When U.S. News & World Report issued its most recent college rankings, few California Schools made the top of the list in the nationwide category. All of the major universities ranked offer a full range of undergraduate majors, masters, executive education, and doctorate degrees.

As parents, we look at what seems to be the runaway cost of a college education these days and are concerned about how we will afford tuition at some of these universities. Our students are piling up tuition debt at record levels with no end in sight, at least that what Forbes reported in 2018.

Debts totaled $ 1.5 trillion nationwide. The average students owes about $40,000.00 in tuition debt. Two percent of students owe $ 100,000 or more. Student loan repayments, in some cases, are the cost of a mortgage. A college student with no student debt these days is rare. He or she likely went to West Point, Annapolis, Air Force, or the Merchant Marine academies for a free ride.

Our Reserve Officer Training School students at colleges across the nation attend on full scholarship that even include a monthly stipend.   The bad news is the Top 5 schools are also the most expensive in the nation. Whoever said that, “You get what you pay for” may not always be right. California residents will receive at great education at any of the state’s University of California campuses.

Stanford’s annual base tuition is $53, 529.00 per year. This does not include anything but base tuition. Books, parking, meals, and dorm fees aren’t included. To Stanford’s credit, it was the only California University to crack the nation’s Top 10 ranking as it came in at No. 6. While Stanford was “just” No. 6 in the nation, who were the Top 5 you might ask?

Well Princeton made it to No. 1, Harvard came in No. 2, and Columbia, MIT, and Yale tied for third place. Then came Stanford, University of Chicago, and the University of Pennsylvania all tied at No. 5.  None of these universities would come close to qualifying for that old “Blue Light Special” as tuition alone is north of $ 55,000 per year.

After poring over the rankings, costs, and locations of all these fantastic universities California remains the lowest priced for high-quality education.  While UCLA was ranked 20th in the nation, it “only” charges an in-state tuition of $ 13,226. With 31,000-plus students, the place is packed but the ranking placed UCLA as a Top 20 school and makes it the most affordable in the Top 20.

Not far behind, UCLA is tied for 22nd with USC and Berkeley. While USC tuition is $58,195, Berkeley costs “just” $14,184.  Bargain shoppers might want to take a look at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as its in-state tuition is a rock bottom at nine grand.

However, UNC is ranked No. 29 in the nation so your kid will have to sacrifice some prestige plus be a resident of the state to get that deal. Go figure, but 20th ranked UCLA is slightly cheaper than UC Irvine. Ranked at No. 36 in the country it reports a tuition of $ 13,727 for our residents.

While you won’t find any of our California State University campuses any place near the top of the rankings for this 2019 survey, these outstanding universities cost $ 7,084 dollars in 2019. This cost makes them the all-around great bargain for parents and students looking for some of the most affordable colleges in the nation.

One thing is clear we have a full range of public and private universities in our state. We have them for every budget when you include our community and city colleges. For parents and students beginning your senior year and making those trips to see some great campuses you may want to keep these figures in mind when you are looking for the college or university to move on to the next level of your education process. Keep in mind these fees are generally for bachelors level programs. They do not include graduate degrees, executive education, certificated, or specialized schools. These programs are even pricier. Endowments abound and scholarships you or your family members may receive can help drive down the cost of your college education.  One thing is for certain college isn’t getting any cheaper.

 

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