Top 10 Cheapest Universities in the USA for International Students

Choosing a university to study abroad as an international student can seem like an overwhelming process. With tens of thousands of higher education institutions across the country, how do you narrow down the options and know which ones offer the best value? In this article, we take an in-depth look at arguably the most important factor for many international students – affordability. Here is our analysis of the top 10 cheapest universities in the USA based on annual tuition costs for foreign undergraduate students.

Before diving into the rankings, it’s important to note a few factors that shape university costs for internationals. Public universities generally have much lower tuition rates than private schools. State residency policies also mean out-of-state and international students pay higher non-resident supplemental tuition on top of normal rates. Universities located in states that prioritize attracting international enrollment, like Texas and Arizona, tend to have particularly competitive international tuition structures. Other costs like fees, living expenses, books, and supplies still apply on top of published tuition rates.


With that context in mind, here are the most affordable top 10 options according to published international undergraduate tuition costs:

  1. University of Texas at El Paso – $24,430

UTEP tops the list as the most affordable major university. Located on the US-Mexico border, it has a large international population and significant resources dedicated to supporting foreign students. International admission rates are reasonable and plenty of need/merit-based aid is available to lower costs further. Top programs include science/engineering, health professions and business.

  1. Arizona State University – $26,472

ASU is an exemplar of an affordable large public research university that has intentionally expanded access to higher education globally. International enrollment has grown rapidly as the university continually improves support structures. Students have access to world-class academics and research opportunities across multiple campuses in the Phoenix metro area.

  1. University of Florida – $27,302

Consistently ranked one of the best public universities, UF attracts international students from over 130 countries. Despite being located in an expensive state, out-of-state tuition is competitive for an R1 research institution. Top programs span science, health, business and more with excellent career outcomes. International students praise opportunities for involvement through hundreds of student organizations.

  1. University of Arizona – $27,360

UArizona boasts a welcoming culture for internationals with dedicated advising, funding and events throughout the year. International enrollment is increasing as Arizona continues to invest in recruiting talent from abroad. Popular programs include engineering, bioscience, hospitality and more within a beautiful desert campus setting close to outdoor recreation in Tucson.

  1. University of Houston – $28,020

UH is a rapidly growing public research university closely tied to the diverse, global city of Houston. International student numbers have grown 50% in recent years due to quality programs at an affordable price. Top colleges cover fields like science, engineering, business and hospitality management set within a supportive international community.

  1. New Mexico State University – $28,284

Despite its remote location in Las Cruces, NMSU has built a well-deserved reputation for welcoming international undergraduates. Financial aid is broadly available including presidential and departmental scholarships. Popular areas of study span agriculture, business, science and engineering taught within a close-knit campus atmosphere.

  1. Iowa State University – $28,460

Consistently ranked one of the best public universities for value, Iowa State has built strengths in science, technology and business fields. Popular international majors include engineering, agriculture/food science and more within a tight-knit Cyclone community. Generous merit-based aid further lowers costs while beautiful Midwest scenery provides contrast to desert Southwest locations.

  1. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – $28,608

As a top-tier flagship research university, UIUC delivers world-class education at a relatively low international student price tag. Enrollment of overseas undergrads has grown dramatically in fields such STEM, business and social sciences. International cultural centers enrich campus life alongside Big Ten college athletics events in Champaign.

  1. University of Connecticut – $30,004

UConn delivers rigorous flagship academics alongside passionate Division 1 sports fanship at an affordable nonresident rate. Storrs campus provides a quintessential New England college experience with over 200 international student organizations to join. Popular majors span STEM, business, allied health and more with excellent post-graduation outcomes.

  1. University of Washington – $30,616

Rounding out the top 10 is the prestigious UW with a comprehensive research university experience on the West Coast. Beloved by international undergrads for its beautiful Seattle waterfront location alongside mountain and forest scenery nearby. Top degrees include engineering, computer science and global health sciences with a supportive international student body of over 7,000.

In summary, this list of 10 universities provides affordable, high-quality undergraduate education options across various regions and campus environments in the U.S. While costs continue rising nationwide, these public universities deliver exceptional value propositions through billions invested annually in academic programs, faculty research, student support services and more. Doing research to compare offerings, costs, aid availability and campus culture empowers international students to choose the best university fit within budget. Overall, with careful planning any of these top 10 destinations remain very achievable choices to study abroad in America. Tuition fee changes so it is advisable to visit the  university official website for more information.

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