Top 10 Cheapest Universities in the US for International Students

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College is a huge expense that most people can’t afford. This is why it’s important for international students to find a college that’s both affordable and has the best of the best. You’ll want a college that will allow you to graduate debt-free and with good employment prospects.

In this article, we’ll be breaking down the 10 cheapest universities in the US for international students. We’ll also provide a breakdown of each university’s rankings and the average cost of attendance.

Cheapest Universities In The US

Benefits of Studying in the US

For international students seeking quality education, there are many reasons why studying in the US is beneficial. Let’s take a look at some of the advantages:

  • Many academic opportunities as there are a myriad of institutions to choose from
  • Improved career prospects by having a degree from an accredited American university
  • Opportunity to gain a diverse cultural perspective
  • Ability to become fluent in English
  • Large international student support group
  • International experience to place on your CV 

Important Notes About Cheapest Universities in the US

The following information and tuition fees refer solely to undergraduate degrees, but many of these universities offer graduate degrees, as well. You can learn more about each school by clicking on the links.

Just remember that there might be additional mandatory fees beyond tuition, like annual enrollment fees and costs for course materials. You’ll also need to take housing and commuting expenses into account when choosing where to study.

List of Cheapest Universities in the US for International Students

1. The City University of New York 

The City University of New York – also known as CUNY – is a public university system in New York City that includes 26 individual institutions, where students can learn from award-winning faculty. Among those institutions are Baruch College, Hunter College, Brooklyn College, City College of New York, and more.

Committed to providing accessible, high-quality education to New Yorkers since 1847, CUNY offers affordable tuition rates to all students. Among its current initiatives are programs for adult students, Latino faculty growth, and innovative workforce training.

  • Annual tuition for international students: $18,600
  • Percentage of international students: Unknown
  • Read more: Here
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2. California State University, Long Beach

Established in 1949, California State University, Long Beach – also known as Long Beach State, or “The Beach” – is the third-largest campus of the California State University system, which has 23 branches across the most populous state.

With a campus located only 3 miles (5 kilometers) from the Pacific Ocean and a 40-minute drive from Hollywood, students enjoy a variety of science-focused programs (chemistry, astronomy, and environmental science, among others) and art programs (theater, film, design, dance, and music), alongside degree options in liberal arts, education, business administration, health, and human services, engineering, and mathematics.

  • Annual tuition for international students: $18,726
  • Percentage of international students: 6.4%%
3. Alcorn State University in Mississippi

Alcorn University was founded in 1871 in Claiborne County, Mississippi, with a goal to provide education to descendants of previously enslaved African Americans. Today, it offers more than 50 degree programs to over 4,000 students with diverse ethnic backgrounds.

The university also collaborates with educational institutions from around the globe. Among others, it lets students spend a semester in South America or Africa, participate in videoconferencing sessions with organizations from around the world, and take action to improve the lives of people living in developing countries.

Students and graduates are called Alcornites. According to the university’s website, if you’re an Alcornite, you’re “an individual with both the knowledge and the character to achieve your dreams… for your career, for your family, for your community.”

  • Annual tuition for international students: $7,290
  • Percentage of international students: 2.8%
4. Minot State University in North Dakota

Founded in 1913 in Minot, North Dakota, Minot State University ensures a student-teacher ratio of 14:1, making it the place to go if you want to enjoy the small-town feeling where everybody knows your name – in a big town university campus.

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At Minot State University, you can choose from 60 undergraduate programs – as diverse as information systems, science, social work, education, finance, and criminal justice.

  • Annual tuition for international students: $7,896
  • Percentage of international students: 12%
5. South Texas College

Established in 1993, South Texas College offers both undergraduate degree and certificate programs. It is credited for transforming life paths and communities in the Hidalgo and Starr counties, as 67% of its students are the first in their families to attend a university.

Committed to creating social and economic mobility in these communities, South Texas College maintains a 22:1 student-teacher ratio, creates cross-disciplinary learning experiences, and promotes cost efficiency in higher education.

  • Annual tuition for international students: $7,830
6. Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York

Established in 1859, Cooper Union is known as one of the most challenging universities to get into, as its programs in architecture, fine arts, and especially engineering, are highly celebrated.

At the same time, Cooper Union is committed to equal opportunities, and practices “need-blind admission”—meaning the team considering an applicant’s merits has no idea of their financial status as they decide whether or not to admit them.

Until 2014, every student accepted into Cooper Union received a full scholarship covering the annual $44,550 tuition. Though this is no longer the policy, every student still gets a 50% scholarship. International students need to pay an additional $1,005 per semester, but it’s still one of the more affordable institutes of higher learning in the United States.

  • Annual tuition for international students: $22,635
  • Percentage of international students: 17.5%
7. Brigham Young University

Established in 1875, the university provides an outstanding education in an atmosphere consistent with the ideals and principles of its sponsor, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

BYU is known for its academically minded and internationally experienced student body, its world-class teaching and its beautiful mountain location, BYU is also recognized for its extensive language programs, talented performing arts ensembles and outstanding sports programs.

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8. Eastern New Mexico University

Although the youngest state university in New Mexico, we look with pride upon our accomplishments since the dream of having a university in eastern New Mexico first arose many decades ago. The Legislature of 1927 located the University in Portales, and the Legislature of 1929 approved the first appropriation for buildings. 

With Over 90 program options and 1200 courses and online programs, Whether online or on-campus, our programs help students explore current research techniques, and develop knowledge and competency in their field of study while fostering a spirit of inquiry by encouraging independent, original thought. 

9. Nicholls State University

Since first opening its doors in 1948, Nicholls has been the only university serving the Bayou Region. Nicholls capitalizes on its prime location and rich culture by offering distinctive academic programs in culinary arts, geomatics, maritime management, marine, and environmental science, petroleum services, and safety technology. 

10. Bridgewater State University

Since its founding in 1840, Bridgewater State has remained steadfast in its commitment to empower individuals and instill in its community an abiding desire to advance the public good. Our rigorous and dynamic academic environment encourages students and faculty to develop their strengths and become leaders in their fields. 

Bridgewater isn’t just a place to get an education – it’s a place to belong. A place to lay the groundwork for a rewarding career. To find your own definition of success and gain the skills necessary to achieve it. To make lifelong friends and take advantage of extraordinary opportunities – and all for an unbeatable value.

As the comprehensive teaching university of Southeastern Massachusetts, Bridgewater State University has a responsibility to educate the residents of Southeastern Massachusetts and the commonwealth, and to use its intellectual, scientific and technological resources to support and advance the economic and cultural life of the region and the state.


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