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Annual Costs

Undergraduate Tuition

California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo tuition is $5,472 per year for in-state residents. This is 17% cheaper than the national average public four year tuition of $6,614. The cost is 74% cheaper than the average California tuition of $21,229 for 4 year colleges. Tuition ranks 26th in California amongst 4 year colleges for affordability and is the 156th most expensive 4 year college in the state. If attending from out-of-state, the tuition is $16,632 which represents a 204% premium.

The school charges an additional fees of $3,529 in addition to tuition bringing the total effective in-state tuition to $9,001.

Housing Costs

On campus room and board is provided by the school at a cost of $12,009 per academic year. Students electing to live off campus elsewhere in San Luis Obispo should budget at least this amount.

Books and Supplies

The estimated annual cost for books and supplies is $1,812.

Other Living Expenses

If living on-campus, students should budget for $2,592 in additional living expenses. Off-campus students should budget for $2,592 in other miscellaneous living expenses.

Total Costs

The total tuition and living expense budget for in-state California residents to go to Cal Poly is $25,414 for the 2015/2016 academic year. Out-of-state students who don't have California residence can expect a one year cost of $36,574.

Citation: Price data from the U.S. Department of Education's 2015-2016 and 2014-2015 IPEDS survey response for California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo and represent reported costs for the 2015-2016 and 2014-2015 academic years.

Costs and Tuition for California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo
Estimated Budgets
California Resident Total Budget $25,414
   In-State Tuition$5,472
   Other Fees$3,529
   Room and Board$12,009
   On-Campus Other Budget$2,592
   Books and Supplies$1,812
Non-Resident Total Budget $36,574
   Out-of-State Tuition$16,632
   Other Fees$3,529
   Room and Board$12,009
   On-Campus Other Budget$2,592
   Books and Supplies$1,812

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What it Really Costs

Depending on many factors including student and parent income and assets, the total cost of attendance may be less than the $25,414 published price if scholarship or grant aid is made available to you.

Net Price

The net out-of-pocket total cost you end up paying or financing though student loans is known as the net price. The reported Cal Poly net price for in-state students is $16,783* for the 2014/2015 academic year. This net price includes housing and meal expenses.

Pell Grants and other Grant Aid

37% of California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo students received grant aid in 2014/2015. The average total aid amount was $6,455. 13 percent of students received aid in the form of Pell Grants from the U.S. Federal Government. The average Pell Grant awarded for 2014/2015 was $4,202. To apply for a Pell Grant to attend California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, the first step is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Net Price and Financial Aid for California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo
Financial Aid Summary
Average Annual Net Price$16,783*
Percent of Students Receiving Grant Aid37%
Average Total Grant Aid$6,455
Percent of Students Receiving Pell Grants13%
Average Amount of Pell Grant Aid$4,202

Average Net Price for In-State Students by Family Income

The average net total cost of attendance for different levels of family income after federal, state or local government, institutional grant and scholarship aid are awarded. Data last published for the 2014/2015 academic year.

Family Income Avg. Net Price
$0 to $30,000$10,611
$30,001 to $48,000$12,644
$48,001 to $75,000$16,508
$75,001 to $110,000$21,388
$110,000+$23,528

Average Financial Aid Mix - $25,414 In-State Total Cost

CollegeCalc has estimated typical coverage of the annual in-state tuition and living expenses of $25,414. Breakdown is based on average grant aid and federal loan aid which will vary based on your family income.

28%
23%
48%

Grants and Scholarships

 28% - $6,455

Money granted to you by the U.S. Department of Education, California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo or other organizations. These are not loans and do not need to be repaid.

Federal Loans

 23% - $5,319

Low interest student loans funded by the U.S. Department of Education. This amount will need to be repaid.

Out of Pocket

 48% -  $11,048

Covered by family savings, work or private student loans which you will have to repay.


*Reported Average Annual Net Price for in state students receiving grant or scholarship aid reported to the U.S. Department of Education's Academic Year 2014-2015 IPEDS Survey. Financial aid is only available to those who qualify. Consult this school's net price calculator for further understanding of your potential net price.

Note that for colleges with no reported on-campus room and board, the average net price has been increased to account for living expenses. This number may not only reflect the net price paid to the school for tuition.

Is it Worth the Cost?

To make a comparative assessment if Cal Poly is worth the price, measures of it's relative value for tuition dollar can be examined. We've calculated an academic national percentile rating of 91/100 for California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo. Considering an average net price paid of $15,253, this leads to an overall value ranking of 81/100. This places the school 33rd on our national Best Value Colleges ranking as a provider of a very high value education compared to actual overall price paid.

Tuition Comparison to Similar Public Colleges in the Region

School Cost vs. California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo
University of California Santa Barbara105% more expensive
University of California Irvine105% more expensive
University of California Davis105% more expensive
University of California San Diego105% more expensive

Cost of a Degree

When considering ability to pay for college, the annual cost is often discussed but it's the "all in" multi-year degree cost which matters in the end. Let's take a look at what it could really cost for four years at California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo.

Estimated 4 Year Cost at Published Tuition

At the current published rates, an estimated total tuition, fees and living expense price for a 4 year bachelor's degree at Cal Poly is $101,656 for students graduating in normal time. This methodology for estimating the 4 year cost is a straight multiple of the most recent reported annual total cost and does not factor in tuition increases during the time you're in school. It also assumes you receive no grant or scholarship aid and pay the full list price.

A potentially more accurate but less conservative estimate of a degree cost can be made by using the school's annual $15,253 in-state net price as the basis. Applying this cost over 4 would estimate the cost of a degree at $61,012**

If you end up on the "five year plan" and need an additional year to graduate, your five year cost could be as high as $127,070 or $76,265 using an average net price.

**Based on a 4 year multiple of Average Annual Net Price for in state students receiving grant or scholarship aid reported to the U.S. Department of Education's 2014-2015 IPEDS Survey. Financial aid is only available to those who qualify. Consult this school's net price calculator for further understanding of your potential net price.

Other Costs

Student Loans and Debt

The second consideration after understanding the cost of college is determining how to finance it. Some students are fortunate enough to have some form of family financial assistance, but student loans end up financing a significant portion of higher education in the U.S. 28% of California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo students receive U.S. Federal Student Loans with an average annual Federal Loan aid amount of $5,319.

Example Loan Payments and Costs

How much are student loan payments for California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo? Obviously this varies based on a number of factors - offsetting financial aid you receive, percentage of fee you pay upfront while enrolled and the interest rate on your loans. We've modeled a sample student loan based on current Stafford loan rates to give you an approximate idea.

The following are the costs for a loan if you borrowed $61,012, 100% of the estimated average net price for a four year program and paid nothing while enrolled. The total of all payments including interest would sum $75,139.28. This could be your effective total out of pocket cost of an education at California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo. Note that this calculation assumes you don't pay full list price tuition, are part of the reported 37% of students at this school who receive financial aid and you are paying an average annual net price of $15,253. If you do not financially qualify for a reduced net price, your student loan payments could be significantly higher than this example. Use our California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo student loan calculator below to change loan assumptions and recalculate.

Student loans are not free money and must be repaid. You cannot dismiss student loans by via bankruptcy.

California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo Student Loan Payments
Example Payments
Monthly Loan Payment$626.16
Amount Borrowed$61,012.00
Interest Rate4.3%
Term10 years
Number of Monthly Payments120
Total Interest Cost$14,127.28
Sum of All Payments over 10 years$75,139.28

Affording Student Loan Payments and Post Graduation Salary

Can I afford to attend Cal Poly? In the end, the answer comes down a determination if you will earn enough to comfortably pay back a student loan with your post graduation salary. This is an extremely important point to consider. In order to afford student loan payments and still meet all your other costs of living, it is recommended not to borrow more than you can pay back using 10% of your monthly income earned after graduation. If you're considering attending California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, you need to carefully consider if it will be realistic to make the post graduation loan payments based on your expected salary.

Using the 10% of salary threshold, an annual income of $75,139.28 would be needed to afford a $626.16 monthly payment in the example $61,012.00 loan modeled above. You will need to determine if it is at all realistic that you will be earning this type of salary after graduation. This assumes a loan payback over 10 years. You can change the terms of this example loan using the student loan calculator below.

Estimated Future Cost and Expected Tuition Increase

What will it cost to send your child to California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo in the future? Nationally, university tuition prices are rising around 5% per year. Looking out five, ten, fifteen or eighteen years, these are CollegeCalc's estimates how much you could expect to pay for a 4 year degree assuming tuition increases at the national average rate. Estimated future prices are based on the current in-state 4 year cost of $101,656.00. Use the college savings plan calculator below to perform a more comprehensive analysis on future costs and how much you will need to save for California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo.

Annual4 Year Degree
Estimated Cost in 5 years for students enrolling in 2022$34,950$139,801
Estimated Cost in 10 years for students enrolling in 2027$44,606$178,425
Estimated Cost in 15 years for students enrolling in 2032 $56,930$227,721
Estimated Cost in 18 years for students enrolling in 2035 $65,904$263,615

Tuition History

What was tuition at Cal Poly five, ten, fifteen or twenty years ago? Hop into our time machine and take a look. Pay attention to how aggressive the school has been with price increases the past as it provides indication as to how the school may raise tuition in the next few years if you enrolled. Historical tuition and fees for all available data years back to 1988 follows.

YearIn-StateOut-of-stateAnnual Increase
2010$6,498$17,658 28.9%
2009$5,043$15,213 7.5%
2008$4,689$14,859 7.8%
2007$4,349$14,519 2.4%
2006$4,245$14,415 6.8%
2005$3,974$14,144 13.3%
2004$3,508$11,460 23.9%
2003$2,832$10,878 30.6%
2002$2,169$9,205 1.9%
2001$2,129$9,197 0%
2000$2,129$9,509 -3.4%
1999$2,204$9,584 -1.1%
1998$2,228$9,608 15.1%
1997$1,935$9,315 2.3%
1996$1,891$9,271 2.1%
1995$1,853$9,233 10.7%
1994$1,674$9,054 3.6%
1993$1,616$7,688 72.6%
1992$936$5,904 -8.7%
1991$1,025$6,165 7.6%
1990$953$5,670 3%
1989$925$4,680 46.8%
1988$630$4,352 -18.6%
1987$774$1,902

Comparable Cost for Popular Majors

We've compared the out of state cost of the most popular undergraduate areas of study at California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo to the national average for all other colleges offering the same major. Use this comparison to determine particular programs where this school offers value relative to other colleges.

Area of Study Graduates vs National Avg
Business Administration and Management, General Bachelor's Degree 498 14% costlier
Mechanical Engineering Bachelor's Degree 176 8% cheaper
Animal Sciences, General Bachelor's Degree 144 6% costlier
Civil Engineering, General Bachelor's Degree 126 8% cheaper
Health and Physical Education/Fitness, General Bachelor's Degree 98 7% costlier
Liberal Arts and Sciences/Liberal Studies Bachelor's Degree 92 3% cheaper
Viticulture and Enology Bachelor's Degree 76 23% cheaper
Electrical and Electronics Engineering Bachelor's Degree 73 8% cheaper
Graphic Communications, General Bachelor's Degree 63 3% costlier
Parks, Recreation and Leisure Studies Bachelor's Degree 61 11% costlier
Computer Science Bachelor's Degree 59 7% cheaper
Industrial Engineering Bachelor's Degree 59 4% cheaper
City/Urban, Community and Regional Planning Bachelor's Degree 57 5% cheaper
Economics, General Bachelor's Degree 56 13% cheaper
Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical/Space Engineering Bachelor's Degree 56 15% cheaper
Psychology, General Bachelor's Degree 54 3% cheaper
Landscape Architecture Bachelor's Degree 51 4% cheaper
Computer Engineering, General Bachelor's Degree 45 8% cheaper
Industrial Technology/Technician Bachelor's Degree 44 29% costlier
Mathematics, General Bachelor's Degree 41 5% cheaper
Journalism Bachelor's Degree 36 0% costlier
Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering Bachelor's Degree 35 24% cheaper
Rhetoric and Composition Bachelor's Degree 32 5% costlier
Fine/Studio Arts, General Bachelor's Degree 31 10% cheaper
Social Sciences, General Bachelor's Degree 30 1% costlier
Engineering Science Bachelor's Degree 29 18% cheaper
Ornamental Horticulture Bachelor's Degree 28 3% costlier
Early Childhood Education and Teaching Bachelor's Degree 25 11% costlier
Agricultural Teacher Education Bachelor's Degree 24 17% costlier
Natural Resources Management and Policy, Other Bachelor's Degree 24 4% costlier
Dairy Science Bachelor's Degree 23 7% costlier
Food Science Bachelor's Degree 20 1% cheaper
Materials Engineering Bachelor's Degree 18 19% cheaper
Environmental/Environmental Health Engineering Bachelor's Degree 18 18% cheaper
Forestry, General Bachelor's Degree 15 3% costlier
Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities, Other Bachelor's Degree 14 8% cheaper
Agronomy and Crop Science Bachelor's Degree 14 8% costlier
Computer Software Engineering Bachelor's Degree 13 0% cheaper
Agricultural Engineering Bachelor's Degree 8 6% cheaper
Manufacturing Engineering Bachelor's Degree 8 0% cheaper
Philosophy Bachelor's Degree 7 14% cheaper
Geological and Earth Sciences/Geosciences, Other Bachelor's Degree 7 17% cheaper
Ethnic, Cultural Minority, Gender, and Group Studies, Other Bachelor's Degree 7 21% cheaper
Foreign Languages and Literatures, General Bachelor's Degree 7 3% cheaper
Social Sciences, Other Bachelor's Degree 6 17% cheaper
Agricultural Mechanization, General Bachelor's Degree 6 17% costlier
Dietetics/Dietitian Bachelor's Degree 4 5% costlier
Agricultural Business and Management, General Bachelor's Degree 3 12% costlier
English Language and Literature, General Bachelor's Degree 3 3% cheaper
Statistics, General Bachelor's Degree 3 14% cheaper
Business Administration, Management and Operations, Other Bachelor's Degree 3 14% costlier
Music, General Bachelor's Degree 2 6% cheaper
History, General Bachelor's Degree 2 5% cheaper
Chemistry, General Bachelor's Degree 2 7% cheaper
Microbiology, General Bachelor's Degree 2 1% cheaper
Sociology Bachelor's Degree 1 6% cheaper
Soil Science and Agronomy, General Bachelor's Degree 1 0% cheaper
Political Science and Government, General Bachelor's Degree 1 7% cheaper
Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts, General Bachelor's Degree 1 8% cheaper
Biochemistry Bachelor's Degree 1 16% cheaper
Ecology Bachelor's Degree 1 10% cheaper
Horticultural Science Bachelor's Degree 1 6% costlier
Construction Engineering Bachelor's Degree 1 0% cheaper
Biology/Biological Sciences, General Bachelor's Degree 1 4% cheaper
Architecture Bachelor's Degree 1 18% cheaper
Physics, General Bachelor's Degree 1 12% cheaper
Architectural Engineering Bachelor's Degree 1 9% cheaper

Calculators

Use the calculators below to formulate a college savings plan for California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo or model a student loan.

College Savings Calculator

Plan and Save for College

Discover how much will you need to start saving now to afford California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo in the future.

Student Loan Calculator

Estimate Loan Payments

Modify the loan assumptions to fit your financial situation and likely tuition price. Then calculate your payoff and loan payments for a California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo student loan.

Prepayment Option

About California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo

California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo is a four year public college located in San Luis Obispo, California.  Full time enrollment is 19,982 and part time is 962.

Students attending this school may pursue both undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Address
California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo
One Grand Ave
San Luis Obispo, California
93407

For Profit / Not For Profit Status

California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo is a public not for profit institution. Public schools often represent the best value for your education dollar, especially when students qualify for in-state tuition.

California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo cost and financial aid data source: U.S. Department of Education https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?id=110422 IPEDS survey data.

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