The University of California – Santa Cruz was established in 1965 by UC President Clark Kerr and modeled after small liberal arts colleges like Swarthmore. Endowed for $165 million, the public, land-grant and space-grant institution belongs to California’s flagship 10-campus system. UCSC occupies 2,000 forested acres in Santa Cruz County overlooking Monterey Bay just 75 miles south of San Francisco. As part of the Silicon Valley, UC-Santa Cruz spends over $155 million yearly on research. UCSC’s five divisions apply innovative teaching methods to enlighten over 16,900 undergraduates and 1,800 post-graduates. The University of California – Santa Cruz has produced notable alumni like Huey P. Newton, Reyna Grande, and Jonah Peretti.
According to the U.S. News, UCSC is the 79th best national university, 30th top public school, 26th best value, and 47th most veteran-friendly college. In particular, UC-Santa Cruz offers America’s 16th best Earth science and 39th best English programs. Forbes ranked UCSC as the 200th top university overall. Graded A for diversity, the University of California – Santa Cruz was crowned the #8 “Most Liberal College” on Niche. The Princeton Reviewhonored UCSC as the seventh best green college nationwide. Within Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine, UC-Santa Cruz was the United States’ 50th best public value. Times Higher Education placed UCSC second for research influence worldwide too.
University of California – Santa Cruz Accreditation Details
Continuously since 1965, the University of California – Santa Cruz has earned 10-year regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This approval qualifies UCSC for Title IV funding from the U.S. Department of Education. Other discipline-specific accreditations bestowed on individual colleges are:
• Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)
• American Psychological Association Commission on Accreditation (APA CoA)
University of California – Santa Cruz Application Requirements
Classified as “more selective,” the University of California – Santa Cruz has an acceptance rate of 51 percent. Freshmen must have the academic rigor and preparation for succeeding at a major research university. Graduating with a minimum 15-course, college-prep curriculum, including four years of English, is required. California residents should rank in their school’s top 10 percent with a 3.0 GPA or higher. Non-residents are held to a minimum 3.4 GPA. For the exam requirement, UCSC students report a mean SAT score of 1210 and ACT score of 24. Admission by exception could be granted for life experiences or special talents.
Approximately one-fourth of UC-Santa Cruz undergraduates have transferred as juniors from regionally accredited colleges. Incoming transfers must attain 60 semester or 90 quarter units with a cumulative GPA above 2.4. Earning a “C” or better is required for one English composition, mathematics, physical science, and social science course. Non-native English speakers must score at least 6.5 on the IELTS or 550 on the TOEFL. Graduate UCSC applicants must hold an accredited bachelor’s with a “B” average or higher as upperclassmen. Certain programs have additional criteria, such as achieving a GRE score in the 90th percentile for the Jack Baskin School of Engineering.
The online application filing period at the University of California – Santa Cruz is November 1st to November 30th. Applicants must also submit the FAFSA form before March 2nd. Other materials to attach are:
• Payment for the $70 application fee
• Official secondary and college transcripts
• SAT and ACT Plus Writing scores (or GRE)
• One to two-page personal statement
• Resume of extracurricular experiences
• At least three recommendations (grad only)
Tuition and Financial Aid
California undergraduates enrolling full-time at UCSC will pay $13,515 for yearly tuition and fees. Non-residents are charged $26,682 extra for $40,197 each full-time undergraduate year. Unless waived, students pay $2,877 for health insurance. Room and board is estimated to add $15,216 while books and supplies cost $1,470. Total cost of attendance is roughly $35,505 (in-state) and $62,187 (out-of-state) annually. Graduate students from California are billed $14,049. Out-of-state graduates pay $15,102 more for $29,151 each year. However, the Master in Education specifically charges $13,362 (in-state) and $18,396 (out-of-state) yearly.
The NCES depicts good financial aid opportunities with 82 percent of UCSC students assisted. On average, financial aid packages provide $16,599 each year. Institutional awards, such as the Regents Scholarship, Campus Merit Scholarship, Karl S. Pister Scholarship, and Page and Eloise Smith Scholarship, are abundant. Financially needy students could earn the Pell Grant for up to $5,815 or the FSEOG Grant. In-state residents apply for the Cal Grant A or B and Middle Class Scholarship. UC-Santa Cruz offers its own Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan for families making under $80,000. Federal Work-Study (FWS) and graduate assistantships offer student income. Borrowing money with the Perkins, Stafford, PLUS, or California Dream loans is also possible.
The University of California – Santa Cruz connects students with world-class faculty at an 18:1 ratio to promote collaborative learning. Across five divisions, undergrads freely select from 65 majors, including Bioinformatics, Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, Feminist Studies, Linguistics, Marine Biology, Plant Science, and Robotics Engineering. High-achievers can join the UCSC Scholars Program for Honors courses and thesis work. Post-baccalaureate learners also choose from 41 master’s and doctoral options ranging from Digital Media to Latino Studies. Learning extends outside the classroom with the university’s 10 residential colleges lining Monterey Bay.
Over half of UC-Santa Cruz students live on-campus to explore nearby Natural Bridges State Beach, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, and Museum of Art & History. Students are also placed within a cutting-edge research community. Future horticulturists can study on 25 acres of the United States’ oldest organic farm. Engineers can test game design technology in the Expressive Intelligence Studio. Astrophysics majors view the galaxy at Lick Observatory and NASA Ames Research Center. The Joseph M. Long Marine Lab also features a three-tank dolphinarium for young ocean biologists. Aspiring writers can also review works by Robert A. Heinlein and Satyajit Ray in McHenry Library.
Getting involved in UCSC campus life is easy with over 150 registered, student-run organizations. Depending on their interests, students could talk sustainability with Organic Business Club, pledge Kappa Zeta, dance with the Haluan Hip-Hop Troupe, carry tunes with Cloud 9 A Cappella, debate with College Democrats, or serve with Circle K International. Annually, students congregate for the Chocolate Festival in Coconut Grove, First Rain celebration, Multicultural Festival, 420 Day, and other events. The University of California – Santa Cruz also cheers on its unusual mascot, the Banana Slug, in NCAA Division III competition with 15 varsity athletic teams.