Skip to main content

Student cost comparison: NI versus USA

Just how much cheaper is uni life in Northern Ireland compared to the USA? MBA student Clare Rhine crunched the numbers.

The beauty of Northern Ireland reminds me of the beautiful landscapes of America’s Pacific Northwest I remember from my childhood. But stunning pictures on my Insta grid was not the only thing that drew me to Northern Ireland. In fact, one of the reasons I chose to come and study at Queen’s was the astronomical cost of studying in my native USA.

 Clare draws comparisons between America's Pacific Northwest (above) and the stunning Northern Ireland landscape (below)

Not convinced?

I went ahead and made a couple of cost comparisons for the Pacific Northwest vs Queen’s University, Belfast for a typical undergraduate student. The schools listed below are located in either Oregon or Washington and are some of the more popular schools in the PNW. Even with the currency exchange, the cost is astronomically different (even if the landscape and beautiful scenery is incredibly similar).

Food Cost Comparisons: Pacific Northwest to Northern Ireland

Pacific Northwest (Fred Meyer’s)

Northern Ireland (Tesco)





Signature Whole Wheat Bread 14.5 oz

$1.99 (£1.55)

Tesco Multiseed Batch 800G

£0.79 ($1.01)

Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice

$2.99 (£2.33)

Tesco Microwave Long Grain Rice

£0.60 ($0.77)

Dole Caesar Salad


$3.79 (£2.95)

Tesco Caesar Salad 262G

£1.85 ($2.37)

Coca Cola 12 pk

$5.89 (£4.59)

Coca Cola 12 pk

£4.50 ($5.77)

Tropicana Orange Juice

$3.79 (£2.95)

Tropicana Orange Juice

£2.00 ($2.57)

Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate

$5.79 (£4.51)

Cadbury Hot Chocolate

£2.00 ($2.57)

Large AA Eggs 12ct

$1.59 (£1.24)

Lg Eggs 12ct

£1.89 ($2.42)

Milk 2% 1/2 gal

(or 1.89L)

$1.89 (£1.47)

Tesco Semi Skimmed Milk 2.272L

£1.09 ($1.40)

Potato (each)

$0.38 (£0.30)

Potato (each)

£0.16 ($0.21)


Prices above quoted from Fred Meyer and Tesco websites 

Currency conversion November 2019

Housing & Tuition Cost Comparisons*:




Tuition (International Student Costs)

Queen’s University Belfast

Studio w/private bathroom & kitchen

£7,599 (51 weeks)

$9,747.24 (51 weeks)



Oregon State University

Single w/private bath no kitchen

£10.524.67 (year)

$13,500 (year)



Washington State University

No description given, this is just the top cost for housing alone with no dining plan

£7,643.25 (year)

$9,804 (year)



Pacific University

3 person apt w/shared kitchen and individual bedrooms

£7,930.15 (year per person)

$10,172 (year per person)



Willamette University (Private)

Single w/private bathroom

£3,422.27 (per semester)

$4,390 (per semester)



University of Oregon

Large single w/private bath including unlimited meal plan

£15,632.65 (year)

$20,052 (year)



Off Campus, OSU

Studio apt, off campus w/private bathroom & kitchen NOT including utilities and unfurnished.

£775 (monthly)

$995 (monthly)

£39,561 (51 weeks)

$50,745 (51 weeks)


*Fees quoted for each university are their listed costs for Undergraduate students for one year of study. I went with the most expensive options housing. Keep in mind, most American schools require that students also purchase a dining plan and do not have their own kitchens (the dining plans are not reflected here). There are also different prices for state residents vs out-of-state students; for this table I only looked at international student costs. These prices were taken directly from each school’s website.

Discover more about Queen's Accomodation