A big part of the planning process when you’re going to study abroad, is understanding the financial landscape and getting the right insurance coverage. On this page you can find information about; Cost of Living in Denmark, Financing your studies in the US, Cost of Living in the US, Insurance and Financial documentation to get the J-1 visa

Prospective American Fulbrighters wondering how to budget for their stay in Denmark can have a look here, where we have put together a brief overview of living expenses.

Financing your studies in the US

It should be noted that it is expensive to study in the U.S.; it can cost between DKK 250,000-400,000 per year (everything included) for students pursuing a full degree.

There are various ways to finance your stay

SU and SU-loan – The State Educational Grant and Loan Scheme can be taken with you to the U.S. as long as courses of study meet the same conditions and criteria for recognition as Danish ones, and the qualifications acquired are usable in Denmark. But it is not possible to get SU the first year of an American Bachelor’s degree.

Udlandsstipendium – The State Educational Study Abroad Scholarship can be applied for by graduate students for up to two years if you qualify for SU.

Fulbright student grants (only for graduate students) – you might be eligible to apply for the Fulbright scholarships.

Danish grants and scholarships – There are many grants available for graduate level studies. Most Danish grants can be found using the following databases: Legatbogen and StuderendeOnline.

Work as a Teaching Assistant or Research assistant.

American scholarships – Some U.S. universities have scholarships available.

Personal savings or loan.

Cost of living in the US

When you are deciding where in the US you want to go, it is important to take the area and the cost of living into account – especially how much you are willing and able to spend on rent. Rent levels in the US vary greatly depending on the area and can be very high in larger cities. If you are going to a major US city be prepared to commute, especially if you are going to a city such as NYC or San Francisco, where rents will skyrocket as you get closer to downtown. Consider your budget and weigh that against how far you are willing to commute. Take a look at Housing in the US to see some examples of how much you should expect to pay in rent.

Looking at the US as a whole, living expenses such as groceries, clothes etc., are lower on average than in Denmark, though not by much in larger university cities that tend to attract a more affluent crowd. A significant difference between Denmark and the US is that take-out is almost as cheap as cooking your own meals, something which Americans take advantage of several times a week.

Fulbright Denmark is committed to ensuring the well-being of our participants through robust stipends that keep pace with inflation and the ever-increasing costs of higher education in the United States.

The Institute of International Education (IIE), our partner organization in the United States, has examined the cost of living in the cities where the majority of Fulbrighters reside, gathering quantitative data on consumer price indices as well as qualitative data from current participants and host institutions.

You can see the required monthly maintenance rates (MMR) here, showing how much money you will need per month at the destination of your choice:

Please note that a dependent (i.e. a spouse or child), requires an additional 50% extra on top of your own MMR. Consequently, for a family of three, you would have to double the MMR amount. These amounts must be met prior to departure, so you can get your DS-2019 form and subsequently your visa.


It is recommended that all Danes buy insurance coverage for their time in the U.S. as it can be extremely expensive to go to the doctor or be hospitalized in the U.S. Therefore, you should secure insurance for the entire duration of your stay. Some universities will require that you buy their insurance; however, if possible we recommend that you obtain a Danish insurance as the coverage is usually better.

Within the Fulbright program, grantees are required to have adequate insurance coverage. A Fulbright grantee will automatically receive a so-called Accident and Sickness Program for Exchanges (ASPE) coverage. This coverage is minimal, therefore the grantee needs to secure Danish insurance that can cover, e.g. liability insurance and repatriation; it is also acceptable to take out American insurance if the coverage is equal to Danish insurance.

Financial documentation to get the J-1 visa

Grantees who begin their visa process in collaboration with Fulbright Denmark must provide financial documentation in order to be eligible for a Fulbright sponsored J-1 visa to the U.S.

You have to live up to certain amounts, also called the Monthly Maintenance Rates (MMR). These amounts are individually calculated – depending on your city of destination and host university (expensive vs. inexpensive). We have included some examples below.

  • Master student, degree-seeking, 10 months, single, New York City: USD 99,000
  • PhD student, non-degree seeking, 5 months, spouse + 1 child, Boston: USD 35,000
  • Scholar, 10 months, spouse + 2 children, San Diego: USD 50,000

The documentation for the required amounts may include savings, in-kind contributions (i.e. secured sponsorships, fee waivers from the host institution or similar) and other scholarships or stipends that you have received at the time of the visa application. The amounts have to be a guaranteed income and officially documented.

  • If you are a Ph.D. student or scholar travelling with full pay, your salary will also count towards the required amount.
  • If you are a Master’s student, please notice that SU loans, and future SU income only count, if officially documented by the SU Styrelsen.

Most Fulbright grantees will have to source extra income through a variety of other scholarships in order to live up to the financial requirements.