32 Best Affordable US Universities for International Students

USA is one of the best places when it comes to academic excellence. But one of the major challenges most international students face is the high cost of studying in the US. If you are an international student whose dream is to study in the US, do not be discouraged, there are many affordable colleges/universities in the US that also offer financial aids to international students, majorly in form of scholarships and grants. In this section, we covered all you need to know before choosing a US university to study in, public vs. private higher institutions, non-profit and for-profit higher institutions, cheap US public universities that offer scholarships to international students, non-profit colleges/universities in the US, etc.

cheapest universities in the us that offer scholarships and grants to international students

Why you should Consider Studying in the US as an International Student

Here are some of the major advantages you enjoy while studying in US universities.

  • You enjoy a Higher Career Prospects: Most of the higher institutions and colleges in the US are topping the leader-board when it comes to research, development and arts. Also, they offer internship and employment opportunities more than other foreign countries. Generally, a degree from a higher institution in USA simply tells your employer that you more qualified for the job, because of the high quality education rendered in the US.
  • You enjoy Great Academic Opportunities: Both the public and private universities in the US offer numerous academic opportunities. Also, as a student in any of the universities in the US, you declare a major at the end of your second year. This gives you enough time to know more about different prospective majors, and to make the best decision. Also, American colleges and universities are top notch when it comes to research and development programs.
  • You are given the Opportunity to explore different Cultural Perspectives: US higher institutions are made up of students and staff from various ethnicity, nationality and religious backgrounds. Because of this rich environment diversity in the campus, students have the opportunity to learn about different cultures, network with students from various countries, and also broaden their horizons.

What are the major Differences between Public and Private Institutions/Schools?

The main difference between public and private institutions is that public institutions rely majorly on state government support funds to operate. On the other hand, private institutions rely majorly on students’ tuition and fees, endowments, research grants, and alumni donations to fund their academic programs.

In terms of financial aid availability, private schools tend to offer more financial aid than public schools. This is because they have more fund sources than public schools. Therefore, private schools usually have more funds available to award grants and scholarships, especially to international students.

In terms of prestige and acceptance rate, private institutions seem to be more prestigious than public institutions. This is because private institutions have more strict admission criteria and lower acceptance rate. This does not mean that you can only obtain quality education from private universities. In fact, most of the highly rated US universities are public schools.

As a result of these major differences, the tuition fees of most private schools are usually higher than those of the public schools/institutions. So you should bear this in mind while looking for a university to study in the US. Also note that there are lots of other factors to consider when choosing between private and public institutions, especially as an international student.

Non-Profit vs. For-Profit Higher Institutions

As a prospective international student, you also need to understand the difference between non-profit and for-profit colleges/universities, especially when looking for affordable private schools.

As their names imply, the For-Profit higher institutions are in business with the sole aim of making money for their shareholders and the owners. For-Profit higher institutions, their main focus is to make money/profit. In order to achieve this, they focus more on programs/courses that can earn higher tuition fees. Generally, they charge high tuition fees in order to provide significant return on investments for their shareholders and stakeholders.

While the main aim of Non-Profit higher institutions is to offer students the possible best learning environment, for earning degree, and also to achieve professional academic success. They focus more on giving high-standard education to their students, and also offer networking events and job fairs to prepare and provide best employment opportunities for their students after graduation. The tuition fees of non-profit private institutions are more affordable than those of the For-Profit private higher institutions, and are also typically competitive with the tuition fees of public colleges/universities. In order to keep their tuition fees as low as possible, non-profit higher institutions seek additional funding from private donors and local governments.

Top Cheapest Public US Universities that Offer Scholarships to International Students

CUNY Brooklyn College (BC)

brooklyn college - best cheap public college in usa

Brooklyn College is a public college, and is the first co-educational liberal arts college in New York City, regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. In 1961, it became part of the City University of New York. The school offers more than 75 programs, enrolls over 18,000 students, and have served as a pathway for success for many alumni – including many US Federal judges, Senators and top sports icons. The tuition fee of the college is very affordable, with interest-free payment plans. It also offers many financial aid packages, especially scholarships for international students. One challenge that most applicants face is that the school is very selective in accepting students. As a matter of fact, they accept only about 40% of their total applicants yearly. As a first-time applicant, you must have a SAT score of at least 1000, or its ACT equivalent.

  • Average Tuition Fee per Year: $4,211.
  • Popular Programs: Business, Education, Natural and Behavioral Sciences, Humanities and Social Sciences, School of Visual, Media and Performing Arts.
  • Available Scholarships for International Students: Yes.

University of Washington (UW)

university of washington - most affordable public university that offers four-years degree courses

The University of Washington ranks as one of the most affordable public universities that offer four-years degree courses in the US, and is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The school has campuses in Seattle, Bothell, and Tacoma, and serves over 54,000 students through schools and colleges. UW is known for its high standard initiatives and global impact in teaching and research. The school allocates about $250 million every year for scholarship and grants for its students, including international students. Apart from its campus-based programs, the school offers over 17 affordable online degrees, and also has option for distant learning, especially in bachelor’s degrees in early childhood and integrated social science. As a full-time student, you can complete these programs within 2 years. Master’s degree students can enroll in fully online, or blended programs/courses.

  • Average Tuition Fee per Year: $9,765.
  • Popular Programs: Education, Management, Healthcare, Engineering, and Information Science.
  • Available Scholarships for International Students: Yes.


Oklahoma State University (OSU)

oklahoma state university - best cheap public land-grant higher institution

Oklahoma State University is a public land-grant university, established in 1890, located in Stillwater, Oklahoma, regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The school offer more than 300 undergraduate programs, and 200 postgraduate programs, has 5 campus locations, and also offers online programs. OSU is popular for its Veterinary Medicine and Engineering programs, and is known as the best STEM-focused higher institution in the US. The school offers affordable bachelor’s degrees in Engineering, Nursing, Business, and Pre-law. OSU also offers over 30 online master’s degrees programs which eliminate all the on-campus program requirements. The school is recognized as one of the 6 sun-grant universities in America, and supports bio-energy research and environmentally sustainable initiatives. OSU has over 35,000 students.

  • Average Tuition Fee per Year: $6,707.
  • Popular Programs: Veterinary Medicine, Engineering, Nursing, Business, and Pre-law.
  • Available Scholarships for International Students: Yes.

Indiana University (IU), Bloomington

indiana university bloomington - best affordable public research school

Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana is a public research school, established in 1820, and serves over 48,000 students in over 550 programs (both online and on-campus), including over 200 undergraduate majors. This university is the flagship campus of Indiana University, and is also the largest campus of Indiana University, and has over 40,000 students from various countries worldwide. In 2002, it started offering online bachelor’s degrees programs, specially designed for working professionals. IU also supports distance learning with its array of resources (including orientations, success coaches, and technological support) provided by its Office of Online Education. As a distance learner, you also qualify for transfer credits towards your degree. Aside from the fact that IU’s tuition fee is affordable, they provide scholarships and grants for about 64% of their undergraduates, including international students.

  • Average Tuition Fee per Year: $11,931.
  • Popular Programs: Arts and Sciences; Art, Architecture, and Design; Education; Business; Global and International Studies; Law; Informatics, Computing, and Engineering.
  • Available Scholarships for International Students: Yes.

Mississippi University for Women (MUW)

mississippi university for women - best cheap public college for women

Mississippi University for Women is the first public college for women in the US. It is a special higher institution that empowers women through education, by equipping them with the needed knowledge and skills to fit into some of the fields/industries that are traditionally dominated by men. In other words, MUW help women to find and take up career in industries that are mostly dominated by men. The school is located in Columbus, Mississippi, and enrolls over 2,500 undergraduate and graduate female students from various countries worldwide, and offers affordable programs across different disciplines, both on-campus and online.

  • Average Tuition Fee per Year: $8,092.
  • Popular Programs: Arts & Sciences; Business & Professional Studies; Nursing & Health Sciences; Education; Leadership & Management.
  • Available Scholarships for International Students: Yes.

California State University, Los Angeles

California State University, Los Angeles (Cal State LA) is the second-oldest member of the California State University System, regionally accredited by WASC. Cal State LA has over 26,000 students, which it serves via over 300 programs and 8 schools. Some of their popular undergraduate majors include: Psychology, Criminal Justice, and Child Development. Some of the popular graduate fields include: Education, Counseling, and Social Work. In order to maintain an affordable tuition cost, Cal State LA offer tuition waivers for more than half of its undergraduates, and also provide financial aid to about 84% of its undergraduates. The online degree programs offered by CalState Online mostly suit military students, those who wish to switch their career, and workers who wish to further their career or education.

  • Average Tuition Fee per Year: $4,403.
  • Popular Programs: Psychology, Criminal Justice, Child Development, Education, Counseling, and Social Work.
  • Available Scholarships for International Students:

Arkansas State University (A-State)

arkansas state university a-state - cheapest public research university

Arkansas State University is one of the cheapest public research universities, located in Arkansas, USA. The school offer over 160 degree programs, and is the second largest university in Arkansas. In order to offer its students a very high standard education, the school offers a Structured Learning Assistance Program which provides additional academic support for some of the topics which students find difficult to understand. A-State has more than 14,000 students enrolled in academic pursuit, and offers more than 140 undergraduate and postgraduate fields, a robust international studies area and Arkansas’ largest online program. The school offers scholarship to international students, and housing scholarship to support campus residents.

  • Average Tuition Fee per Year: $8,635.
  • Popular Programs: Business, Science, Engineering, Education, Entrepreneurship, Health, Nursing, Biotechnology, Criminology, Data Science and Analytics.
  • Available Scholarships for International Students: Yes.

University of North Georgia (UNG)

university of north georgia - affordable public senior military college

If you are looking for an affordable public senior military college in USA as an international student, then check out the University of North Georgia (UNG), founded in 1890. The school is a member of the Georgia’s University System. On 8 January, 2013, the North Georgia College & State Institution and the Gainesville State College merged to form the University of North Georgia. UNG has 5 campuses in the following locations: Dahlonega, Watkinsville (Oconee Campus), Oakwood (Gainesville Campus), Blue Ridge, and Cumming. University of North Georgia is the sixth largest public university in Georgia, one of the US 6 senior military colleges, and has enrolled more than 20,000 students from various countries worldwide.

The school has 5 colleges offering over 100 bachelor’s and associate degree programs, 13 master’s degree programs and one doctorate degree program. Every year, over 600 students from the school take part in the university’s ROTC program, which earned the school the moniker “The Military College of Georgia”. UNG creates a conducive, dynamic learning environment for students from various social, economic, and cultural backgrounds. This has helped the school to unlock the full potentials of its undergraduates and postgraduates. The school offers over 137 undergraduates programs, and over 41 postgraduate programs.

  • Average Tuition Fee per Year: $5,341 for Georgia residents; $15,560 for out-of-state students.
  • Popular Programs: Business, Education, Health Sciences & Professions, Science & Mathematics, and Arts & Letters.
  • Available Scholarships for International Students: Yes.

Other Affordable Public Colleges/Universities in the US

  • California State University, Long Beach
  • Dakota State University
  • The City University of New York
  • South Texas College
  • California State University
  • Minot State University
  • Bemidji State University
  • National Louis University
  • Eastern New Mexico University

Affordable Non-Profit Colleges/Universities in the US

  • Brigham Young University (BYU) – Provo, Utah
  • John’s University – Queens, New York
  • DePaul University – Chicago, Illinois
  • Nova Southeastern University (NSU) – Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) – Rochester, New York
  • Loyola University Chicago – Chicago, Illinois
  • University of Southern California – Los Angeles, California
  • Boston University – Boston, Massachusetts
  • Northeastern University – Boston, Massachusetts
  • George Washington University – Washington, D.C.
  • Drexel University – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Syracuse University – Syracuse, New York
  • New York University (NYU) – New York, New York
  • Baylor University – Waco, Texas
  • Davenport University, Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Salve Regina University, Newport, Rhode Island

You can check a broader list of all US public and private universities.

What do I do to reduce the Overall Cost of Studying in the US as an International Student?

One of the best ways to reduce your overall cost of studying in the US as an international student is to study in affordable US universities that also offer scholarship opportunities. You can also go for professional courses that will give you a higher chance of getting a scholarship as an international studies. Most of these courses are under the following faculties: Engineering, Business, Science, etc.

Another way to reduce your overall cost while studying in the US is to take up lucrative part-time jobs as a student in the US. This way, you earn some income, and also gain work experience, especially when your job role is related to your field/course of study.

Lastly, you can minimize your overall cost of studying in the US by choosing to study in a US university located in a city with low cost of living. This way, you will save money in cost of things like house rent, supplies, groceries, transport, etc. To further save cost, you can decide to live on campus (if available).



You have learnt all you need to know before choosing a US university to study in, public vs. private higher institutions, non-profit and for-profit higher institutions, cheap US public universities that offer scholarships to international students, non-profit colleges/universities in the US, how to reduce the cost of studying in the US for international students, etc. Now check through the list and choose the best affordable US college/university for your study program or course of study.

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I am an entrepreneur who believes that anybody can achieve whatever goal he/she sets, so long as you follow the right path. I fully decided to take entrepreneurship as a lifestyle in 2014 and have never regretted that decision. Even though I failed many times, but my failures helped me discover my hidden potentials. I blog at Buzzing Point - https://www.buzzingpoint.com and Microsoft Tutorials - https://www.microsofttut.com where I help young entrepreneurs to discover their hidden potentials and how to turn their passions to income streams. I am also a guest blogger at https://www.freeblockchaintools.com. In fact, I can't do without the internet. I love surfing the net and making research, and then updating my fans on the latest buzzing info. I am also active in Quora, especially in my spaces, Lucrative Business Ideas - https://lucrativebusinessideas.quora.com/ and Free Blockchain Tools - https://freeblockchaintools.quora.com/.

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