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Frequently Asked Questions - Costs

How much does it cost to attend college?

The cost will vary depending on the college or university attended. For 2015-16, California residents attending a CSU campus as an undergraduate will pay the tuition fee of $5,472 for the academic year (nine months). Students will also pay an average of $1,306 in miscellaneous campus fees for average total fees of $6,704 (actual campus fees vary by campus).

Students enrolling at the CSU who are not U.S. citizens or California residents must also pay nonresident tuition which is $372 for each semester unit, or $248 for each quarter unit, in which they enroll. This tuition charge is in addition to the tuition fee.

The CSU makes every effort to keep student costs to a minimum. Fees listed in published schedules or student accounts may need to be increased when public funding is inadequate. Therefore, CSU must reserve the right, even after initial fee payments are made, to increase or modify any listed fees, without notice, until the date when instruction for a particular semester or quarter has begun. All CSU listed fees should be regarded as estimates that are subject to change upon approval by The Board of Trustees.

The estimated average cost of books and supplies was $1,758 for 2015-16. Fees, together with books and supplies, are considered direct educational expenses and averaged $8,536 at CSU campuses for 2015-16.

Students also have expenses for food and housing, transportation, and other miscellaneous personal expenses while attending college. These expenses vary depending on where the student lives while attending college - at home with parents, in a campus residence facility, or in an off-campus residence facility, typically a shared apartment. These costs also vary depending on where in the state the student's college residence is located. Since the CSU has 23 campuses throughout the state, the variation in living costs can be significant. The following table indicates average cost of attendance allowances, for financial aid purposes, for living expenses, as well as fees and books, for the 2015-16 academic year.

Estimated Average 2016-2017 Academic Year Expenses

Commuting from home Living in campus housing Living away from home/off-campus
Tuition Fee* $5,472 $5,472 $5,472
Miscellaneous Fees 1,347 1,347 1,347
Books and Supplies 1,756 1,756 1,756
Meals and Housing 4,886** 13,094 12,967
Transportation 1,357** 1,124 1,372
Miscellaneous Personal 1,412** 1,412 1,412
TOTAL $16,230** $24,205 $24,326

*$5,472 is the amount undergraduates enrolled in more than six units pay; undergraduates in six or fewer units pay $3,174. Graduate and postbaccalaureate students enrolled in more than six units pay $6,738 and those in six units or fewer pay $3,906. Students enrolled in teaching credential programs for a Multiple Subject, Single Subject, or Special Education credential pay $6,348 if they are taking more than six units and $3,864 if they are taking six or fewer units.

**The cost for meals, housing, and personal expenses for students who continue to live with parents or relatives are not expected to increase because of college attendance. Transportation expenses for commuting students will vary depending on the type of transportation used and the distance traveled.

Is there any way that I can pay fees by installment?

Yes. All CSU campuses offer either an installment payment fee plan or allow students to use a credit card to pay for fees.

How can I get help with the application fee?

In case of financial hardship, campuses allow a limited number of undergraduate application fee waivers for residents of California. For students without lawful immigration status, who qualify for an AB540 nonresident tuition exception, fee waivers may also be available. If you file the admission application via CSUMentor, the fee waiver request is included in the online system as part of the application process. You will be notified at the time you apply online if you qualify for the fee waiver. In situations where the online application is unable to determine your eligibility for a fee waiver, you will need to submit the Request for Application Fee Waiver directly to the campus admission office(s). The campus will inform you if you do not qualify for the fee waiver. Only California residents are eligible for application fee waivers.

Can I get financial aid for a study-abroad program?

Federal student financial aid funds can be awarded to study-abroad programs provided that the courses are accepted for credit in your program. If the study-abroad program is not a part of your home institution (the institution that will grant your degree or credential), a consortium or contractual agreement may be required between the two institutions. Basically, the home institution must determine that the courses offered by the study-abroad program are acceptable in terms of meeting academic standards and being an acceptable substitution for the home institution's instruction. If you are interested in study-abroad programs you should request information on financial aid from the program and should consult with the financial aid office at your home institution as well.

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