Annual Costs

Undergraduate Tuition

University of California Santa Cruz tuition is $11,502 per year for in-state residents. This is 59% more expensive than the national average public four year tuition of $7,203. The cost is 52% cheaper than the average California tuition of $23,930 for 4 year colleges. Tuition ranks 47th in California amongst 4 year colleges for affordability and is the 98th most expensive 4 year college in the state. If attending from out-of-state, the tuition is $39,516 which represents a 244% premium.

The school charges an additional fees of $2,518 in addition to tuition bringing the total effective in-state tuition to $14,020.

Housing Costs

On campus room and board is provided by the school at a cost of $16,055 per academic year. Students electing to live off campus elsewhere in Santa Cruz should budget at least this amount.

Books and Supplies

The estimated annual cost for books and supplies is $1,152.

Other Living Expenses

If living on-campus, students should budget for $4,813 in additional living expenses. Off-campus students should budget for $5,187 in other miscellaneous living expenses.

Total Costs

The total tuition and living expense budget for in-state California residents to go to UCSC is $36,040 for the 2018/2019 academic year. Out-of-state students who don't have California residence can expect a one year cost of $64,054.

Citation: Price data from the U.S. Department of Education's 2018-2019 and 2017-2018 IPEDS survey response for University of California Santa Cruz and represent reported costs for the 2016-2017 and 2015-2016 academic years.

Costs and Tuition for University of California Santa Cruz
Estimated Budgets
California Resident Total Budget $36,040
   In-State Tuition$11,502
   Other Fees$2,518
   Room and Board$16,055
   On-Campus Other Budget$4,813
   Books and Supplies$1,152
Non-Resident Total Budget $64,054
   Out-of-State Tuition$39,516
   Other Fees$2,518
   Room and Board$16,055
   On-Campus Other Budget$4,813
   Books and Supplies$1,152


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 $36,040 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 UCSC net price for in-state students is $14,759* for the 2014/2015 academic year. This net price includes housing and meal expenses.

Pell Grants and other Grant Aid

71% of University of California Santa Cruz students received grant aid in 2014/2015. The average total aid amount was $18,681. 43 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 $4,712. To apply for a Pell Grant to attend University of California Santa Cruz, the first step is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Net Price and Financial Aid for University of California Santa Cruz
Financial Aid Summary
Average Annual Net Price$14,759*
Percent of Students Receiving Grant Aid71%
Average Total Grant Aid$18,681
Percent of Students Receiving Pell Grants43%
Average Amount of Pell Grant Aid$4,712

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$10,862
$30,001 to $48,000$12,021
$48,001 to $75,000$15,297
$75,001 to $110,000$23,215

Average Financial Aid Mix - $36,040 In-State Total Cost

CollegeCalc has estimated typical coverage of the annual in-state tuition and living expenses of $36,040. Breakdown is based on average grant aid and federal loan aid which will vary based on your family income.


Grants and Scholarships

 60% - $18,681

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

Federal Loans

 17% - $5,401

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

Out of Pocket

 23% -  $7,145

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 UCSC 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 80/100 for University of California Santa Cruz. Considering an average net price paid of $14,238, this leads to an overall value ranking of 81/100. This places the school 39th 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. University of California Santa Cruz
San Diego State University50.1% 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 University of California Santa Cruz.

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 UCSC is $144,160 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 $14,238 in-state net price as the basis. Applying this cost over 4 would estimate the cost of a degree at $56,952**

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 $180,200 or $71,190 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. 54% of University of California Santa Cruz students receive U.S. Federal Student Loans with an average annual Federal Loan aid amount of $5,401.

Example Loan Payments and Costs

How much are student loan payments for University of California Santa Cruz? 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 $56,952, 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 $70,664.37. This could be your effective total out of pocket cost of an education at University of California Santa Cruz. Note that this calculation assumes you don't pay full list price tuition, are part of the reported 71% of students at this school who receive financial aid and you are paying an average annual net price of $14,238. If you do not financially qualify for a reduced net price, your student loan payments could be significantly higher than this example. Use our University of California Santa Cruz 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.

University of California Santa Cruz Student Loan Payments
Example Payments
Monthly Loan Payment$588.87
Amount Borrowed$56,952.00
Interest Rate4.5%
Term10 years
Number of Monthly Payments120
Total Interest Cost$13,712.37
Sum of All Payments over 10 years$70,664.37

Affording Student Loan Payments and Post Graduation Salary

Can I afford to attend UCSC? 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 University of California Santa Cruz, 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 $70,664.37 would be needed to afford a $588.87 monthly payment in the example $56,952.00 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 University of California Santa Cruz in the future? In the past four years, this school's published in-state tuition and fee total rose from $11,220 to $11,502. This amounts to an average annual price increase of 0.5%. 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 $144,160.00. 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 University of California Santa Cruz.

Annual4 Year Degree
Estimated Cost in 5 years for students enrolling in 2025$49,563$198,254
Estimated Cost in 10 years for students enrolling in 2030$63,257$253,027
Estimated Cost in 15 years for students enrolling in 2035 $80,734$322,934
Estimated Cost in 18 years for students enrolling in 2038 $93,459$373,837

Tuition History

What was tuition at UCSC 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 in the past as it provides indication as to how the school may raise tuition in the next few years. Historical tuition and fees for all available data years back to 1987 follows.

YearIn-StateOut-of-stateAnnual Increase
2012$11,220$34,098 19.3%
2011$9,402$32,281 6.1%
2010$8,862$31,531 8.1%
2009$8,200$28,808 7.2%
2008$7,646$27,266 9%
2007$7,017$25,701 1%
2006$6,949$24,769 -1.1%
2005$7,023$23,979 13.4%
2004$6,191$20,401 41.2%
2003$4,385$16,764 2%
2002$4,299$15,373 1.2%
2001$4,250$14,864 0.4%
2000$4,235$14,409 -2.8%
1999$4,356$13,930 4.2%
1998$4,181$13,240 1.1%
1997$4,136$12,530 0.7%
1996$4,109$11,808 -6.3%
1995$4,384$12,083 16.5%
1994$3,762$11,461 20.2%
1993$3,129$10,828 21.6%
1992$2,573$10,274 41.9%
1991$1,813$8,229 4.6%
1990$1,733$7,532 3.1%
1989$1,681$6,187 6.5%
1988$1,578$5,632 13.2%

Comparable Cost for Popular Majors

We've compared the out of state cost of the most popular undergraduate areas of study at University of California Santa Cruz 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
Anthropology Bachelor's Degree 165 42% costlier
Biology/Biological Sciences, General Bachelor's Degree 96 58% costlier
Economics, General Bachelor's Degree 89 43% costlier
Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography Bachelor's Degree 65 54% costlier
Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Other Bachelor's Degree 63 45% costlier
Geology/Earth Science, General Bachelor's Degree 48 55% costlier
Ecology Bachelor's Degree 43 48% costlier
Psychology, General Bachelor's Degree 42 58% costlier
Linguistics Bachelor's Degree 40 29% costlier
Web Page, Digital/Multimedia and Information Resources Design Bachelor's Degree 39 122% costlier
Molecular Biochemistry Bachelor's Degree 38 8% costlier
Chemistry, General Bachelor's Degree 37 54% costlier
Neuroscience Bachelor's Degree 35 12% costlier
Political Science and Government, General Bachelor's Degree 34 54% costlier
Computer and Information Sciences, General Bachelor's Degree 34 74% costlier
Environmental Science Bachelor's Degree 33 50% costlier
Sociology Bachelor's Degree 26 56% costlier
Physics, General Bachelor's Degree 25 46% costlier
English Language and Literature/Letters, Other Bachelor's Degree 18 37% costlier
Music, General Bachelor's Degree 17 55% costlier
History, General Bachelor's Degree 15 57% costlier
Philosophy Bachelor's Degree 14 42% costlier
Environmental Studies Bachelor's Degree 14 31% costlier
Art History, Criticism and Conservation Bachelor's Degree 14 30% costlier
Multi-/Interdisciplinary Studies, Other Bachelor's Degree 14 53% costlier
Mathematics, General Bachelor's Degree 10 56% costlier
Hispanic-American, Puerto Rican, and Mexican-American/Chicano Studies Bachelor's Degree 8 32% costlier
LEGAL PROFESSIONS AND STUDIES Bachelor's Degree 6 59% costlier
Cell/Cellular and Molecular Biology Bachelor's Degree 6 41% costlier
Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts, General Bachelor's Degree 5 51% costlier
Film/Video and Photographic Arts, Other Bachelor's Degree 4 23% costlier
Women's Studies Bachelor's Degree 4 35% costlier
Plant Sciences, General Bachelor's Degree 3 60% costlier
German Studies Bachelor's Degree 3 15% costlier
Bioinformatics Bachelor's Degree 3 56% costlier
Foreign Languages and Literatures, General Bachelor's Degree 2 61% costlier
Business/Managerial Economics Bachelor's Degree 2 60% costlier
Art/Art Studies, General Bachelor's Degree 2 64% costlier
Economics, Other Bachelor's Degree 2 23% costlier
Community Organization and Advocacy Bachelor's Degree 2 63% costlier
Astrophysics Bachelor's Degree 1 11% costlier
Classics and Classical Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics Bachelor's Degree 1 21% costlier
Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services, Other Bachelor's Degree 1 65% costlier
Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering Bachelor's Degree 1 25% costlier
Electrical and Electronics Engineering Bachelor's Degree 1 52% costlier
Computer/Information Technology Services Administration and Management, Other Bachelor's Degree 1 87% costlier
American/United States Studies/Civilization Bachelor's Degree 1 23% costlier
Physics Teacher Education Bachelor's Degree 1 77% costlier
Italian Studies Bachelor's Degree 1 2% costlier
Computer Engineering, General Bachelor's Degree 1 51% costlier


Use the calculators below to formulate a college savings plan for University of California Santa Cruz 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 University of California Santa Cruz 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 University of California Santa Cruz student loan.

Prepayment Option

About University of California Santa Cruz

University of California Santa Cruz is a four year public college located in Santa Cruz, California.  Full time enrollment is 18,249 and part time is 534. Learn more about getting accepted at University of California Santa Cruz at CollegeSimply.

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

University of California Santa Cruz
1156 High St
Santa Cruz, California

For Profit / Not For Profit Status

University of California Santa Cruz 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.

University of California Santa Cruz cost and financial aid data source: U.S. Department of Education https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?id=110714 IPEDS survey data.