Evaluating School Costs
International students spend a lot of time and energy trying to find enough financial resources to fund their foreign study. An important part of this effort is understanding exactly how much money you will need for your time overseas, and then carefully managing your finances to stay within your budget.
Dealing with a new currency and cost of living add to the challenge, but with a little effort and planning you won't have to spend your academic experience in a constant state of panic over money.
Evaluating Program Costs
The first step is to carefully evaluate the cost of your program, and be realistic about your ability to afford a particular school. Many students are amazed at the range of cost for basically the same product — a US post-secondary education. To give you some idea of the range of cost you can expect, here are the 2006/2007 estimated international student budgets at 3 schools — Harvard Law School ($59,300), the University of Washington ($38,312), and Western New Mexico University ($14,867):
|Harvard Law School|
|Health & Insurance Fees||$2,606|
|Books and Supplies||$1,050|
|University of Washington|
|Full-time Tuition & Fees||$23,113|
|Health Insurance (required)||$1,536|
|Room & Board on Campus||$9,902|
|Books & Supplies||$1,100|
|Clothing, Entertainment, Personal Items||$2,265|
|Total Annual Expenses||$38,312|
|Western New Mexico University (Graduate)|
|Insurance, Health and Accident||$500|
|Tuition and fees||$7,997|
|On-campus room and board||$4,370|
|Other/personal living expenses
(*not including travel)
|Total Annual Expenses||$14,867|
A 3-year program at Harvard Law School would cost close to $200,000, while a 3-year graduate program at Western New Mexico University would cost less than $50,000. Remember, these estimated budgets, though usually fairly accurate insofar as they go, do not necessarily cover all of your needs, as the personal living expenses are unlikely to capture all of the travel and basic needs you will face. The cost of living is much greater in urban areas like Boston, New York and Los Angeles, and you've got to take that into account.