There has never been any charge for the Buddha's Teachings. However, there is a suggested contribution of $300 ($150 for unwaged persons) for a ten-day course which is put towards food and operating costs.
Wholesome and tasty vegetarian food is provided, and those who follow a diet for medical reasons will be accommodated as far as possible.
For a person who is genuinely interested, meditation (including Noble Silence) is not difficult. If one follows the instructions diligently, one can be sure of tangible results. The day's schedule is neither too severe nor too relaxed but follows the Middle Path. Sayagyi U Ba Khin taught his students to work with "zestful ease".
No, you only need an open mind and the intention to give the technique a fair trial.
It is possible to come just for the first weekend and practice the first two steps of morality and concentration.