Wyoming is the Most Affordable US State for International Students

Wyoming is the Most Affordable US State for International Students

Sabrina Collier

Updated January 7, 2024 Updated January 07

The mountainous western state of Wyoming has been ranked as the most cost-effective US state for international students, according to a report published by Finder.com using research from the Institute of International Education (IIE).

The report found Wyoming’s 1,157 international students spend an average of US$19,015 each per year on their education and living expenses – less than half what they’d spend in one of the more expensive states.

Offering the least expensive education and living costs, Wyoming is the second most sparsely populated state in the US after Alaska, home to an estimated 586,107 people – less than many US cities.

Interestingly, the list of the top 10 most affordable states includes four of Wyoming’s neighboring states: South Dakota, Utah, Idaho and Nebraska, as seen in the table below:

Most cost effective states for international students


No. of international students

Total spent per student

1. Wyoming



2. South Dakota



3. North Dakota



4. Mississippi



5. Texas



6. Utah



7. Kansas



8. New Mexico



9. Idaho



10. Nebraska




Over one million international students are currently studying in the US, over 31% of which are from China, while other top countries of origin include India, Saudi Arabia and South Korea.

Unfortunately there’s a slight catch - university options in Wyoming are relatively limited, with only one public four-year university, the University of Wyoming, which is based in the city of Laramie. There’s also the private Wyoming Catholic College in Lander, while state capital Cheyenne hosts a branch of the for-profit University of Phoenix.

A broader range of higher education institutions can be found in Texas – the second-largest state both in area and population, which ranks fifth for cost-effectiveness. Texas’ largest city, Houston, was a new entry in the QS Best Student Cities index this year at 92nd and offers lower living costs than many other large US cities.

Most expensive US states

At the other end of the scale, Finder.com also found that international students in Vermont have the most expensive education in the US, with the average student paying $43,925 in 2016.

According to their study, the top five most expensive states for international students are:


No. of international students

Total per student




Rhode Island



District of Columbia









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This article was originally published in March 2017 . It was last updated in January 2020

Written by

The former Assistant Editor of TopUniversities.com, Sabrina wrote and edited articles to guide students from around the world on a wide range of topics. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University and grew up in Staffordshire, UK. 

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