Costing, Scholarship, and Free Education for High School International Students in the US

Posted on December 8, 2023 By Mathew Berg

For international high school students, studying in the USA offers exciting opportunities. Still, it also comes with its set of financial challenges. These expenses are not limited to tuition; they include living costs, books, and other essentials.

However, scholarships offer a viable solution to manage these expenses. They are available in various forms, such as need-based or merit-based, and can significantly reduce the financial burden.

An important step in this process is the high school transcript evaluation, which helps schools understand a student's academic performance in the context of their local education system.

Understanding these costs and the available financial aid options is crucial. It helps international students plan better and take advantage of the educational opportunities in the USA.

What Are The Typical High School Fees In The USA For International Students?

The typical high school fees in the USA for international students can differ significantly depending on several factors.

This is how school fees in the USA for international students go according to different institutions:

Public High Schools:

  • Generally, public high schools in the USA charge minimal fees for local residents.
  • However, for international students, these schools may have additional costs.
  • Some public schools may charge international students tuition to attend, especially if they are on an F-1 visa.
  • This tuition can range from about $3,000 to $10,000 per year.

Private High Schools:

  • Private high schools are usually more expensive, with tuition fees for international students typically ranging from $10,000 to $35,000 per year. 
  • Some elite boarding schools’ fees can even exceed $50,000 per year.
  • These fees often include tuition, room, and board. Still, additional costs for books, uniforms, extracurricular activities, and other expenses may be extra.

Additional Expenses:

  • Apart from tuition, international students should also consider other costs such as health insurance, personal expenses, travel costs to and from the USA, and possibly a host family fee if they stay with a host family.
  • These additional expenses can add several thousand dollars to the overall cost.

Financial Aid and Scholarships:

  • Some colleges and schools offer financial aid or scholarships to international students, but these are often limited and highly competitive.

International students should research specific schools they are interested in to understand better the costs involved.

What Factors Influence The Variation In School Fees In USA For International Students?

The variation in high school fees in the USA for international students can be credited to several key factors:

Type of School (Public vs. Private):

Public schools often have lower fees than private schools. While public schools might charge international students, these fees are usually less than those of private institutions. Private schools, on the other hand, can be significantly more expensive, offering specialized programs and facilities.


The school’s geographic location plays a crucial role in determining the cost. Schools in urban areas or states with a higher cost of living (like New York or California) typically charge more than those in rural or less expensive regions.

Boarding vs. Day School:

Boarding schools, where students live on campus, usually have higher fees as they include room and board. In contrast, day schools, where students return home each evening, typically have lower costs.

Program Offerings:

Schools that offer specialized programs (like International Baccalaureate (I.B.), Advanced Placement (A.P.) courses, or unique extracurricular activities) may have higher fees to cover the costs of these programs.

Additional Costs:

Beyond tuition, fees can also vary based on additional costs like uniforms, textbooks, technology fees, extracurricular activity fees, and other miscellaneous expenses.

Financial Aid and Scholarships:

The availability of financial aid or scholarships can also influence the net cost for international students. Some schools might offer more robust financial aid packages, which can effectively reduce overall expenses.

These factors contribute to the change in schooling costs across the United States. This makes it necessary for international students and their families to thoroughly research and consider these aspects when planning their education in the USA.

What Are The Scholarship Opportunities Available For International Students?

International students can access various scholarship opportunities in the U.S. These opportunities vary in eligibility, award amounts, and application requirements.

Here are some common types of scholarships available:

Merit-Based Scholarships:

  • These are given based on a student’s academic, artistic, or athletic achievements. 
  • Many schools and independent organizations offer merit-based scholarships to international students with exceptional skills or accomplishments.

Need-Based Scholarships:

  • These are designed for students who demonstrate a financial need. 
  • Some schools and organizations assess the financial situation of the student and their family to determine eligibility for these scholarships.

Country-Specific Scholarships:

  • Certain scholarships are available exclusively to students from specific countries.
  • Governments, private institutions, or international organizations can offer these.

Subject-Specific Scholarships:

  • Some scholarships are available for students planning to pursue studies in specific fields, such as science, technology, engineering, arts, or mathematics.

University-Specific Scholarships:

  • Many universities in the USA offer scholarships specifically for their international students. 
  • These scholarships are given on the basis of merit, need, or a combination of factors.

Private Organizations and Foundations:

  • Numerous private establishments offer scholarships for international students.
  • These can range from small, community-based institutions to large multinational corporations.

Government-Funded Scholarships:

  • Some governments provide scholarships for international students to study abroad. 
  • Examples include the Fulbright Program in the USA and scholarships offered by the student’s home country governments.

Scholarships from Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs):

  • NGOs and international organizations often offer scholarships, especially for students from developing countries. 
  • It is also offered to international students pursuing studies in areas like human rights, development, or environmental conservation.

What Are The Free Public High School Options For International Students?

Free public high school prospects for international students in the United States are limited and have specific conditions.

Free Public High School Options

Exchange Programs:

Organizations like Rotary International or government-sponsored programs facilitate these exchanges. Students usually stay with a host family and attend school for a period ranging from a semester to a year.

Living with a Relative or Legal Guardian:

If an international student has a relative or legal guardian who is a resident in a particular school district, they may attend the public high school in that district for free.

Specific Scholarships or Grants:

In rare cases, scholarships or grants might be available that cover the cost of attending a public high school in the U.S.

Why Does High School Transcript Evaluation Play An Important Role For Foreign Students?

High school evaluation becomes a crucial part of the process for international students considering these options for several reasons:


It helps U.S. schools understand a student’s academic history for eligibility and grade placement by converting their records to a U.S. format.

Course and Credit Recognition:

Schools use it to match a student’s previous coursework with U.S. standards, ensuring they meet graduation requirements.

Program Eligibility:

It assists schools in determining if a student qualifies for specific courses or programs, like Advanced Placement.

Scholarship Applications:

An evaluated transcript is crucial for scholarship considerations, as it provides a clear view of a student’s academic performance.

In Conclusion

As an international student looking to study in the USA, it's important to do your homework. Take the time to understand the costs, look into scholarships, and get your transcripts in order.

The more you know, the better you'll be able to make the most of what's available to you. Remember, every effort you put in now will help you on your exciting journey. So, go ahead and make the most of these opportunities – they're yours for the taking!

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