This guide is designed to answer one question for you: How are you going to afford University of California, Santa Cruz?
You probably know that planning for expenses is an important part of the college application process. What you may not know is how many different things you need to keep track of to pay tuition and apply for financial aid.
Here's what we'll cover:
- How much does UC Santa Cruz tuition cost?
- How much financial aid do students at UC Santa Cruz usually get?
- How much debt is typical for students at UC Santa Cruz?
- How much will UC Santa Cruz cost YOU, and can you actually afford it?
- Is UC Santa Cruz a good value for you?
- What are other schools that might be a better value than UC Santa Cruz?
By learning more about expenses and aid, you’re already on the right path to managing college costs. Let’s get started!
School location: Santa Cruz, CA
This school is also known as: University of California, Santa Cruz, UCSC, UC Santa Cruz
How Much Does UC Santa Cruz Cost?
Knowing what a school costs is Step #1 in managing college costs. There’s more to think about than just the tuition—you also have to factor in where you'll live, what you'll eat, and more while attending University of California, Santa Cruz.
The "Cost of Attendance" is the total amount of money the average student has to pay, WITHOUT any financial aid, to attend a particular school. Think of it as a school’s sticker price. It includes not just UC Santa Cruz tuition and fees, but also room, board, textbooks, and personal expenses.
The Cost of Attendance breakdown for UC Santa Cruz differs depending on whether you’re in-state or out-of-state student - in-state students can expect lower costs for tuition and fees.
Choose your state of residence here for the most accurate info:
Here’s the Cost of Attendance breakdown for UC Santa Cruz:
- Tuition and Fees $13397 $36275
- Room & Board: On-Campus $14408
- Room & Board: Off-Campus $10351
- Textbooks $1420
- Other Expenses $3928
Typical Total Cost for In-State, On-Campus Students Typical Total Cost for Out-Of-State, On-Campus Students $33153 $56031
- Typical Total Cost for In-State, Off-Campus Students Typical Total Cost for Out-Of-State, Off-Campus Students $29891 $52769
Because UC Santa Cruz is an out-of-state public institution, you'd be paying $22878 more than if you were an in-state student. To lower costs, you might consider looking at public schools in your state of residence.
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How Much Financial Aid Do Students at UC Santa Cruz Get?
The Cost of Attendance listed above might be intimidating. The good news is that most students don’t end up paying that full price to attend UC Santa Cruz. Financial aid helps make up the difference between the Cost of Attendance and what families can actually afford.
Here we'll cover how many students get UC Santa Cruz financial aid, what types of aid they get, and how much.
A Brief Intro to Financial Aid
Aid comes in many forms, including:
- Need-based grants
- Merit-based scholarships
- Student loans
This financial aid comes from a few different places:
- Federal aid comes from the federal government, or is subsidized by the federal government.
- Institutional aid comes from your school itself.
Generally, it’s better for MORE students to receive HIGH amounts of financial aid—this means students pay less for college.
Let’s take a look at how UC Santa Cruz compares to other schools.
Let's start with the overall numbers. At UC Santa Cruz, we know that:
80% of Students Get ANY Aid
This is 6% LOWER than the average for Public schools, which is 86%.
This could be bad news - fewer students getting aid could mean students are paying more at UC Santa Cruz than they would at other similar schools. It could also mean students attending UC Santa Cruz are wealthier and need less aid.
To break this apart, we'll next look at each type of aid and how much students get from each.
Grants and Scholarships
We’re focusing on grants and scholarships first because they’re the most important forms of financial aid. Grants and scholarships are better than loans because students don’t ever have to pay them back. The more grant/scholarship aid students receive at a particular school, the better off those students are in the long run.
At University of California, Santa Cruz, we know that:
72% Get ANY Grant Money
This is 1% LOWER than the average for Public schools, which is 73%.
Although it’s useful to know how many students get grant aid, it’s also important to know how much grant aid people tend to receive. The bigger the average grant award, the better.
So how much grant money do students at UC Santa Cruz tend to receive?
Average Grant Award: $19569
This is $12300 HIGHER than the average for Public schools, which is $7269.
Altogether, this is mixed news - at UC Santa Cruz, FEWER students get aid, but the ones who do get MORE than average. If you qualify for aid, this can work out well, since you'll get a sizable award. But it might be harder for you to qualify for UC Santa Cruz financial aid.
How Generous is UC Santa Cruz’s Financial Aid?
The grant dollar amounts we’ve seen so far have included aid from all sources - both federal and institutional. Schools don’t have much control over how much federal aid students can qualify for (like Pell Grants), but they do their own financial aid dollars and how they’re used.
To figure out how strong UC Santa Cruz’s own financial aid program is, we’ll look at how they award their own (non-federal) financial aid dollars. The more students receive aid directly from the school (otherwise known as institutional aid), and the bigger the award amounts, the better the financial aid program.
Let’s see how generous University of California, Santa Cruz is with its students:
71% Get ANY School Grants
This is 25% HIGHER than the average for Public schools, which is 46%.
Because more UC Santa Cruz students get institutional aid, it likely offers relatively competitive financial aid. This means fewer students will need to take out loans to pay for college.
The amount of money that students actually get is just as important (if not more important) than the percent of students who get grants. If you receive a grant, you’ll want it to be big enough to do you some good.
Average School Grant: $8287
This is $3920 HIGHER than the average for Public schools, which is $4367.
Right away, it seems like University of California, Santa Cruz offers more institutional aid than other schools. On the surface, this can mean that students who do receive institutional grants get a competitive amount, compared to other schools.
On the other hand, this can also mean that the school just costs more than the typical school of its type. If UC Santa Cruz costs more, it makes sense for the average grant award to be higher.
Up to this point, we've looked entirely at grants for UC Santa Cruz. Next, we'll do the same analysis for student loans, which is where student debt comes from.
How Much Debt is Typical for Students at UC Santa Cruz?
Aside from grants, the other major way to pay for college is with student loans. Student loans aren’t free sums of money - you borrow a certain amount to attend UC Santa Cruz, and then pay it back with smaller monthly payments after you graduate.
The more student loan money you borrow, the more debt you’ll end up with after graduation. Ideally, you want to minimize your student debt as much as possible. Less debt means less of a financial burden once you leave school.
It’s generally a bad sign if a school has many students taking out a lot of loans. This indicates that graduates have to worry about paying back big sums of money once they leave school.
To address the amount and type of debt that students take on, this section will cover:
- Loan Overview
- Federal Loans
- Other Loans
Let’s see what students at UC Santa Cruz have to deal with:
First, let’s talk about how many students at UC Santa Cruz actually have to take out any student loans at all. The ideal goal is to graduate with little to no debt.
It’s very common for college grads in the US to graduate with some debt, but high percentages of students taking on loans at a particular school is a big red flag. In contrast, low percentages of students with loans is a sign that UC Santa Cruz tuition is affordable.
So how many students actually end up taking out loans at UC Santa Cruz?
62% Have ANY Loans
This is 4% higher than the average for Public schools, which is 58%.
High numbers of students with loans is a red flag, and UC Santa Cruz is above average. It doesn’t necessarily mean that students end up with high amounts of debt - we’ll get to that question very shortly - but it suggests that UC Santa Cruz is less affordable for the average student.
To break this down further, we have to understand how much actual debt the average person takes out while in school. Next, we’ll look at student debt amounts.
Now that you have a handle on the basic loan information for UC Santa Cruz, we’ll get into some more nitty-gritty information on the types and amounts of loans that students typically have.
We’ll start with federal loans because, in general, federal loans are preferable to private loans. Federal loans tend to have low interest rates, which means they cost less in the long run. They may come with other perks (like subsidization or even options for loan forgiveness).
High percentages or amounts of federal loans still isn’t a great sign - again, you don’t want to see students burdened with too much debt. Generally, schools with strong financial aid programs will have students with more federal loans than private loans.
Let’s see how UC Santa Cruz stacks up:
62% Have Federal Loans
At University of California, Santa Cruz, 62% of all students take out federal loans. This is 5% HIGHER than the average percent of students for Public schools, which is 57%.
Average Federal Loan: $5438
At UC Santa Cruz, the average annual federal loan amount is $5438. This amount is $153 LESS than the average for Public schools, which is $5591.
Other Private Loans
Other loans, or private loans, are the last resource students turn to when paying for college. They’re the least preferable form of financial aid because they have higher interest rates and cost students the most money in the long run.
Generally, the fewer students who take private loans, and the lower the amount of the loan, the more affordable UC Santa Cruz is.
Let’s take a look at the percentage of students at UC Santa Cruz with non-federal loans:
1% Have Private Loans
At University of California, Santa Cruz, 1% of students take out private loans. This is 4% LOWER than the average for Public schools, which is 5%
Just as important as the percentage of students with private loans is the average loan amount. The smaller the average loan amount, the better:
Average Private Loan: $16095
The average private loan amount at UC Santa Cruz is $16095. This is $6549 HIGHER than the average for Public schools, which is $9546.
The percentage of students getting federal loans is greater than those getting private loans, which is a good sign. This means lower-interest federal loans are usually enough to pay for UC Santa Cruz.
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What Would It Cost YOU to Attend UC Santa Cruz?
Finally, we get to the bottom line: what will UC Santa Cruz actually cost YOU? Every family has a different situation, and depending on your income level, you'll have to pay more or less to go to college.
What is Net Price, and Why Does it Matter?
Above, we've covered UC Santa Cruz's Cost of Attendance (tuition, room and board, books, and more). We also covered its typical financial aid in grants, loans, and scholarships.
The Net Price is the total cost minus the total aid given. In other words, this is the price you have to pay to the school out of pocket. The lower the school's cost, and the more aid you get, the lower the Net Price.
We'll cover two ways to get your Net Price for UC Santa Cruz - the fast way, and the precise way.
Net Price: The Quick and Easy Way
If you want a quick, general idea of your annual Net Price at UC Santa Cruz, here's a handy chart showing the net price of real students. All you need is your family income.
|If your family makes between...||Your Net Price will likely be around...|
|$0 - $30,000||$9989|
|$30,001 - $48,000||$11280|
|$48,001 - $75,000||$14868|
|$75,001 - $110,000||$22432|
|$110,000 and up||$30957|
Note that these values may be a few years old, and today's prices may be a bit higher.
As we'll discuss next, your exact Net Price will depend on other factors like the number of family members and total assets, but this represents the typical Net Price.
Net Price: The Most Accurate Method
Most schools have an updated Net Price calculator available. To find it, just google "UC Santa Cruz Net Price Calculator" - the official tool should be one of the top search results.
Often the school will ask for more information than just income:
- The number of people in your household
- The number of family members in college
- Parental wages, income, and assets
- Student wages, income, and assets
This will take 10-15 minutes to complete, and you'll get a specific net price that's more accurate than the table above.
Can You Afford to Attend UC Santa Cruz?
Once you have a Net Price estimate, you’ll want to figure out whether your family can afford to pay UC Santa Cruz tuition and costs. Once again, the Net Price is the total cost of attending, minus the aid you can expect to get (grants and scholarships). It's the amount you'd have to cover yourself.
The US government has come up with a standardized way to calculate how much a typical family can afford to pay without help. They call this the Expected Family Contribution, or EFC.
As an example, a family that brings home $80,000 in income before taxes, with no assets and no other children in college, has an EFC of around $7,000. This is the amount the government thinks that family can reasonably pay, and the school will have to step in and cover the rest.
Colleges use this number as a guideline to decide how much aid to give you, but it's just a guideline. Some schools will be stingier with aid, and you'll have to pay more than the government's suggested EFC.
So we're going to calculate your EFC and compare it to UC Santa Cruz's Net Price. If the Net Price is higher than the EFC, the school will cost more than you can typically afford. It's a simple equation:
Net Price - Expected Family Contribution = Deficit (extra cost you would need to cover)
We've constructed a simple tool to figure out whether UC Santa Cruz is affordable for you:
This tool will calculate your Expected Family Contribution, or EFC. In order to calculate this amount, we need just 4 pieces of information from you. We won't save this data.
Finally: Is This Price Really Worth It?
Chances are, college won't be cheap. Even if you have a few top choice schools in mind like UC Santa Cruz, it's still useful to explore broadly.
A few questions to ponder:
- How much better off will you be if you attend UC Santa Cruz as opposed to a similar, but cheaper, school?
- Have you considered a range of private and public schools? Big and small?
- What if you didn't attend college at all? (This is extreme, but just worth considering even for a second.
Here's our take: college will be a really important stage in your development. Going to a better, more reputable college will usually pay off in the long run. By going to a better college, you'll be surrounded by a more interesting community, find it easier to land a job, and open up opportunities.
To determine the value of UC Santa Cruz, we're going to rely on reputable ranking lists. These consider factors like reputation, student selectivity, income after graduating, and more to determine the value of a school.
So how does UC Santa Cruz stack up?
Extremely High Value
Based on its ranking and cost, University of California, Santa Cruz is an extremely high value school, and near the top-tier.
To begin with, UC Santa Cruz holds a very high reputation among colleges across the nation, which means you'll get access to fantastic resources and a vibrant community. You'll also carry this reputation as alumnus, giving you a big step up throughout your career. All this is often worth the price of admission.
Furthermore, UC Santa Cruz likely has a very competitive financial aid program and a low cost of attendance. If you're a lower income student, don't be worried by the sticker price - UC Santa Cruz will likely make a great financial aid offer to you to attend. In some cases, your cost of attending could be extremely low.
In both respects, University of California, Santa Cruz is just a bit shy of top-tier schools like Harvard and Stanford, which have a better reputation and even more competitive financial aid. But it's still extremely high value, and if you can get in, a great choice to spend your college years.
How Do You Get In?
Since UC Santa Cruz is a very attractive school, it can be tough to get in. You'll need excellent grades, test scores, and extracurricular activities to stand out.
Since you're aiming for one of the top schools, you might be interested in our popular guide, How to Get Into Harvard and the Ivy League, by our founder and Harvard alum Allen Cheng. You'll get an expert guide on what schools like UC Santa Cruz are looking for and how you can build an amazing application.
How do you compare to other students accepted to UC Santa Cruz? Check out our Admissions Guide to UC Santa Cruz.
What Other Schools Should You Consider?
Your next step should be to get a better idea of costs and aid availability at similar schools. If you’re interested in UC Santa Cruz, you should check out some other high-value schools that could give you more bang for your buck. Get started here to check both in-state and out-of-state schools that might provide a better value.
Better Value Schools
Finally, we're going to look at schools that might offer a better value than University of California, Santa Cruz. To compile this list, we first find schools at similar academic levels, so you have a similar chance at getting in. Then we select schools that better value for you, by being more affordable or having a higher quality of education
It’s hard to know exactly what schools will be a great value for you without information on your family income. Enter your family income here for the best recommendations for schools:
There are a lot of potential financial benefits that come with attending a school close to home. For example, in-state public schools tend to have subsidized tuitions for state residents. Students may also have the chance to save money if they choose to stay at home.
If you’re looking for good deals on schools in your state, you should start by checking out the following colleges and universities:
You can still get a good value on your education if you choose to attend an out-of-state school, especially if you qualify for generous financial aid.
If you’re interested in getting an education out-of-state, start by checking out the following colleges and universities:
How would your chances at getting into University of California, Santa Cruz improve with a better score?
Now that we've figured out whether you can afford UC Santa Cruz, we need to focus on getting you in. A big part of this is your SAT/ACT score.
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