Tuition and Cost to Attend California State University-San Marcos

Annual Total Cost

The total list price for in-state California residents to go to California State University-San Marcos is $21,770 for the 2014/2015 academic year. Out-of-state students who don't possess California residence can expect a one year cost of $32,930.

Undergraduate Tuition

California State University San Marcos tuition is $5,472 per year for in-state residents. This is 15% cheaper than the national average public four year tuition of $6,429. The cost is $15,162 and 73% cheaper than the average California tuition of $20,634 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 $1,697 in addition to tuition bringing the total effective in-state tuition to $7,169.

Housing Costs

On campus room and board is provided by the school at a cost of $12,855 per academic year. Students electing to live off campus elsewhere in San Marcos should budget at least this amount.

Books and Supplies

The estimated annual cost for books and supplies is $1,746.

All price data are reprinted from the U.S. Department of Education's 2014-2015 and 2013-2014 IPEDS Survey and represent reported costs for the 2014-2015 and 2013-2014 academic years.

Costs and Tuition for California State University San Marcos
Expenditure Price
California Resident Total Cost $21,770
   In-State Tuition$5,472
   Other Fees$1,697
   Room and Board$12,855
   Books and Supplies$1,746
Non-Resident Total Cost $32,930
   Out-of-State Tuition$16,632
   Other Fees$1,697
   Room and Board$12,855
   Books and Supplies$1,746


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 $21,770 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 California State University-San Marcos net price for in-state students $11,133* for the 2013/2014 academic year. This net price includes housing and meal expenses.

Pell Grants and other Grant Aid

57% of California State University San Marcos students received grant aid in 2013/2014. The average total aid amount was $9,038. 45 percent of students received aid in the form of Pell Grants from the U.S. Federal Government. The average Pell Grant awarded for 2013/2014 was $4,495. To apply for a Pell Grant to attend California State University San Marcos, the first step is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Net Price and Financial Aid for California State University San Marcos
Financial Aid Summary
Average Annual Net Price$11,133*
Percent of Students Receiving Grant Aid57%
Average Total Grant Aid$9,038
Percent of Students Receiving Pell Grants45%
Average Amount of Pell Grant Aid$4,495

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 reported for the 2013-2014 academic year.

Family Income Avg. Net Price
$0 to $30,000$8,427
$30,001 to $48,000$10,190
$48,001 to $75,000$13,862
$75,001 to $110,000$18,845

Average Financial Aid Mix - $21,770 In-State Total Cost

CollegeCalc has estimated typical coverage of the annual in-state tuition and living expenses of $21,770. Breakdown is based on average grant aid and federal loan aid which will vary based on your family income.


Grants and Scholarships

 42% - $9,038

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

Federal Loans

 23% - $5,107

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

Out of Pocket

 35% -  $7,625

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 2013-2014 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.

Tuition Comparison to Similar Public Colleges in the Region

School Cost vs. California State University San Marcos
California State University Fresno0% less expensive
Arizona State University73.3% more expensive
Northern Arizona University66.7% more expensive
University of California Merced105% more expensive
California State University Monterey Bay0% less 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 State University San Marcos.

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 California State University-San Marcos is $87,080 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 $8,502 in-state net price as the basis. Applying this cost over 4 would estimate the cost of a degree at $34,008**

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 $108,850 or $42,510 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 2013-2014 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

Estimated Cost Per Semester

Most colleges don't charge students on an annual basis but instead require payment semester by semester. If you ever need to take an additional semester of classes to complete you degree you shouldn't have to pay for a full academic year. These our estimated costs for a semester at California State University San Marcos.

California Resident Tuition Per Semester$2,736
California Resident Total Cost Per Semester$10,885
Non-California Resident Tuition Per Semester$8,316
Non-California Resident Total Cost Per Semester$16,465

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. 44% of California State University San Marcos students receive U.S. Federal Student Loans with an average annual Federal Loan aid amount of $5,107. The reported average student debt upon graduation is $20,637.

Example Loan Payments and Costs

How much are student loan payments for California State University San Marcos? 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 $34,008, 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 $41,882.53. This could be your effective total out of pocket cost of an education at California State University San Marcos. Note that this calculation assumes you don't pay full list price tuition, are part of the reported 57% of students at this school who receive financial aid and you are paying an average annual net price of $8,502. 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 State University San Marcos 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 State University San Marcos Student Loan Payments
Example Payments
Monthly Loan Payment$349.02
Amount Borrowed$34,008.00
Interest Rate4.3%
Term10 years
Number of Monthly Payments120
Total Interest Cost$7,874.53
Sum of All Payments over 10 years$41,882.53

Affording Student Loan Payments and Post Graduation Salary

Can I afford to attend California State University-San Marcos? 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 State University San Marcos, 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 $41,882.53 would be needed to afford a $349.02 monthly payment in the example $34,008.00 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 State University San Marcos in the future? In the past five years, this school's published in-state tuition and fee total rose from $3,092 to $6,596. This amounts to an average annual price increase of 22.7%. 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 $87,080.00. 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 State University San Marcos.

Annual4 Year Degree
Estimated Cost in 5 years for students enrolling in 2021$29,939$119,755
Estimated Cost in 10 years for students enrolling in 2026$38,210$152,841
Estimated Cost in 15 years for students enrolling in 2031 $48,767$195,069
Estimated Cost in 18 years for students enrolling in 2034 $56,454$225,817

Tuition History

What was tuition at California State University-San Marcos 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$4,650$15,810 27.4%
2009$3,650$13,820 8.2%
2008$3,374$13,544 9.1%
2007$3,092$13,262 1%
2006$3,062$13,232 10.3%
2005$2,776$12,946 15%
2004$2,414$9,831 34.4%
2003$1,796$9,269 0%
2002$1,796$8,635 5.3%
2001$1,706$8,348 1.9%
2000$1,674$9,014 1.9%
1999$1,642$9,022 -4.5%
1998$1,720$9,100 -11.1%
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 23.2%
1993$1,359$7,431 45.2%
1992$936$5,904 19.1%

Comparable Cost for Popular Majors

We've compared the out of state cost of the most popular undergraduate areas of study at California State University San Marcos 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 363 8% costlier
Liberal Arts and Sciences/Liberal Studies Bachelor's Degree 150 8% cheaper
Human Development and Family Studies, General Bachelor's Degree 112 1% cheaper
Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse Bachelor's Degree 109 3% costlier
Kinesiology and Exercise Science Bachelor's Degree 63 3% cheaper
Political Science and Government, General Bachelor's Degree 51 11% cheaper
Visual and Performing Arts, General Bachelor's Degree 30 9% cheaper
Health and Physical Education/Fitness, General Bachelor's Degree 29 3% costlier
Sociology Bachelor's Degree 27 10% cheaper
Computer Science Bachelor's Degree 27 11% cheaper
Social Sciences, General Bachelor's Degree 23 3% cheaper
Criminology Bachelor's Degree 14 8% cheaper
Mathematics, General Bachelor's Degree 11 9% cheaper
Psychology, General Bachelor's Degree 4 7% cheaper
Biochemistry Bachelor's Degree 4 20% cheaper
Mass Communication/Media Studies Bachelor's Degree 3 2% cheaper
Speech Communication and Rhetoric Bachelor's Degree 3 6% cheaper
Chemistry, General Bachelor's Degree 3 11% cheaper
Women's Studies Bachelor's Degree 2 21% cheaper
Multi-/Interdisciplinary Studies, Other Bachelor's Degree 2 11% cheaper
Spanish Language and Literature Bachelor's Degree 2 13% cheaper
English Language and Literature, General Bachelor's Degree 2 8% cheaper
Physics, Other Bachelor's Degree 2 20% cheaper
History, General Bachelor's Degree 2 9% cheaper
Anthropology Bachelor's Degree 1 17% cheaper
Economics, General Bachelor's Degree 1 16% cheaper
Biology/Biological Sciences, General Bachelor's Degree 1 8% cheaper


Use the calculators below to formulate a college savings plan for California State University San Marcos 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 State University San Marcos 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 State University San Marcos student loan.

Prepayment Option

About California State University San Marcos

California State University San Marcos is a four year public college located in San Marcos, California.  Full time enrollment is 7,626 and part time is 2,650.  For the 2011/2012 school year, the school received 9,979 applicants. 5,841 were admitted and 1,450 enrolled.

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

California State University San Marcos
333 S Twin Oaks Valley Rd
San Marcos, California

For Profit / Not For Profit Status

California State University San Marcos 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 State University San Marcos cost and financial aid data source: U.S. Department of Education https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?id=366711 IPEDS survey data.

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