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Top 10 Cheapest Colleges in California for Non-Residents

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Cheap Colleges in California

For anyone not already living in California, the idea of paying for higher education in the state can seem like an incredibly daunting prospect. After all, the cost of tuition tends to be higher than anywhere else in the country (and sometimes the world). But it doesn’t have to be that way! These 10 cheap colleges in California are particularly great options if you’re looking to get your bachelor’s degree or master’s degree but don’t want to pay through the nose to do so.

1) UC San Diego


Known as one of America’s top universities, UC San Diego is also one of California’s cheapest colleges. The university has a diverse student body with over 40,000 students, and there are just three other campuses in California that have a larger student population. What’s more, 95% of freshmen receive financial aid—which is pretty good considering that 70% of all admitted applicants end up attending UC San Diego. Average tuition and fees at UC San Diego come to $30, 090 per year (including room and board)—making it an incredibly affordable option for non-residents who want to pursue their master’s degree.

2) UC Riverside


In-state: $9,450; Out of state: $24,850; Tuition and fees vary by college. The University of California, Riverside is a world-class research university with a long history of excellence in education and research that reaches back to its beginnings as a branch campus of UC Berkeley. UCR is located more than 50 miles east of Los Angeles and 60 miles north of San Diego. The mild climate allows year-round access to outdoor activities and events. Riverside consistently ranks among America’s Best Affordable Places to Live because it boasts an excellent quality of life at affordable prices – far below those found on either coast, and lower than many other top universities nationwide.

3) UC Santa Barbara


UC Santa Barbara is one of many public universities in California that takes pride in helping those who don’t have a permanent residence within its state lines. In fact, it was ranked as one of America’s Best Value Public Colleges by Forbes magazine because non-residents pay significantly less tuition than residents, according to UCSB’s website. Tuition and fees are just over $12,000 a year, while annual room and board costs will run you around $13,000. This four-year school offers several degree options including those related to arts and engineering but not much when it comes to online programs. For example, all students at UCSB must maintain a presence on campus each quarter they are enrolled.

4) UC Irvine


UC Irvine is one of cheapest colleges in california. UC Irvine is a public university located on an urban campus, and one of three University of California campuses or branches in Orange County. UC Irvine is ranked as one of best universities in nation. In fact, US News & World Report has ranked UCI fifth among U.S. public universities and 38th among all national universities worldwide. The university offers over 200 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in a wide range of disciplines including biological sciences, business administration, creative writing, engineering, education, physical sciences, social sciences and humanities. All students are guaranteed housing at no cost on a first-come basis through UC Irvine’s residential program which includes nine residence halls with 2200 beds. To be eligible to live on campus you must be enrolled full time (12 units) during your first year at UCI. Most freshmen live in residence halls; however upperclassmen may choose to live off campus if they wish (some students are required to live on campus). Students living off-campus are not required to purchase a meal plan but can do so if they want one.

5) CSU Fullerton


If you’re looking to study at a top public university with a high graduation rate and low cost of attendance, then consider California State University Fullerton. It costs $25,632 per year to attend CSU Fullerton (which is actually about $4,000 less than UC Berkeley or UCLA), and 93% of freshmen graduate within four years. Additionally, CSU Fullerton has above average faculty resources: The student-to-faculty ratio is 19:1 and there are 21 academic departments (many majors have only one). Visit www.fullerton.edu for more information on degree programs or tuition costs at CSU Fullerton or call 800/985-2787.

6) CSU Chico


CSU Chico is a cheap college to attend because it’s located in beautiful Northern California, meaning students don’t have to spend much on housing. The cheapest dorm option costs just $2,060 a year while a meal plan will cost around $5,900 per year. It’s also ranked as one of The 30 Cheapest Public Colleges and Universities. In addition to being affordable, CSU Chico has an excellent academic ranking at 31st best public school by U.S. News & World Report and 46th best value by Forbes Magazine.

7) CSU Long Beach


The top affordable school on our list is also one of Cheap Colleges in California’s most affordable public universities. CSU Long Beach costs $13,063 annually – with only two out-of-state programs that exceed $20,000. Part of what makes CSU Long Beach so attractive to non-residents is that it offers low tuition rates without a lot of extra fees. The university has no application fee and a comparatively small room and board fee of $9,600. When compared to some private schools’ costs (upwards of $40,000 per year), CSU Long Beach looks even more inviting at just over half that cost.

8) CSU Los Angeles


Ranked as one of top 10 public universities in California, CSU Los Angeles is a large school with over 30,000 students. Approximately 40% of undergraduates are members of ethnic minority groups and 39% speak English as a second language. While not cheap to attend (approximately $8,000 per year), nonresidents still pay less than their resident peers and there are numerous opportunities to earn financial aid through scholarships and grants. If you’re an out-of-state student at CSU Los Angeles, you might be able to afford tuition by living on campus or finding work on campus. Unlike many other schools within the University of California system, students at CSU Los Angeles don’t need to apply for housing through a lottery system; instead they can find low cost housing around campus.

9) CSU San Bernardino


Pitzer College is a private liberal arts college located in Claremont, CA that has one of lowest costs of attendance among all US schools. In fact, Pitzer College is often regarded as one of top colleges with cheapest tuition rates. So if you’re looking to save some money on your education without giving up quality, look no further than Pitzer! If you are not a resident of CA and want to attend college here, be sure to apply for residency before submitting your FAFSA application. Just follow these 3 steps: Make sure you have proof of state residency from at least 12 months prior to when you applied (make sure it’s valid!) .

10) Pitzer College


At $26,835, Pitzer College is one of the cheapest private colleges on our list. Located in Claremont, CA and founded in 1963, Pitzer College is a liberal arts college and is part of The Claremont Colleges. With only 1,549 students enrolled at Pitzer College, you’ll find it easy to get to know your classmates and your professors on a more personal level. Pitzer College offers one undergraduate degree program and eight graduate programs that all fall under three main fields: Humanities & Social Sciences; Natural Science & Mathematics; and Social & Behavioral Sciences. If you’re looking for one of cheapest masters degree california but also want to feel close to family, then look no further than Pitzer College!