Unraveling the Cost of Pursuing MS in the USA for Indian Students: A Comprehensive Guide

2 August 2023

Introduction to MS in the USA

The aspiration of pursuing a Master of Science (MS) degree in the United States (USA) is a common one among international students, particularly those from India.

According to a report by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, the number of Indian students studying abroad has more than doubled in the last decade, with the USA being the top destination for Indian students pursuing higher education abroad.

The USA is home to some of the world’s top universities and offers unrivaled exposure, making it a dream destination for higher education. But before setting sail on this exciting educational adventure, understanding the cost of MS in the USA is crucial for planning and budgeting.

Understanding the Cost of MS in the USA

Studying MS in the USA can seem expensive when you take into account the tuition fees, living expenses, and additional costs. However, it’s important to remember that the cost varies greatly depending on several factors.

These include the type of university (public or private), course or program, geographical location, and lifestyle preferences. Also, many universities offer scholarships, which can substantially reduce the overall cost.

Tuition Fee Structure

The tuition fee is the primary expense when studying MS in the USA. This fee varies significantly between public and private universities and is based on the specific course or program you choose.

Public Universities

Public universities in the USA are partially funded by state governments. As a result, the tuition fees at these institutions are comparatively lower than private universities. You can expect to pay between $20,000 to $30,000 per year as tuition fees at a public university.

Private Universities

Private universities, on the other hand, are not funded by the government, and hence, their tuition fees are higher. Depending on the institution and course, the tuition fees at private universities can range anywhere between $25,000 and $50,000 per year.

Cost of Living in the USA

Living expenses are an integral part of the cost of studying MS in the USA. These expenses largely depend on the city or state where the university is located.

Accommodation Costs

The cost of accommodation varies widely across the USA. Living in city centers or states like New York or California can be expensive, while living in suburbs or states with a lower cost of living, like Texas or Ohio, can be cheaper.

Food and Other Living Expenses

Next to accommodation, food and other living expenses like groceries, utilities, internet, entertainment, and leisure activities should also be considered. On average, you can expect to spend between $150 to $200 per month on groceries.

Additional Costs for MS in the USA

Besides tuition fees and living expenses, there are several other costs you should factor into your budget.

Health Insurance

Health insurance is mandatory for international students in the USA. The annual cost of health insurance can range from $1,000 to $2,000.

Books and Supplies

The cost of textbooks and other educational materials also adds to the overall expense. You may need to shell out an additional $500 to $1,000 per year for these resources.


Transportation costs depend on your location and lifestyle. Public transportation is generally affordable, with average costs ranging from $50 to $100 per month. However, if you plan to own and maintain a car, the costs will be higher.

MS in USA for Indian Students

For Indian students, the actual cost of pursuing an MS in the USA can vary based on the current exchange rate. It’s also essential to look into available scholarships and financial aid options.

Conversion Rates and Effect on Cost

Given the fluctuating nature of currency exchange rates, the cost in Indian Rupees can be significantly higher or lower than the cost in US dollars.

Scholarships for Indian Students

There are various scholarships available for Indian students that can significantly reduce the financial burden of studying in the USA. It’s crucial to research these opportunities and apply them early.

Study MS in the USA – Advantages

Despite the high costs, there are numerous advantages to studying MS in the USA. The country is home to some of the world’s top universities offering high-quality education and exposure. Furthermore, an MS degree from a US university is recognized and valued globally, opening up excellent job opportunities and offering a high return on investment.

University Selection Based on Budget

The cost of an MS in the USA also depends on the university you choose. Therefore, it’s essential to choose a university based on your budget as well as your academic needs.

Average Cost of Studying MS in the USA

On average, considering all factors, including tuition, living expenses, and additional costs, you can expect to spend around $40,000 to $80,000 per year to study MS in the USA.

Planning to Pursue an MS – Financial Planning

It’s crucial to plan financially before embarking on the journey to pursue an MS in the USA. Explore options like education loans, scholarships, and part-time work opportunities to finance your education.

Application and Exam Fees for MS

The application fee for universities ranges from $50 to $150. Additionally, students need to take exams like GRE and TOEFL, which add to the overall cost.

Education Loans for MS in the USA

Many banks and financial institutions offer education loans for studying abroad. These loans come with competitive interest rates and flexible repayment options, making them a feasible option to finance your education.

Scholarships Available for MS

Here’s a table that summarizes the different types of scholarships available for international students pursuing an MS degree in the USA:

Fulbright Foreign Student Program

  • Open to students from 160+ countries, including India.
  • Applicants must hold a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent.
  • Award: Full tuition, fees, and living expenses.

Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship Program

  • Open to students from select developing countries, including India.
  • Applicants need a Bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0.
  • Award: Varies based on financial need.

Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Program

  • Open to mid-career professionals from select countries, including India.
  • Applicants must have at least five years of work experience.
  • Award: Full tuition, fees, living expenses, and stipend.

AAUW International Fellowships

  • Open to women from any country, including India, pursuing graduate studies in the USA.
  • Award: $18,000 – $30,000.

Rotary Peace Fellowship

  • Open to individuals from select countries, including India, pursuing a Master’s degree in peace and conflict resolution.
  • Award: Full tuition, fees, living expenses, and stipend.

Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program

  • Open to students from developing countries, including India, pursuing graduate studies in development fields.
  • Award: Full tuition, fees, living expenses, and stipend.

Note: The information provided in the table is subject to change, and interested students should verify the eligibility requirements and award amounts with the respective scholarship providers.

These scholarships are highly competitive, and interested students should start researching and applying well in advance of their intended start date.

Conclusion: Is the Cost of MS in the USA Worth It?

While the cost of pursuing an MS in the USA might seem high, it’s important to consider the long-term benefits. The quality of education, international exposure, and career opportunities offered by US universities are unparalleled. With careful planning and financial management, the investment can be worthwhile.


What is the average cost of MS in the USA for Indian students?

The cost of an MS in the USA for Indian students can range from 30 lahks to 60 lakh INR per year, depending on the university, course, and lifestyle.

Are there scholarships available for international students in the USA?

Yes, there are multiple scholarships available, ranging from university-specific to government-funded and private scholarships.

How can I reduce the cost of living while studying in the USA?

Opting for shared accommodation, using public transport, cooking at home, and availing of student discounts can help reduce living costs.

What additional costs should I consider when planning to study MS in the USA?

Consider health insurance, books and supplies, transportation, and visa and application fees as additional costs.

Is it worth investing in an MS degree from the USA?

Yes, due to the high-quality education, global recognition, and excellent career prospects, an MS degree from the USA is considered a worthwhile investment.


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