5 UC Schools With the Lowest Cost of Living

Consider these five University of California campuses if you’d like to keep your college costs low.

By Sydney Nikols | February 17, 2017

In addition to it's low cost of living, UC Davis also has a great reputation. In 2014, U.S. News and World Report ranked the school as the 9th best public university in the United States.

When thinking about college costs, it’s important to look beyond simple tuition; you also have to consider the costs of living at certain schools. Check out these five UCs If you’re interested in keeping overall costs low -- their affordable on- and off-campus housing opportunities will ensure that you don’t break the bank.

Maintaining a low cost of living will help you focus on what really matters while you’re away at college: your education!

1. University of California, Davis

Boasting an average off-campus housing cost of about $8,167 a year, the University of California, Davis prides itself on offering some of the cheapest off-campus housing in the UC system. With On-campus residence hall room and board costs ranging from $11,592 to $15,748, its on-campus housing costs are pretty middle-of-the-road ($13,800 per year is the average price for on-campus room and board in the UC system).

2. University of California, Merced

The University of California, Merced, located just north of Fresno in the San Joaquin Valley, offers some of the lowest living costs in the UC system. On-campus housing costs between $9,660 and $12,208 for a whole year, and renting an off-campus apartment isn’t a bad option, either -- according to Area Vibes, the median rental rate in Merced is a low $775 per month, which is 35.7 percent less than the California average.

3. University of California, Riverside

The University of California, Riverside, has been recognized by both U.S. News and World Report and Princeton Review for offering students one of the best overall values in the country. One glance at the housing options proves why: The university estimates that after financial aid has been taken into account, the average annual cost of room and board on campus is $13,200, while off campus it’s only $8,900. Without financial aid, residence hall costs are between $13,200 and $15,730 and on-campus apartments cost between $320 and $1,599 per month.

UC Riverside was established in 1954 as an agricultural college. Washington Monthly ranked UCR 5th in terms of social mobility and community service.

4. University of California, Santa Cruz

If you stick to on-campus housing at the University of California, Santa Cruz, you can get a good deal; annual costs of room and board in residence halls and on-campus apartments fluctuate between $10,503 and $16,830. Just don’t venture off campus to find a place to stay -- according to Area Vibes, rent costs an average of $1,293 per month in Santa Cruz, which is above the California average.

5. University of California, San Diego

The high quality of life in San Diego doesn’t necessarily come with a high cost of living. The average cost of living in San Diego is actually 4.2 percent less than the California average, and the University of California, San Diego, maintains some of the most affordable student housing in the UC system; residence hall and apartment rates stay within an impressive range of $10,256 to $11,409 per year.

Maintaining a low cost of living will help you focus on what really matters while you’re away at college: your education!

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