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22 December 2023

8 minutes read

Affordable Masters Degree in the USA for International Students

Key Takeaways

  • Affordable Education: Accessible quality education with competitive tuition fees.
  • Program Diversity: Wide range of programs across various fields.
  • Work Experience: Valuable on-campus and post-study work opportunities.
  • Financial Support: Numerous scholarships and assistantships are available.
  • Cultural Richness: A blend of academic excellence and cultural diversity.

Are you an international student looking for an affordable master’s degree program in the USA? Look no further! In this article, we will explore some of the most affordable universities in the USA that offer great opportunities for international students in 2024.

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Top Affordable Universities in the USA

UniversityLocationAnnual Tuition Fee (International Students)Program Highlights
Nicholls State UniversityThibodaux, Louisiana$14,634Diverse programs, safe campus, small city
University of Louisiana at MonroeMonroe, Louisiana$16,336Business, education, nursing, strong job placement
Southeast Missouri State UniversityCape Girardeau, Missouri$16,522Liberal arts, business, science, vibrant campus life
Arkansas State UniversityJonesboro, Arkansas$17,290Engineering, technology, business, agriculture, diverse student body
Dakota State UniversityMadison, South Dakota$17,400Cybersecurity, computer science, business, small class sizes
Oklahoma Panhandle State UniversityGoodwell, Oklahoma$17,730Agriculture, business, education, unique rural setting
Southwest Minnesota State UniversityMarshall, Minnesota$18,156Arts & Humanities, STEM, education, supportive faculty
Northern State UniversityAberdeen, South Dakota$18,182Education, nursing, business, active alumni network
Mississippi University for WomenColumbus, Mississippi$18,394Nursing, education, humanities, small-town environment
Delta State UniversityCleveland, Mississippi$18,850Business, education, agriculture, strong career services

Tuition Fees for International Students based on different University types

cheap masters in usa for international students

One of the key factors to consider when choosing a master’s degree program is the tuition fees. As an international student, it’s important to find a program that fits your budget.

Fortunately, several universities in the USA offer affordable tuition fees for international students. Here’s the comprehensive table summarizing tuition fees for international students based on university types:

University TypeTuition Fee RangeNotes
Public University (In-State)$10,000 – $25,000The cheapest option, but availability is limited.
Public University (Out-of-State)$20,000 – $40,000More expensive than in-state tuition, but still generally more affordable than private universities.
Private University$30,000 – $60,000Most expensive option, but often offers more program choices and smaller class sizes.

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Why Choose the USA for Your Master’s Degree?

Studying in the USA has always been a popular choice among international students. The USA is home to some of the top-ranked universities in the world and offers a diverse and multicultural environment.

Not only will you receive a quality education, but you will also have the opportunity to immerse yourself in a vibrant and dynamic culture.

Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.

-Malcolm X

Here are the top reasons why you should study MS in the USA:

  • Academic Excellence: The USA boasts 27 of the top 100 universities in the world according to the QS World Ranking 2024, providing access to prestigious institutions and renowned faculty.
  • Diverse Education: With over 4,000 accredited universities offering a vast range of Master’s programs across various fields, you’re guaranteed to find the perfect fit for your academic interests and career goals.
  • Cutting-Edge Research: The USA leads the world in research and development, allowing you to be at the forefront of your field and collaborate with leading experts.
  • Innovation Hub: Silicon Valley and other tech hubs across the country provide unparalleled access to internship opportunities and potential connections with industry giants.
  • Multicultural Mosaic: The USA is a melting pot of cultures, ethnicities, and religions, offering an enriching and broadening experience that fosters personal growth and global perspective.
  • Career Launchpad: Many universities actively assist in career placement after graduation, with OPT (Optional Practical Training) allowing you to gain valuable work experience in your field.

Beyond the Numbers:

  • Entrepreneurial Spirit: The USA’s culture of innovation and risk-taking encourages entrepreneurial ventures, providing fertile ground for turning your ideas into reality.
  • Personal Growth: Studying abroad fosters independence, adaptability, and self-reliance, equipping you with valuable life skills beyond academics.
  • Lifelong Connections: You’ll build lasting friendships and professional networks with diverse individuals from around the world, enriching your life personally and professionally.

The choice to study in the USA for your Master’s degree is not just about academics; it’s an investment in your future, expanding your horizons, and opening doors to exciting possibilities.

Remember, this is just a starting point. To make the best decision for yourself, do your research and explore specific universities and programs that align with your interests and goals.

Did You Know?

The United States is home to 27 of the top 100 universities globally, according to the QS World Ranking 2024, showcasing its commitment to academic excellence.

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How to Choose a University and Program that is Right for You?

top cheap universities in usa

When searching for an affordable master’s degree program in the USA, it’s important to consider several factors to ensure you find the right fit for your academic and career goals. Here are some key aspects to keep in mind:

Academic Reputation

Take into account the academic reputation of both the university and the program you are interested in. Research university rankings and program reviews online to gain insights into the quality of education provided.


Consider the location where you want to live and study. The USA offers a diverse range of climates and cultures. Think about your preferences and choose a location that aligns with your lifestyle and personal interests.

Program Specifics

Pay attention to the specific focus of the program you are interested in. Make sure it aligns with your career goals and aspirations. Look for programs that offer relevant courses, research opportunities, and connections to industry professionals.

Remember to thoroughly research and compare different universities and programs to make an informed decision. By considering the academic reputation, location, and program specifics, you can find a university and program that is the right fit for you.

Student Support Services

International students often require additional support when studying abroad. Fortunately, universities in the USA offer a wide range of student support services to assist international students with their academic, personal, and cultural needs.

These services can include academic advising, language support, and cultural integration programs.


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Work Opportunities for International Students

Another advantage of pursuing a master’s degree in the USA is the work opportunities available for international students.

It’s a great way to make your journey affordable as an international student who is pursuing any courses in the USA.

Type of WorkDescriptionEligibilityBenefitsPotential Employers
On-Campus JobsPart-time jobs on university campuses. Examples include library assistant, research assistant, teaching assistant, campus tour guide, etc.F-1 student visa, maximum 20 hours per week during semesters, full-time during breaks.Gain work experience, earn income, and network with faculty and students.Universities, academic departments, and student centers.
Curricular Practical Training (CPT)Authorized work experience directly related to your field of study, approved by your university.F-1 student visa, CPT authorization required.Gain valuable industry experience, enhance your resume, and apply academic knowledge in real-world settings.Internship programs, research labs, and companies related to your field of study.
Optional Practical Training (OPT)Full-time or part-time work authorization after completing your degree, 12 months for most STEM fields, and 24 months for some STEM fields.F-1 student visa, OPT authorization required.Gain valuable professional experience, build a network, explore career options, and potentially extend your stay in the USA.Companies in various industries, depending on your field of study.
Freelancing and Online WorkSelf-employed work or online gigs like translation, content writing, web development, virtual assistance, etc.No specific visa requirements, but income may have tax implications.Flexibility, the potential to earn competitive rates, and work from anywhere with internet access.Freelance platforms, individual clients, online marketplaces.
Research and Teaching AssistantshipsPaid positions assisting professors with research or teaching duties.Strong academic record, relevant skills, and interest in research or teaching.Gain valuable research experience, build relationships with faculty, and potentially earn tuition waivers or stipends.University departments, research labs, and academic programs.

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Scholarships and Financial Aid for MS Programs

top affordable universities in usa

Here is a list of tables that include financial aid for MS programs:

Fulbright ProgramFull scholarships for non-US citizens for graduate study or research in the USA.Excellent academic record, strong leadership potential, and commitment to public service.Covers tuition, fees, living stipend, airfare, and health insurance.
AAUW International FellowshipsFellowships for women who are not US citizens or permanent residents for full-time graduate study or research in the USA.Demonstrated commitment to advancing educational and professional opportunities for women.$18,000 for Masters, $20,000 for PhD, $30,000 for Postdoctoral studies.
Boren Awards for International StudyScholarships for US citizens to study abroad in countries where learning languages critical to US interests is important.Focus on languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Portuguese, Russian, and Swahili.Up to $20,000 per year.
Marshall ScholarshipScholarships for British students to pursue postgraduate studies at US universities.High academic achievement, leadership potential, and strong commitment to public service.Covers tuition, fees, living expenses, and airfare.
Gates Cambridge ScholarshipsScholarships for outstanding international students from outside the UK to pursue postgraduate studies at the University of Cambridge.Exceptional academic ability, leadership qualities, demonstrated commitment to improving the lives of others.Covers full college fees, maintenance allowance, and airfare.
University-Specific ScholarshipsMany universities offer merit-based or need-based scholarships for international students in specific programs or fields.Varies depending on the university and program.Varies, but can cover partial or full tuition and fees.
Graduate Teaching or Research AssistantshipsPositions that provide tuition waivers, stipends, and valuable work experience in your field.Strong academic record, research experience, and relevant skills.Varies depending on the university and program.

Application Process and Deadlines

When applying for a master’s degree program in the USA, it’s important to be aware of the application process and deadlines.

Important documents required at the time of applying to affordable international universities include:

  • Transcripts: Official academic records from previous educational institutions.
  • Letters of recommendation: References from professors, employers, or other individuals who can attest to your qualifications and potential.
  • Statement of Purpose: A written essay outlining your academic and career goals, as well as why you are interested in the specific program or university.
  • English language proficiency test scores: Such as TOEFL or IELTS, to demonstrate your proficiency in the English language.
  • Resume/CV: A document summarizing your educational background, work experience, skills, and achievements.
  • Application fee: A non-refundable fee is required to process your application.
  • Financial documents: Proof of financial ability to cover tuition fees, living expenses, and other costs associated with studying abroad.
  • Passport: A valid passport with an expiration date that extends beyond your planned stay in the United States.
  • Visa documentation: If accepted, you will need to apply for a student visa (F-1 visa) and provide the necessary documentation as instructed by the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your country.

Remember to carefully review the specific requirements of each university and program you are applying to, as they may have additional or slightly different document requirements.

Additional Tips:

  • Deadlines can vary depending on the program, university, and term. Always check the specific program website for exact deadlines.
  • Early action deadlines may offer better chances of admission and scholarship opportunities.
  • Rolling admissions are less time-bound, but applications are reviewed continuously, so apply early for stronger consideration.


In conclusion, if you’re an international student looking for an affordable master’s degree program, the USA is a great destination.

With its affordable tuition fees, high-quality education, work opportunities, and student support services, you can’t go wrong with choosing the USA for your master’s degree. Start exploring your options today and take a step towards a brighter future!

Empower your educational journey with Ambitio’s Scholarship Finder, your trusted tool for uncovering scholarships that can transform your academic path. Find and apply to scholarships that resonate with your academic goals and personal values.


Can international students get financial aid for master’s degree programs in the USA?

Yes, there are various scholarships, grants, and assistantship opportunities available for international students to help fund their master’s degree studies in the USA. It’s essential to research and apply for these opportunities early.

Are there any English language proficiency requirements for international students applying to master’s degree programs in the USA?

Yes, most universities in the USA require international students to demonstrate their English language proficiency through tests such as TOEFL or IELTS. However, some universities may have specific language requirements, so it’s important to check the admission criteria of each university you are interested in.

Can international students work while pursuing their master’s degree in the USA?

Yes, international students in the USA can work on-campus for up to 20 hours per week during the academic year and full-time during breaks. They may also be eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT) after completing their studies, which allows them to work in their field of study for up to 12 months or more.

How do I apply for a student visa to study for a master’s degree in the USA?

To apply for a student visa (F-1 visa), you will need to be accepted by a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified university in the USA. Once you receive your acceptance, you can follow the instructions provided by the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your country to apply for the F-1 visa.

Are there any specific health insurance requirements for international students studying in the USA?

Yes, most universities in the USA require international students to have health insurance coverage. Some universities offer their health insurance plans, while others may require students to purchase coverage independently. It’s important to review the health insurance requirements of the university you plan to attend.

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