Most students are very excited on their bonvoyage to the US. It would be wise for them to plan and prepare for their course work ahead of them. By contacting the department’s graduate advisor, searching through various faculty course web pages combined with the program requirements, students can come up with an informal list of textbooks that they may find handy. Of course, with amazon and online material, costs related to textbooks have become more manageable. However, many courses still require students to buy textbooks.
By talking to current students and collecting all the details, students may buy cheaper international versions of these textbooks in their native countries. Like I mentioned before, most of the information is available via program requirements and faculty course web pages.
Students from non CS background (graduate degrees) would require prerequisites that would involve undergraduate course work. Again, by finding the information needed via the graduate coordinator or their advisors, students have save thousands of dollars on textbooks.