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Paying For College


Standard Educational Expenses

The cost of attending college covered by some combination of financial aid and students and their families includes a number of elements. Colleges and universities estimate the cost of attending their institution for three different living situations.


The fees displayed in the information below at the California Community Colleges, California State University, and the University of California are for California residents only. In general, dependent students whose parents have been in California or independent students who have been in California more than one year are considered state residents. If you are considering attending an out of state school, keep in mind that you will be paying any out of state tuition and fees.


For the CSU/UC information, they include the average costs for textbooks, paper supplies, and computer supplies (not the purchase of a computer) related to full-year, full-time enrollment. For on-campus living arrangements, this includes the cost of the dorm or apartment and any meal plan the student might have. It may also include estimates of groceries and eating out for students with small meal plans.


Off-campus estimates include rent, groceries, and utilities. Commuter estimates include transportation, as well as groceries and utilities. Miscellaneous costs include estimates for personal expenses, entertainment, transportation, and, at some colleges, an allowance for health insurance.


California Community Colleges

California residents currently pay $46 per unit for community college courses. A California resident who enrolls in 12 units is considered a full-time student; that student would pay $46 x 12 units, or $552 per semester.

Other college costs include books, supplies, transportation, food and housing. Some colleges also charge for class materials and add fees for things like health services, parking and student government.

Although California’s community colleges are the least expensive all-around colleges in the nation, the costs can add up.


Average UC (University of California) costs and fees 2016-2017