Affordable Universities in California



With its campus located in the Northridge neighborhood of Los Angeles, California State University-Northridge boasts numerous alums that are entertainment icons, including Cheech Marin from 1970s comedy duo Cheech and Chong. Of all beginning undergraduates at the university, 53% receive institutional grant or scholarship aid. CSU-Northridge offers institutional scholarships like the Matador Scholarship Program, which ranges from $500 to $8,000 and is awarded to over 300 academically excellent students with financial need. Other institutional scholarships include the Outstanding Graduating Veteran Award for former members of the armed services and the Honors at Entrance award for newly admitted students accepted to the General Education University Honors Program.


Founded as Fresno State Normal School in 1911, the California State University of Fresno has offered advanced degrees since 1949 and is one of the 23 campuses in the California State University system. The average first year financial assistance package is $11,760. Students from the university’s eight schools and colleges can apply for several foundational scholarships. Kremen School of Education and Human Development students may be eligible for the Charlotte J. Dandridge Memorial Scholarship or the Kremen School of Education Alumni Chapter Scholarship. Sophomore or junior students at the Lyles College of Engineering and Computer Science may be considered for the Col. Rick Husband Memorial Scholarship, while Music Education students can apply for the Pete Valentino Music Educators Scholarship.


Turlock, Calif.

CSU Stanislaus is located near Modesto, just about 90 minutes from San Jose. With 38 undergraduate majors ranging from kinesiology to chemistry, students will have plenty to choose from. Nurses can earn both their bachelor’s and master’s degrees here. The location is great for this university because students in their later years are just a stone’s throw from the major corporations located in and around Silicon Valley, which can provide them with many career opportunities.

Tuition: $6,491
Room and Board: $11,900


Camarillo, Calif.

At CSUCI students can expect to find an incredibly diverse array of programs, from Chicana/o studies and various of art programs, to applied physics and economics. The school is smaller than many other state universities, and room and board costs a little extra, but it’s still a great deal. CSUCI is located just north of Point Mugu State Park.

Tuition: $6,471
Room and Board: $14,020



San Francisco, Calif.

SFSU is a massive school that offers an incredible range of programs, most with a variety of possible minors and concentrations. San Francisco, alone, is an iconic city, famous for its artistic culture, world renowned architecture and one of the United States’s greatest landmarks–the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s also one of the most expensive cities in the world to live, which means college may be the perfect time for that experience. Room and board at SFSU costs far less than renting in the city, which can be an issue because of how difficult it is to find anywhere vacant to live in San Francisco.

Tuition: $6,450
Room and Board: $12,756


Pomona, Calif.

Cal Poly at Pomona is one of two polytechnic universities in the state. The meaning of polytechnic is “skilled in many arts.” One would describe somebody that has mastered many fields to be a polymath. Polytechnic schools examine problems from the perspective of multiple disciplines, and they train students to understand and utilize many approaches to problem-solving and creation.

Tuition: $6,350
Room and Board: $12,852


Los Angeles, Calif.

The number of degree programs CSULA offers is quite large. This is one of the largest public universities in the state. The school also has a great rate of acceptance. The major reason Calif. public universities have such low acceptance rates compared to many other state universities is because of how many applicants they receive each semester. With a school as popular as CSULA, make sure you apply early.

Tuition: $6,344
Room and Board: $10,852


Fresno, Calif.

Fresno State is home to many research centers and a great place for students looking to conduct research, even as an undergraduate. Centers and institutes that you can find at CSU Fresno include the California Agricultural Technology Institute, California Water Institute, Central Valley Educational Leadership Institute, Institute for Public Anthropology and many more.

Tuition: $6,287
Room and Board: $10,440


Long Beach, Calif.

Go to school at one of the most beautiful places in the world. Long Beach California is one of the state’s most celebrated stretches of coastline, and you’ll be right there. Be careful, though; the beautiful environment may distract you from your studies. The campus is beautiful and features a strong arts program, which includes dance, design, music, theater and more. CSULB also provides students with many volunteer opportunities within the community.

Tuition: $6,240
Room and Board: $11,352

Fullerton, Calif.

CSU Fullerton offers a wide variety of programs, over 50 of which are at the undergraduate level. These programs feature everything from philosophy, to radio-TV-film and a whole bunch in between. The school offers four languages, as well as degrees in international business, political science and public administration, all of which can use bilingual people. There are many interesting and diverse options offered by Fullerton, and a creative student could make a lot out of those options.

Tuition: $6,186
Room and Board: $12,816


Carson, Calif.

CSU, Dominguez Hills offers over 40 majors, most of which feature multiple concentrations. For instance, their business degree features eleven concentrations, including entrepreneurship, accounting, finance, international business, information systems and marketing. CSUDH is located in LA County, just slightly north of Long Beach. CSUDH focuses on providing students with degrees that will be popular with employers and useful for students as they enter the beginning stages of successful careers.

Tuition: $6,100
Room and Board: $10,956


Seaside, Calif.

CSU Monterey Bay offers over 60 undergraduate degrees, including an online degree completion program in Computer Science Information Technology, which is a potent blend of programming and problem solving germane to the information technology (IT) field. CSU Monterey Bay is located in beautiful coastal california just across the street from the bay for which it is named. It is also just about 30 minutes from Santa Cruz, one of America’s surfing capitals.

Tuition: $5,963
Room and Board: $9,748


Calexico, Calif.

Imperial Valley is one of San Diego State University’s satellite campuses, as well as one of the cheapest colleges in California. SDSU, Imperial Valley is about two hours east of the city, and it is in a unique position as it is situated right next to the Mexican border. Indeed the city on the U.S. side is called Calexico, and on the Mexican side it’s called Mexicali. This provides students with a unique opportunity to take advantage of the location and gain experience working with a diverse population.

Tuition: $5,706
Room and Board: $11,076




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