The US is arguably the most preferred destination for international students. The country provides one of the best education and training along with excellent job opportunities. However, the cost of attending a US university is pretty high and that’s usually the biggest concern for many families along with the complexity of the college admission process. In this post, we will look at the best state universities in USA for Bachelors in computer science, engineering, business management & arts for international students in terms of affordability and earning potential.

US State (Public) Universities are a major attraction for International Students

The United States has been a centre of higher learning and education for over 300 years, ever since Harvard University was established in 1636 as a private university. Soon, other universities – both private and state/public universities – were established and, today, the US is famous for being the centre for the largest number of universities and colleges (i.e. higher education) in a single country.

There are far too many universities to name here: the US Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, indicates that there are close to 4,300 universities and colleges in the US (2017-18 figure). Most of these universities offer a large menu of courses to rival the best universities in the world, and US universities regularly appear in global university rankings.

[inbound_button font_size=”20″ color=”#e2f019″ text_color=”#080808″ icon=”arrow-circle-o-right” url=”” width=”” target=”_self”] Book a Consultation Session with a College Admission Counselor[/inbound_button]

Too Many Options for International Students

For students, that’s a large universe of universities to choose from for their higher education. The greatest benefit of this situation, of course, goes to students in the US who can find a university near their home – a ‘local’ university.

Best Affordable State Universities in USA

Especially during university ‘open days’, when universities invite prospective students and their parents to visit the universities on a guided tour, the first-hand knowledge helps students to assess and select a university of their choice. It’s also easier to come back home during holidays.

However, many US students also search for universities outside their local area or state to find universities and courses which ‘best fit’ their study and career objectives, as well as those which offer the best financial aid.

These US universities are a great source of knowledge, degrees, experiences, and career opportunities for students outside the US as well. Collectively termed as ‘international students’, students from all over the world (such as students from India) have sought higher education in US universities.

The US higher education sector for international students has been growing from the 1960s, and the last 20 years have witnessed significant growth. According to the 2020 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange (published in November 2020), over one million international students studied in US universities and colleges in 2019-20. Of these international students, 53% came from China (35%) and India (18%).

Popular US Universities for International Students

Needless to say, the US has been, and still is, the most popular destination for international students, including students from India. The question is: with so many universities to choose from, how do students decide which US university will be the right one for them?

Leaving aside the 8 Ivy League Schools (such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and others), which are desired by most Indian (international) students, there are, actually, thousands of US universities that offer quality education – and attract almost 2,00,000 students from India every year. Hundreds of these US universities are featured in global university rankings by systems such as Times Higher Education (THE), Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), ARWU (Shanghai Ranking), USNews, and others.

A bigger majority of these universities are US State or Public universities (because they are governed and funded by individual US states) that offer quality higher education at a reasonable cost. They are some of the best universities in the world.

Public / State Universities in USA

Besides quality higher education, these State or Public universities embrace international culture more freely. They welcome larger numbers of international students and, therefore, offer a multicultural environment to both local and international students.

Student interactions in peer groups lead to faster assimilation of American culture and teaching methodologies among international students and help them feel more at home in the US. Read 10 most selective state universities in USA.

They engender new friendships amongst students which carry on long into student careers, reinforced through alumni associations, giving international students a head start in networking opportunities that are so critical to professional development in later life.

Plus, these universities come with the advantage of location. Because there are so many State or Public universities across the US, there are one or more universities in the location of the students’ choice, offering a plethora of subjects (majors and minors), facilities, and wide-ranging budgets to suit individual needs.

Top Affordable Public / State Universities in USA for International Students

Co-authored by Tanmoy Ray

Get A Personalized College List For Yourself

Book a free session with Sunita Bose

Other Popular Rankings for State Universities in USA

US News ranking places a strong emphasis on student retention and graduation rates over things job placement and post-graduation salaries.

Forbes’ list of top public colleges prioritizes student success, so it features things like a school’s graduation rate and postgraduate employment.

QS Top Universities’ list of top State Universities in USA relies on four broad groups of parameters that include Employability, Diversity & Internationalization, Learning Experience, and Research.

Times Higher Education (along with the Wall Street Journal) uses the student survey data including students’ engagement with their studies, their interaction with their teachers, and their satisfaction with their experience.

Niche’s list of best US public universities uses student surveys to rank features like the campus, diversity, and party scene, which give a different view of a college than Forbes and US News.

Prepscholar’s list of top US public universities uses a mixture of Niche, Forbes, and US News rankings. Additionally, the list also gives extra consideration to schools with above-average graduation rates and financial aid offers.

Our List of Top Public Universities in USA

The table below displays data of 29 of these US State or Public universities selected on the basis of popularity and other parameters such as Acceptance Rate, SAT Score Range, Popular Courses at these universities, Annual Average Expenditure (Tuition and Boarding) for students, Annual Average Cost After Financial Aid, Median Annual Entry Salary (0 to 5 years) expected in jobs, and Median Annual Mid-Career Salary (expected after 10 years).

For the majority of international and Indian students, cost and financial aid are very critical. Hence, more weightage has been given to those two parameters.

[table id=73 /]


[inbound_button font_size=”20″ color=”#e2f019″ text_color=”#080808″ icon=”arrow-circle-o-right” url=”” width=”” target=”_self”] Book a 1-on-1 Consultation Session (30/60 minutes) with Sunita Bose[/inbound_button]

Advantages of Attending Public / State Universities in USA

  • The tuition fees are generally lower at the state universities in USA.
  • State universities are also generally larger than private schools, with tens of thousands of students rather than a few thousand.
  • State universities in USA are able to admit far more students, meaning they have less strict standards and higher acceptance rates.
  • State universities usually have more academic programs and student activities, as well as strong athletics programs.
  • Niche sectors or specific organizations might have a high number of alumni from local/nearby public schools.

For international students, the difficulty of the selection process is intensified as most of the search for universities and courses require to be done online, or through overseas phone calls. Virtual open days do help, but they are nothing like physically walking through a university campus and talking to other students, staff, and faculty members.

Application / Admission Counselling for State Universities in USA

Of course, the university selection process is not restricted to a table of information, which international students can use as their first step in research for universities in the US. The actual university selection and application process can be laborious: both difficult and time-consuming. And if you factor in application fees to multiple US universities, it can be expensive too.

Although university websites offer a lot of information and offer ways for students to directly apply to universities in the US, it helps to seek counselling locally from foreign education advisors and consultants to ease the process, discuss doubts, and remove confusions that occupy student minds.

Related Articles:

Best 85 Universities in USA that Offer Maximum Financial Aid to International Undergraduate Students

Best 46 Liberal Arts Colleges in USA for Financial Aid and Salary Potential


Sources: 1, 2, 3.

Translate »