California Student Loans
California offers a bevy of educational institutions for students across all disciplines, ranging from the state’s stellar public university system to its many private colleges. Thankfully, there are likewise many options available when it comes to California student loans.
The University of California
California has one of the best public college systems in the nation, known as the University of California. The UC system includes colleges with top ranking reputations, such as UC Berkeley and UCLA. While only California state residents will receive in-state tuition, UC schools also admit out-of-state students. For students who qualify for in-state tuition, the overall cost of attending a UC school is often far less than most private colleges without any sacrifice of academic rigor and prestige. In short, UC schools not only provide an excellent education but also good value.
As the University of California reports, more than 233,000 are enrolled in the entire UC system, which has a staff of more than 190,000 faculty. There are over 1.7 million alumni of the UC system worldwide.
The UC system features 150 academic disciplines across the following 10 college campuses:
- UC Berkeley
- UC Davis
- UC Irvine
- UC Merced
- UC Riverside
- UC San Diego
- UC San Francisco
- UC Santa Barbara
- UC Santa Cruz
The success of the UC system relies in great part on the success of its students. According to the University of California Accountability Report 2015, over four-fifths of entering students graduate within 6 years from a UC campus, and over the last decade the number of undergraduate degrees earned has increased by 41% from 33,325 to 46,935. Part of the success of the UC system may owe to the fact that it provides generous aid packages. According to the University of California, over two-thirds of undergraduates appreciate an average financial aid award of over $16,000.
Private Colleges in California
In view of the prestige of the public education system in California, it is no surprise that California is also home to some of the most elite colleges in the nation. According to Forbes, in 2013, the number one private university in the country was Stanford University. Not incidentally, the second top most ranking school, Pomona College, is also in California. There is a considerable price tag attached to these schools as Forbes notes costs were approximately $58,846 and $57,014 respectively. Compare these costs to the UC system, which according to the University of California, for the 2013-2014 academic year were estimated at $32,400 (in-state tuition plus on campus living) and $29,200 (off campus).
Whether you are planning to attend a school within the UC system or a private college in California, you will likely need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). California schools, both private and public, usually provide mixed financial aid packages that include the following types of aid:
- Federal Direct Loans, including PLUS loans
- Federal Pell Grant
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG)
- Cal Grant
- College-specific scholarships
- Outside scholarships (for example, Almanor scholarships for graduates of Chester High School in Chester, California and the Anne Trabue scholarships)
- Federal Work-Study (wages earned through on-campus employment)
- Private student loans
Student Loans in California
In the event your financial aid package results in a gap between free funds (such as grants and scholarships) and outstanding costs, borrowing federal and/or private loans may be necessary. As federal loans are government-backed, they offer lower than market interest rates. But according to Project on Student Debt, private student loan rates are often variable, and as of April 2014, they were as high, in some cases, as 13 percent.