eligible for financial aid or scholarships?

International students must provide proof of financial eligibility. US colleges and universities usually require it for international students. The required funds typically depend on the estimated cost of attendance.

Scholarships are also available to international students. You can check with the potential schools for the scholarships they may offer. This is especially true for merit-based scholarships. You can also research opportunities from organizations by searching online.

International students usually don’t qualify for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Instead, they can seek financial aid in their home country. Or, they can consider student loan options from private providers and other alternative sources.

Can international students work while enrolled in a US college?

International students with a valid F-1 visa enrolled full-time can work on campus during the academic year. Even so, stricter regulations are in place regarding working off-campus. This may require obtaining official authorization and meeting eligibility requirements. You’ll risk losing your F-1 student status if found to be illegally working off-campus.

Schools typically have a department that addresses the concerns of international students.


  • Inside Higher Ed: International Enrollment Rebounds
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