Fall 2019: Most Affordable US Universities for your MS!

Every year, India witnesses thousands of engineering students going overseas to pursue higher education and to land good jobs. Several factors like cutting-edge research and development, world-class infrastructure, and faculty contribute to more Indian students chasing their dreams abroad.

Undoubtedly, the USA is a hot favorite, mainly because of the plethora of professional and academic opportunities offered to students in American universities, and the groundbreaking research and innovations taking place there. Holding a degree from an American university is a prestige many dream of. Unfortunately, higher education in the US does not come cheap, and this dream remains distant and inaccessible to many.

Before explaining the various affordable universities available to you, let’s look at some of the different types of universities in the US and the average cost of education.

Types of Universities in the US

Private Universities: Usually found leading the national university rankings, private universities receive funding from private institutions and operate as non-profit organizations. Featuring in the dream university list of most international applicants are MIT, Stanford, Harvard, etc. The tuition fee is significantly higher, of course.

For example, an Ivy League School like Duke University charges close to $50,000 per year for a Master’s in Engineering. Other expenses add up to about $25,000, which make them quite out of reach, not just academically but financially as well.

Public Universities: Also called state universities, these universities are funded by the state governments to some extent and are much more affordable than their private counterparts. However, the amount a student pays varies depending on whether the student is in-state or out-of-state, depending on their place of birth, or if the student has settled in that state for a couple of years (subject to change from state to state).

For instance, at Ohio State University, a highly-ranked school in Columbus, Ohio, the fees are $29,000 (Rs 19 lakhs approx), while accommodation and other living expenses cost an additional $11,000 (Rs 7.3 lakhs approx).  Living expenses also vary from city to city. A big city like New York or Chicago can prove to be very expensive, while smaller ones like Charlotte or Austin will be comparatively cheaper.

FREE eBook: GRE Cutoff & Profile requirements at the top 35 US Universities

Take a look at this table that lists out the average approximate cost of pursuing an MS in the US for a period of 2 years:

cost effective universities

How can you secure a high quality, yet affordable education abroad?

  1. Student Loans
  2. Scholarships

It should also be noted that a burgeoning number of applicants to these universities has made them more competitive for admissions.

But as an MS aspirant, there is no reason for you to lose hope. Countries like Germany, New Zealand, and Switzerland have emerged as attractive alternatives to the US as study abroad destinations. With favorable costs of living, groundbreaking research, better infrastructure, and most importantly, extremely low tuition fees, these universities cannot be ignored.

10 Most Affordable US Universities!

#1: University of Texas, Austin, TX

#1: University of Texas, Austin, TX

Probably one of the few top-ranked universities that offers high quality yet affordable education at the same time. Don’t be fooled by the low tuition fees, UT Austin is ranked #10 among US universities for Engineering and receives close to $3.27 billion as research endowment. If you’re wondering why the fees are still not skyrocketing, that’s because UT Austin is a flagship state university in Texas, which is also the second largest state in the US. Therefore, many international students who can make the cut enjoy cutting-edge research opportunities without cutting their savings significantly.uta

  • Tuition Fees per annum: $25,406
  • GRE score: 321 (Q: 164; V: 157)
  • TOEFL Score: 105
  • Fall ’19 Deadlines: Dec 1 – Dec 15
  • Acceptance Rate: 18.4%
#2: Texas A & M University, College Station

#2: Texas A & M University, College Station

Another one from Texas, TAMU, College Station has a rich culture of valuing innovation, starting from the 1870s. Ranked #11, TAMU prides itself in catering to all types of students – from research-centric profiles to professional degree-seeking graduates. Being the largest university in Texas, this public research university receives $4.69 billion as research endowment.

What about tuition fees, you ask? TAMU, College Station, charges per credit.

GREedge Admission Tip: For a student, the per credit system offers slightly more flexibility in terms of paying your tuition fees because the fees you pay per semester depends on the number of credits you take up for that semester. While there is a maximum & minimum limit on how many credits you can actually take per semester, this is a more flexible option.TAMU Logo

  • Tuition Fees per credit: $638
  • GRE score: 316 (Q: 164; V: 152)
  • TOEFL Score: 80
  • Fall ’19 Deadlines: Jan 15, 2019- Mar 1, 2019
  • Acceptance Rate: 27.1%

To read more about TAMU, including program-specific deadlines, click here!

#3: North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC

#3: North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC

Together with Duke University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC State University forms three vertices of The Research Triangle. Commonly known as the Triangle, this region works actively to maintain partnerships with businesses, educational institutions, and government organizations to foster a culture of innovation and collaboration for students. This partnership ensures economic growth in terms of increased job opportunities for citizens, particularly graduates.download

MS + Jobs + Lower Tuition Fees – talk about nailing the trifecta!

  • Tuition fees –  $21, 951 per annum
  • GRE scores – 317 (Q: 164; V:153)
  • TOEFL score – 80
  • Fall ’19 Deadlines – Dec 2018 – Mar 1, 2019
  • Acceptance rate – 16.1%
#4: University at Buffalo, SUNY

#4: University at Buffalo, SUNY

SUNY Buffalo has quickly become one of the best schools in the tri-state area, mainly due to its unbeatable tuition fees, great living conditions, and its proximity to New York City.  The school has a comparatively smaller student body and an excellent student-teacher ratio, not to mention a dedicated career counseling center and several extra-curricular activities clubs and societies.

Generous scholarships are offered to deserving students.

  • Tuition fees –  $26,322 per annumUniversity_at_Buffalo_logo.svg
  • GRE scores – 313 (Q: 165; V: 151)
  • TOEFL score – 79
  • Fall ’19 Deadlines – Program Specific
  • Acceptance rate – 30.8%

To read more about UB SUNY, including program-specific deadlines, click here!

#5: University of California, Berkeley, CA

#5: University of California, Berkeley, CA

Ranked #3 in the overall US university rankings, UC Berkeley is often cited as the top public research university in the US! While successful applicants are often also awarded assistantships or scholarships, making it into UC Berkeley is no easy feat considering that their average GRE scores are 320+.

However, students who do receive an admit go on to make upwards of $100,000 per annum. If that’s not a return of investment, then I don’t know what is!

  • Tuition fees –  $26,322 per annum Berkeley_Horizontal_Logo
  • GRE scores – 322 (Q: 165; V: 157)
  • TOEFL score – 90
  • Fall ’19 Deadlines – Oct 2018 – Jan 2019
  • Acceptance rate – 15.7%
#6: University of Massachusetts, Amherst

#6: University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Earning the top spot at environmental research, UMass Amherst works actively towards finding better ways to power our energy requirements through cleaner fuel and reduce dependence on natural resources. Forming close partnerships with five other universities in the area, commonly known as the Five College Consortium, it extends networking opportunities to students with the other universities.

UMass, Amherst is located in Massachusetts, which means that comparatively, the cost of living is quite high. But don’t worry, the tuition fees per annum more than makes up for it!University_of_Massachusetts_Amherst_seal

  • Tuition fees –  $9,937 per semester
  • GRE scores –  313 (Q: 161, V: 152)
  • TOEFL score – 80
  • Fall ’19 Deadlines – Generally, Jan 1st – Program specific
  • Acceptance rate – 24.5%
#7: University of Virginia

#7: University of Virginia

Founded by Thomas Jefferson, one of the Founding Fathers of America, U of VA boasts of a rich history and is quite famous for it’s honor code and secret societies! However, coming down to brass tacks, this university shot to fame with its extensive research on hypersonic flight. Receiving millions of dollars in funding each year from NASA, the National Science Foundation and other such prestigious institutions, this public-private research university receives the highest research grant in the state of Virginia.

It is widely known for its reputation of granting scholarships to deserving incoming students.

  • Tuition fees –  $24,778 per annum
  • GRE scores – 316 (Q: 163, V: 153)University_of_Virginia_logo.svg
  • TOEFL score – 90
  • Fall ’19 Deadlines – Ranging from December to January (for scholarships), depends on the program.
  • Acceptance rate – 24.9%

FREE eBook Download: University Deadlines for MS in Fall ‘19

#8: Stony Brook University, NY

#8: Stony Brook University

Hello, New York!

Located in Stony Brook, NY, this public research university is a newbie on this list. Founded as a small college in 1957, its fast-paced growth has brought it to its 62nd rank today. Even though the tuition fees are relatively on the lower side, one has to be mindful of the living expenses as it is situated in New York.  Though on the outset, this university may seem ordinary, it has been home to some of the world’s biggest research breakthroughs including the formulation of super gravity!

Some of the current areas of research include energy storage, circuitry and polymer science, wireless and information technology and computational science.SBU vert1_2clr_pms

  • Tuition fees – $22,210 per annum 
  • GRE scores –  315 (Q: 164, V: 151)
  • TOEFL score – 100
  • Fall ’18 Deadlines – Dec 2017 – Jan 2018
  • Acceptance rate – 32%
#9: Clemson University

#9: Clemson University

Known for its pioneering research in the field of automotive engineering and motor sports, Clemson University’s College of Engineering and Applied Sciences is ranked 65 in the US. In 2016, Clemson partnered with Siemens and received its largest ever grant of $3 billion.

It is also ranked #7 for the “happiest students”  in the US! (Did you know there was such a ranking?)

  • Tuition fees –  $20,550 per annum download (1)
  • GRE scores – 314 (Q: 162; V:152)
  • TOEFL score – 100
  • Fall ’19 Deadlines – Dec 2018  – Feb 2019
  • Acceptance rate – 57%
#10: University of Texas, Dallas, TX

#10: University of Texas, Dallas

This public research university can be found on almost every MS aspirant’s shortlist. This is because of a number of factors, from high acceptance rate, excellent research opportunities, proactive industry collaborations, strong international student presence etc. The Erik Jonsson College of Engineering is ranked #73 in the US and provides a variety of popular graduate programs. Due to a high population of Indian students, many successful applicants feel right at home at UTD.

Between 2008 to 2013, UTD was designated as the Center for Academic Excellence by Department of Homeland Security for its ongoing extensive interdisciplinary research in the field of cybersecurity. Other major fields of research include Bioengineering and Space Science among many others.

Wait, there’s more! For MIS aspirants, UTD’s MIS graduate program is ranked #16 in the US.


  • Tuition fees –  $22,282 per annum
  • GRE scores – 310 (Q: 161; V: 149)
  • TOEFL score – 80
  • Fall ’19 Deadlines – May 1st, 2019
  • Acceptance rate – 32.8%

To read more about UTD, read our detailed expert review. Click here!

Thus, you will note that despite higher education becoming more and more expensive, it is possible to get an excellent education from a reputed school without breaking the bank. 

Do you have questions regarding tuition fees, scholarships or admission procedures for your dream universities?

Comment below and we’ll get back to you!

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6 Responses

  1. Vishnu says:

    Hi Shruti,

    Thanks for the write up! Does GREedge help me in SOP writing?

    • Shruti Ganesh says:

      Hi Vishnu,

      I’m glad it was of help! We can definitely help you out with SOP writing. Just schedule a call with our experts here and you can discuss the details!

      Good luck!

  2. Kaajal Sheth says:

    Hi, Shruti,
    What about doctoral programs and average approximate costs? I would like to more about that. Also, how to access scholarships and fully funded programs?

  3. Pratik S Deshpande says:

    This is Pratik. I wanted some advice regarding what universities I should apply to for Spring 2018. My GRE score is 330 (Q-166,V-164, AW-4), IELTS score is 8 and GPA is 9.1. I have done Bachelors in aerospace from SRM University, Chennai. I want to apply for MS in aerospace. Can you suggest a few universities, safe and ambitious, for my profile? And I have already started my application process for Texas A&M. Under what category should I classify it (safe, moderate, ambitious, etc)? I hope this is the right place to ask this doubt.
    Thanks in advance!

  4. Ram says:

    Hi this is ram btech ECE from blore aiming for Ms in Stanford Harvard Princeton ucberkley Caltech cmu etc GRE 327 toefl 114cgpa 9.5 one national paper pls advice my chances of admission with financial aid

  5. Shishir says:

    The gpa asked in Ms profile is the average of 4 years or just the final year of engineering?

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