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United States of America

The United States of Ameria is a nation of great diversity. It is made up of many different subcultures and belief systems. All states have something to offer the international student. With over 3500 institutions of post-secondary education, there are many options available to satisfy every academic interest as well as learning environment and style.

  • Education USA, provides practical information to prepare your transition from Australia to the U.S.A.


Higher Education

Post-secondary education, also known as college or university in the United States typically consists of four years of undergraduate study although many students also pursue two-year associate degrees at community colleges and transfer into four-year colleges on completion of their two-year qualification. Unlike the Australian educational system, U.S. students generally take “broad field” courses before committing to their specific area of study or major. Following the bachelor’s degree, students can pursue postgraduate study at either public or private institutions. Professional subjects such as law and medicine are studied at the postgraduate level. Master’s degrees typically take two years to complete and PhD’s take between four and seven years to complete. The academic year runs from August/September to April/May. College Navigator is an online tool that allows the user to search insitutions using a range of criteria.

American Association of Community Colleges website provides a thorough listing of community colleges along with enrolment statistics.

Work and internships


Policy concerning employment while studying in the United States changes frequently. It is advisable to contact your host’s international student services department or the Department of State’s website before committing to any kind of employment


Information about internships in the US can be found at the Debt website website.



The Debt website provides a Budgeting 101 for College Students.

Tuition fees

U.S. university tuition differs depending on the type of institution you attend. Australian students enrolled in a U.S. exchange program pay their home tuition rather than the American tuition fees. You will need to budget for living and travel expenses. The Big Future website provides average annual costs of tuition and other costs.

Accessing money

University credit unions will accommodate international students with necessary bank accounts. Virtually all U.S. cities have ATM’s so dollars can be withdrawn from an Australian bank account. Major cities also have currency exchange booths. Popular credit cards include Visa & MasterCard. Reliable and secure internet facilities are also available for your online banking needs

Scholarships and support

See Money matters for general information about scholarships and support.

Visas and insurance

Visas and entry

Information about US visas is available from the travel website. Simplistic instructions for acquiring a student visa can be found at the USA Student Visa website.

Healthcare and insurance

The United States government mandates health insurance for holders of the J-1 exchange visitor visa. There are however, no specific requirements for health insurance for F-1 and M-1 student visas. Nearly all U.S. institutions have minimum health insurance requirements for their international students. Please contact your host institution’s international student services department for more details.



The two most popular options for students are dormitories and off-campus apartments. Many Australians find the experience of living in the “dorms” one of the most enjoyable and distinctive characteristics of the American higher education culture. Check your host school’s website for detailed information on on-campus living. Off-campus apartments may provide you with a quieter environment, along with more independence. Information regarding various on-campus living options are available at College Board - a free online resource for local off-campus living. Categories include: private apartments, shared living, sublets and you can even post a wanted add.