Total cost incurred for US University applications before going to USA and tips to save all pre-departure expenses

This article provides the complete US University cost including the application cost, exams cost, consulting cost, VISA cost and other expenditures that you will have to be prepared for when you make a decision about higher education in USA.

The following table provides you with all the information about the different costs that you are most likely to encounter during your entire process from taking the GRE till you finally get the US VISA approved

Sr. No
Expenditure details
Approximate expense (INR)
GRE tuition fees (if joined)
TOEFL/IELTS tuition fees (if joined)
GRE registration fees
TOEFL registration fees
University applications consulting (if joined)
US University applications - 10 Universities
Education loan sanction expenditure
VISA process consulting (if joined)
US VISA application fees
SEVIS fees
Air tickets - one way to US
Other expenses


* might vary based on consultants
** depends on the principal loan amount and bank charges

If you observe the above table, you will need approximately Rs. 3 lakhs for your entire application process before going to USA, if you wish to pursue higher education in USA. This cost includes all the expenses incurred including the GRE and TOEFL registration fees, VISA fees, consulting fees, loan fees and also the one way flight ticket expenditure. The entire expenses including the tuition fees, housing fees, food, travel, transportation and other expenses for the duration of two years might exceed well over Rs. 20 lakhs even from a very economical University. Hence, if you wish to pursue higher education in USA, you need to be prepared to invest in all this and the total investment will be over Rs. 20 lakhs minimum.

For detailed cost split up of each US University application expenses, visit this article: Cost of application to each US University

5 simple tips to save the cost incurred for US Universities application and other pre-departure expenses
  1. Both GRE and TOEFL are relatively easy for Indian students. With the revised format of GRE, it has become even simpler. If you follow simple techniques and study regularly following a rigorous routine, there is no reason why you won’t score highly in these exams. You can get all the study material and exam preparation tips online through various sites. For helpful GRE tips and GRE study material, you can visit this website:
  2. The consulting charges for US University applications are very high. Although your entire US University applications are helped by your consulting firm, at the end of the day, you might feel that you might have saved on this expenditure as you are the one who has to do the final applications. Consulting firms can only give you a direction. You can make use of various online forums like edulix to get a lot of information about shortlisting and applying to US Universities. Also, your friends, seniors and relatives already studying in US can help you guide through your application process. You can save your consulting charges if you are willing to do everything yourself. If you need help regarding SOP, recommendations, etc visit this section: Application to US Universities
  3. Shortlist at least 4 US Universities before GRE and TOEFL which you will apply for sure. ETS directly sends official revised GRE scores and TOEFL scores to these Universities free of cost.
  4. Your friend/relative must be sending money to his family in India. For every such transaction, he will have to pay the currency conversion for USD to rupees. Instead tell him to make your payments in USD and you make an equivalent payment calculated by current exchange rate in Indian rupees directly to his family in India. This way, it will be mutually beneficial to both of you and both of you will be saving currency conversion charges.
  5. Apply to only those Universities which you are sure to go. Do not apply to a lot of Universities only because they are safe and you are sure to get admit. If you apply to only 4-5 Universities, you will save a lot of US University application costs.