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Cost of living in Boston as a student

Cost of living in Boston as a student

Uploaded on
Mar 3, 2023
Last updated on
Aug 12, 2023
Uploaded on
Mar 3, 2023
Last updated on
Aug 12, 2023
Cost Of Living In Boston As A Student 2023
Bos-ton a fun!

Boston is home to many things, from baked beans to beautiful historic sites; the city has so much to offer to its people. However, if you are planning to shift to the city, then you might want to know about the cost of living in Boston. Being so high on the list of the USA’s most educated cities, you might think the cost of living in Boston would also be high, but we are here to break it down for you. In this guide, we will tell you about Boston's living costs and how to reduce them. Keep reading to find a  detailed guide on the cost of living in Boston. 

About Boston

In the northeastern United States, Massachusetts Bay is home to the affluent city of Boston. It is not just the largest city in New England but is also the capital of the state of Massachusetts. Northeast's fastest-growing metro areas are rapidly advancing in the sectors of technology, medicine, and higher education. With an increasing population of over 684,379 people, Boston is the most populated city in Massachusetts and the 24th most populous city in the nation. It is considered a relatively safe city to live in and visit and is most recognised for its extensive American history, well-liked attractions, and mouthwatering cuisine. The 48.4 square mile city in Suffolk County is a great place to live and offers inhabitants a vibrant metropolitan atmosphere.


To begin, let's focus on your largest expense when it comes to the cost of living in Boston, and that is your tuition fees. The cost of tuition varies depending on the university and program you have chosen, and each university in Boston has its own unique cost of attendance. Additionally, you must factor in various fees associated with your education, such as registration, tuition, management, exams, and graduation costs. Please remember that the tuition fee varies according to the courses.

1. Harvard University

The US rankings for 2021 place Harvard University as the top university in the Country. The oldest higher education institution in the US, Harvard University, was established in 1636 and is now home to 23,731 students. Harvard is located in Cambridge, just like MIT, but it's close enough for students to hop across the river to check out the art scene and nightlife in Boston. The average tuition fee of the university is around $30,000 to $60,000. 

2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)   

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which is situated on 168 acres of land in Cambridge and faces Boston across the Charles River, is now ranked as the third-best university in the US by the USA rankings with over 11 thousand students onboard. Science and technology, as well as creativity and leadership, are a major focus at MIT. The average tuition fee of MIT is approx $30,000 to $60,000. 

3. Boston University  

Boston University, a private research institution situated in west Boston is now ranked 20th in the United States. Seven Nobel Laureates, including Martin Luther King Jr. and Elie Wiesel, as well as 35 Pulitzer Prize and six Academy Award winners, are among its graduates. With more than 300 degree options, the university now has over 16,900 undergraduate and over 15,600 graduate students enrolled. The average tuition fee of the University is around $30,000 to $70,000.

How can you save on tuition fees?

There are various ways to save on tuition fees and reduce the cost of living in Boston, regardless of whether you are already enrolled in a university or not. One of the most common methods is to apply for scholarships or grants, which can significantly reduce your overall Boston living costs. You may consider taking advantage of advanced placement courses or exams, potentially allowing you to earn college credit for less money than traditional coursework. Around 55% of Harvard University's undergraduate students receive financial aid scholarships, despite the university's tuition being among the costliest in the world. Whatever method you choose, it's essential to do your research and consider all options available to you to make the most informed decision possible.

Student accommodation costs 

The type of student housing you choose will play a crucial role in determining your total cost of living in Boston. You have several options to choose from, including on-campus and off-campus housing, private rentals, and purpose-built student accommodations (PBSAs). PBSAs are residential communities designed with students in mind, and they come fully equipped with all the necessary utilities. If you're looking for affordable and comfortable student accommodation in Boston, PBSAs are your best option. The approx student accommodation cost is around $1,000 to $2,500 per month. 

How can you save on student accommodation costs?

To lower your cost of living in Boston, you can consider sharing an apartment or house with roommates, as this can significantly reduce individual living expenses in Boston. Another approach is to opt for less expensive off-campus housing, which may require a longer commute but can ultimately save you money. Additionally, you can look into available student discounts for housing or negotiate rental prices with landlords. Finally, if you are eligible, you may consider applying for financial aid or scholarships that can help cover housing costs.

Travel Costs

It is essential that you take your travel expenses into account when calculating your cost of living in Boston. When it comes to Boston, is known for having a well-organized and reliable transportation system and a variety of public transit choices, including cabs, trains, and subways. 


Bus transportation is an important part of Boston's public transportation system, offering a reliable and affordable option for commuters and tourists alike. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) operates an extensive network of bus routes that serve the Greater Boston area, providing connections to subway and commuter rail lines.


In recent years, the MBTA has reintroduced tram service to some areas of the city. The Green Line, one of the four subway lines operated by the MBTA, includes several streetcar branches that run along busy streets and provide connections to popular destinations, such as Fenway Park and Boston University. While the trams can become crowded during peak hours, they offer a comfortable and efficient way to get around the city, with stops located close to many popular tourist destinations and neighborhoods. With affordable fares and frequent service, tram transportation in Boston is a great option for those who want to cut down their cost of living in Boston.

How can you save on travel costs?

Travel costs can add up quickly, especially if you're a student who got to know the cost of living in Boston. Fortunately, there are several ways to save on Boston's living costs. One option is to take advantage of public transportation systems, such as buses or trains, which are typically more affordable than driving a car or taking a taxi. If you need to drive, you can try carpooling with friends or classmates to split the cost of gas and parking. Additionally, you can consider biking or walking to your destination if it's feasible, which can not only save you money but also provide a healthy and eco-friendly alternative. Finally, you can look for discounts on transportation passes or tickets, such as student discounts or monthly passes, to save money in the long run. 

Food and Groceries

We cannot overlook the price of groceries and food while talking about the cost of living in Boston. Because they vary from person to person, these costs are more difficult to calculate. A student, though, will likely spend $110 - $160 per week on  food. The following is a list of some of the most frequent meals and shopping expenses for college students:

How can you save on your food expenses?

Food expenses can make up a significant portion of your overall living expenses in Boston, but there are many ways to save money on your food costs. One of the most effective methods to reduce your Boston living costs is to cook your meals at home rather than eating out or ordering in. This not only saves money but also allows you to control the ingredients and nutritional content of your meals. Additionally, you can save money by buying groceries in bulk, looking for sales and discounts and shopping discounts websites, and meal planning to reduce food waste. Another approach is to bring your lunch to school or work instead of buying it, which can, in turn, cut down your Boston living costs. 


You need to include the price of basic utilities when calculating the cost of living in Boston. On a basic level, utilities are required to keep your home operating efficiently. Depending on where you live and how frequently you use these utilities, the monthly cost of electricity, hot water, heating, and cooling can range from $230 to $270. WiFi typically costs between $60 and $80 a month.

How can you save on utilities?

Renting a flat with friends will lower your living expenses in Boston because utilities are paid by the household rather than by each individual. To reduce the cost of living, you might choose Boston student housing, where all utilities are included in the rent. All utilities are added to the bill at Harrington Housing Reservoir Towers, Boston, with a starting rate of $375 per week.

Miscellaneous Expenses

Your cost of living in Boston as a student will be considerably impacted by the money you spend on recreation. Your spending plan will cover the cost of your gym membership, shopping, outings, food cravings, museum visits, and sporting events. These costs could change based on your tastes, but if you save $70 to $100 every month, you should be able to afford the costs.

How can you cut down on these expenses?

Miscellaneous expenses can add up quickly and significantly impact your overall budget. However, there are several ways to reduce the cost of living in Boston. The cost of living in Boston as a student can be a little too much hence, it is important that students keep track of their expenses. One approach is to identify unnecessary or discretionary expenses and eliminate them. This may include subscriptions or memberships you no longer use, buying coffee or snacks daily, or impulse purchases. Additionally, you can limit your entertainment expenses by opting for free activities or events, such as hiking or visiting local museums. Finally, it's important to track your expenses regularly and adjust your budget as needed to ensure you're staying on track. With some planning and mindful spending habits, it's possible to cut down on miscellaneous expenses and save money in the long run.

We hope this blog helped you understand the cost of living in Boston and what you can do to reduce the expenses. Feel free to use this guide as a reference when you create your budget because managing your finances is not always simple. If you plan to study in the US, give Boston a try! There is a lot to see, do, and discover in Boston!

Frequently Asked Questions

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