I have to pay HOW MUCH for a UC?

You read your financial aid package correctly, MINIMUM out-of-pocket cost at a UC starts at around $9,000 per year regardless of your family income (some UCs charge more than $12,000 per year out-of-pocket).

Many students are not able to work and the work-study amount often gets converted to loans (you can also convert eligible loans to work-study). That means you are likely to graduate with AT LEAST $36,000 worth of student debt (often significantly higher, in addition to PLUS loans that many parents have to take out).

Keep applying to scholarships, there are still some out there. Consider looking for scholarships offered through local sources: Rotary Club, Lions Club, Elks Lodge, credit unions, local businesses, employers, unions, etc. It’s a lot of work, but it’s better than working while in college or taking out loans.

More recently, students have been turning to crowdfunding as a source of tuition assistance. If you have the time and think you can manage a project like this, go for it! Here are some resources to get you started:

If you have a crowdfunding campaign already set up (or you are setting one up now), send the link to me and I will feature you on my blog to help you get funded!


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  8 comments for “I have to pay HOW MUCH for a UC?

  1. Justin
    May 11, 2017 at 6:26 AM

    Hi Ms Sun. UCI gave me 11k labeled as UCI grant, and then told me to take 20k out in loans, but I selected on campus housing. If I decide to change to off campus housing, which is significantly cheaper, will I still be granted the same 11k or will I receive a lesser amount m? Btw, I’m in state student

    • Ms. Sun
      May 11, 2017 at 1:58 PM

      When you choose off-campus housing, your projected cost of attendance changes. Your award may fluctuate with the cost adjustment. Your best bet is to talk to the financial aid office to find out how the change may affected your award.

  2. Haley Anders
    May 13, 2017 at 3:42 PM

    If i reapply to UC’s next year, will they have my previous application? On my transcript I put W’s but when I got my official transcript it was marked as AR, if there is a discrepancy will they automatically deny me.

    • Ms. Sun
      May 14, 2017 at 10:58 PM

      They do keep previous applications for transfer students. But W’s turning into AR’s is normal (not unexpected), so you should be fine.

  3. May 31, 2017 at 4:51 PM

    I couldn’t find anything on UC website stating the the minimum out-of-pocket cost to attend UC is $9000 per year regardless of income.

    • Ms. Sun
      May 31, 2017 at 8:57 PM

      If you go here, you will see a reference to “student contribution,” which is the amount you are expected to cough up (typically covered by loans or work-study, or you can pay it out-of-pocket).

  4. Geena Smith
    June 26, 2017 at 3:59 PM

    If my parents income is above $200000 should I even bother to fill out a FAFSA ? I will not be eligible for any aid or grants or loans

    • Ms. Sun
      June 26, 2017 at 10:48 PM

      You should complete the FAFSA because some merit scholarships may ask for that. Having a completed FAFSA also means you don’t have to scramble if your parents’ financial situation changes drastically (hopefully not, but you will have the necessary paperwork ready for your college if anything happens).

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