How To Afford UCLA

When you are admitted to UCLA, you and your family might have a lot of questions about how you’ll cover the costs of tuition, housing and other necessities. Our financial aid professionals will make every effort to help you afford to pay for your education. Our office is dedicated to helping each family create a strategy that works for them. Thanks to the numerous options available, your education can be affordable.

Top 5 Best Value University

In 2019, Forbes ranked UCLA among the top five best value universities, citing our combination of high education quality and low student debt upon graduation.

Most families pay less than the full price, and 46 percent of our undergraduate students pay no tuition at all. We offer an array of housing options and meal plans — as well as financial aid for housing — so that you have flexibility as to how much you pay for room and board. In addition, UCLA offers payment plans for both tuition and housing so that families can make smaller, regular payments throughout the academic year instead of larger payments.

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Cost of Attendance for Academic Year 2020-21


All fees are subject to change. For the most current costs, visit UCLA Financial Aid and Scholarships.

University Fees $13,239
Room and Meals** $17,599
Books and Supplies $1,314
Transportation $588
Personal $1,422
Health Insurance*** $2,605
TOTAL $36,767
Non-resident Tuition $29,754

* Estimated costs as of June 30, 2020
** Housing costs may vary, depending on room type and meal plan chosen
*** Waived if proof of insurance is provided

Students smiling
Financial Aid Applications

Before you do anything else, fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the DREAM Act Application. Make sure that you complete the application before the UCLA priority deadline (March 2). These applications provide access to federal-and state-based financial aid programs for all eligible students.

Continue to FAFSA Continue to DREAM Act
Four Types of Financial Aid

Paying for your education should be a partnership between student, family and university. Check out the many ways you can pay for your UCLA education.

1. Scholarships

UCLA offers financial support that may be awarded based on need, academic merit, background, specific talents or professional interests:

Some other important scholarship resources include:

Don’t forget to check organizations in your hometown, such as the Rotary Club and AmeriCorps, that offer scholarships for community service.

Student study group

2. Grants

Grants are awards that the recipient does not have to repay. Sources include the federal and state governments, as well as UCLA. Most are awarded based on need and require submission of the Financial Aid Application by March 2.

Available to California residents only:

Available to U.S. residents:

University Grants: These need-based grants demonstrate UCLA’s commitment to affordability. Recipients must complete and submit the FAFSA or DREAM Act Application annually by March 2.

Please note: Financial aid supported by funds from the state of California is not available to nonresident students enrolling at UCLA. However, the UCLA Financial Aid and Scholarships office will assist nonresident domestic students with federal financial aid, private loans, advice on scholarships and merit-based aid, where available.

Students collaborating in a computer lab

3. Loans

In 2019, graduating seniors in the U.S. had an average student loan debt of over $29,200. For UCLA seniors, the average was much lower—just over $22,390. And, 98 percent of UCLA graduates successfully manage loan repayment.

You will have a variety of borrowing options available, so please make sure to research them carefully before you select what is best for you. Refer to loan guides available from UCLA Financial Aid and Scholarships for more information.

The federal government offers low-interest Direct Student Loans for higher education.

Fixed low-interest federal PLUS loans are also available to parents.

Private educational loans offered by banks and lending institutions are also available to students, parents and family members.

Federal loans are not credit-based and have terms set by the Department of Education. Interest paid on student loans is tax-deductible. There are flexible payment options, and repayment can be delayed until after the student’s graduation on federal and private loans.

Parents may take out low-interest education loans from the government and private loans from banks or other lenders. The terms for federal loans to parents are determined by the Department of Education; they are not based on credit scores. Loan payments can be postponed until after the student graduates. Interest paid on parent loans is tax-deductible.

Students walking together

4. Part-time Student Jobs

Having a part-time job can help pay for textbooks and day-to-day living expenses. Last year, more than 9,500 UCLA undergraduates worked on campus part time. Some had work-study awards, which can make it easier to find a position on campus or off.

Tip: If you work at UCLA, you can qualify for discounts as an employee. Students who work for ASUCLA get a 50 percent on-campus dining discount.

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Graduating student with parents
What Parents Can Do

Parents have access to a number of resources, including some that offer tax benefits.

Savings Accounts and Tax Benefits

Some families set up special college savings accounts, such as Coverdell Education Savings Accounts and 529 plans, which enable them to put away money for college tuition and related expenses.

Families can also withdraw money from their 401(k) or 403(b) retirement savings accounts. Withdrawals are penalty-free when the money is used to pay for education.

The government offers tax benefits and credits for higher education. For details, check your tax preparation software or ask your tax preparer.

Additional Ways to Save Money and Manage Out-of-Pocket Expenses

Reduce the time involved in earning a degree by taking more than the minimum courses required per term and/or attending summer school. Did you know that out-of-state students do not pay Nonresident Supplemental Tuition in the summer?

Explore all the different housing options available to you — on campus, off campus or commuting from home.

When selecting a meal plan for on-campus housing, consider your habits and ask yourself what you really need.

Where book expenses are concerned, the UCLA Store is committed to offering the best value for students. They have new books, used, digital, rentals and price matching. And at the end of each quarter, the UCLA Store buys books back for cash.

When it comes to transportation, many students ask if they need to have a car on campus. Most first-year students do not need a car, especially given parking limitations on campus. Many students utilize public transportation and ridesharing, which helps save money and the environment.

Three students pause to smile for a picture in front of Royce Hall.
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Where to Go for More Information

We are dedicated to helping make your UCLA education affordable. If you have questions about financial aid, contact Financial Aid and Scholarships. You can also access our knowledge base by asking Joe.