The Cost of Living in NYC for International Students

A picture of Times Square in New York City at night

So, your hard work has finally paid off- you’re going to be living in New York in the fall! Your dream of studying in the Big Apple has come true! We’re sure it wasn’t easy, but you did it! Student life in NYC is a magical experience- we can only imagine what getting that acceptance letter felt like! But as exciting as all of this is, there’s probably something else on your mind as well. Something that’s a bit more troubling- the cost of living in NYC as an international student. It is after all one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in. Well, don’t you worry because Roomi can be your very own personal New York guide!

We know the idea of living in a foreign country for the first time can be very daunting. So, to make the transition a little easier for you, we’ve broken down all the costs that you should expect to encounter when you come to live in the city. So, let’s dive right in, shall we?

What is the cost of living in NYC for an international student?

It’s no secret that the cost of living in NYC is extremely high. I mean, there’s enough jokes about it already. So, we’ll spare you the trite remarks. But, don’t worry, there is some good news here. If you’re a student living in New York, things will probably be relatively cheaper for you. Relatively.

Remember, international students in NYC have to pay a set minimum cost of attendance (CoA). Different schools can have wildly different CoAs, depending on your course and whether it’s a public or a private university. You need to prove that you can at least cover the CoA amount to secure your visa. But this is just the minimum cost of attendance, you will have to prepare for other costs as well.

There’s plenty of concessions available for students all over the city that you can take advantage of. And as your New York guide, we’ll get to that in a minute. But before we do, let’s take a second to look at the basic costs that you need to be prepared for before you begin your life in NYC.

Want to find roommates and ways to save up on costs as an international student? We’ve got your back!

To make it easier, here are the average costs that a student will encounter while living in NYC.

Average cost of living for students in NYC

ParticularsAverage Cost
Rent$3,089.42/ month
Travelling$127/ month
Food$3,477/ month
Utilities$63.59/ month
Health Insurance$100/ month

Yes, we know it’s a bit steep. But these are just an average of all the costs. If you budget correctly, you will be paying much lower than the above mentioned costs. Lucky for you, there are quite a ways to save money while living in New York. So, read on!

How to afford living in NYC?

Now that you have a fair idea of all the different costs of living in NYC, we can show you how you can afford them!

For starters, if you have the option, choose on-campus housing! It is the easiest way to save money on lodging. Think about it- you won’t have to worry about furniture, or monthly rent or even utilities! As a student, you only need to pay the housing fees at the beginning of the year, and then you can pretty much forget about it!

And it’s not just that! By living on-campus, you save on food as well! Colleges and Universities have meal plan options for its students that cost a fraction of what meals would cost otherwise! Not to mention, living on-campus is an experience unto itself and you really shouldn’t miss out on it. Roomi recommends trying it out at least once in your college life, even if you can afford the alternative!

If living on campus is not an option, check out this helpful guide for first-time renters in NYC!

How to live life to the fullest in NYC!

Well, now that the boring technical part is over, we can concentrate on the fun part of living in New York! As your New York guide, it is our duty to tell you all the fun things you can do in the city for free!

This list about living in NYC wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the Museum of Modern Art. Admission is free for all visitors on Friday evenings from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. And on other days students get a discount as well! While we’re on the topic of museums, you also need to check out The Metropolitan Museum of Art! For New York State residents and NY, NJ, and CT students, the amount you pay is up to you! (So, basically, free!).

You can also take the Staten Island ferry (for free), have a picnic in Central Park, explore Chelsea Market, wander around the Brooklyn Botanical garden and SO MUCH MORE!

Related: Things To Do In Manhattan, NY With Your Roommates!

Once you arrive in the city, you will realize that you don’t need all that much money to explore the city and make it your home! And we, for one, cannot wait for you to begin your life in NYC! So, if you get nervous, remember, Roomi is here to be your trusted New York City guide!

D’you know what else Roomi does outside of helping its readers understand the cost of living in NYC? With our ever-increasing lists of rooms and roommates across the world, we help you find your perfect match!