University of California--Santa Cruz

2014 Quick Stats
1156 High Street

Santa Cruz, CA 95064

Phone: (831) 459-0111
2013-2014 Tuition
male /
Nov. 30
application deadline

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U.S. News Rankings

Ranking score and category
U.S. News rank Category Name
#86 Overall Score: 51 out of 100. National Universities

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University of California--Santa Cruz is a public institution that was founded in 1965. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 15,978, its setting is suburban, and the campus size is 2,000 acres. It utilizes a quarter-based academic calendar. University of California--Santa Cruz's ranking in the 2014 edition of Best Colleges is National Universities, 86. Its in-state tuition and fees are $13,416 (2013-14); out-of-state tuition and fees are $36,294 (2013-14).

At the University of California—Santa Cruz, one of 10 schools in the state's university system, residence life can define a student's experience. Nearly 100 percent of freshmen live on campus and choose one of 10 residential colleges to join. These small groups have their own campus locations, as well as unique architecture and programming. Kresge College, for example, is home to an organic garden where students can take classes; students who are members of the College Nine community are often active in volunteer efforts and the college's Alternative Spring Break trips. Students who own RVs can also choose to reside in Camper Park, a unique community of students who live in their own home-like vehicles and share a common bathroom and lounge. Student campers may live with pre-approved roommates who are full-time UCSC students or spouses. Students living in residence halls may only have overnight guests 15 times a school year, for a maximum of three nights each visit.

On campus, there are more than 25 miles of hiking and jogging trails, and more than 100 student clubs and organizations. Only about 3 percent of students are members of the school's small Greek system. The UC Santa Cruz sports teams are independent competitors in the NCAA's Division III. Athletes are cheered on by the Banana Slug, a nontraditional, yellow earthen creature that has been recognized among the best mascots in the country. For fun, students can tour Dead Central, a room full of Grateful Dead memorabilia donated by the band to UCSC, or explore the small beach town of Santa Cruz, located on Monterey Bay. There are rides and games on the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, and opportunities for swimming, sailing and kayaking on the bay. To get around, students can travel on the Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District buses for free with school ID. For longer road trips, Monterey is 45 miles away, and San Francisco is a 75-mile trip.

In particular, this public research institution’s academic prowess looks to the skies. The school is nationally known for astronomy and space sciences programs. Other creative programs include a computer game design major, and UCSC was the first school in the University of California system to offer the degree. Female engineers are in especially good company at UCSC; the school is noted for offering one of the highest percentages of engineering graduate degrees to women. Notable alumni include Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Dana Priest, NPR broadcast producers Nikki Silva and Davia Nelson, known as The Kitchen Sisters, and romance novelist Jayne Ann Krentz, who often writes under the pseudonyms Amanda Quick and Jayne Castle.

School mission and unique qualities (as provided by the school):

Part of the 10-campus University of California, one of the world's most prestigious research universities, the University of California, Santa Cruz is characterized by an extraordinary commitment to undergraduate teaching and research. Nestled on 2,000 acres of redwood forest and meadow on the Central Coast of California, UC Santa Cruz is renowned for world-changing research in biomolecular engineering, physics, marine sciences, environmental sciences, astronomy and astrophysics, and international economics, among other prestigious programs. The campus is home to the national Center for Adaptive Optics, the Laboratory for Adaptive Optics, the Institute of Marine Sciences, the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, and the nationally recognized summer repertory theater company Shakespeare Santa Cruz. Research activity at UC Santa Cruz is interdisciplinary and collaborative and focuses on improving the planet and the lives of all its inhabitants. Recent research initiatives include the Center for Sustainable Energy and Power Systems, the Center for Collaborative Research for an Equitable California (CCREC), and the discovery of the first potentially habitable planet outside our Solar System. UC Santa Cruz's Jack Baskin School of Engineering addresses such important 21st century topics as information technology, nanotechnology, and biotechnology. The Baskin School of Engineering recently added innovative new majors in robotics engineering and computer game design, and it offers one of the few undergraduate majors in bioinformatics in the country. UC Santa Cruz has a distinctive residential college system, in which all undergraduate students, whether they live in university housing or not, are affiliated with one of 10 colleges. In addition to housing students in small-scale residential communities, each college offers courses, provides academic support, organizes student activities, and sponsors events that enhance the intellectual and social life of the campus. College affiliation is independent of choice of major. Every college community includes students with diverse backgrounds and academic goals. In addition to its outstanding beauty, the campus benefits from its strategic location near Silicon Valley and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, offering students numerous opportunities for research and internships. The campus has won many awards for its sustainability programs, including recognition from Sierra Magazine, recognition for its innovative dining hall programs, and LEED-certified "Gold" buildings. For more information, see

General Information

School type public, coed college
Year founded 1965
Religious affiliation N/A
Academic calendar quarter
Setting suburban
2012 Endowment $194,429,000


When applying to University of California--Santa Cruz, it's important to note the application deadline is November 30. Scores for either the ACT or SAT test are due December 31. The application fee at University of California--Santa Cruz is $70. It is selective, with an acceptance rate of 60.9 percent.

For more information about the tests, essays, interviews, and admissions process, visit the Applying to College knowledge center.

Selectivity selective
Fall 2012 acceptance rate 60.9%
Application deadline November 30
SAT/ACT scores must be received by December 31

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Academic Life

The student-faculty ratio at University of California--Santa Cruz is 18:1, and the school has 49 percent of its classes with fewer than 20 students. The most popular majors at University of California--Santa Cruz include: Psychology, General; Environmental Studies; Business/Managerial Economics; Biology/Biological Sciences, General; and Sociology. The average freshman retention rate, an indicator of student satisfaction, is 90.3 percent.

Class sizes
Class sizes
Student-faculty ratio 18:1
4-year graduation rate 53%
Five most popular majors for 2012 graduates
Psychology, General 12%
Environmental Studies 7%
Business/Managerial Economics 6%
Biology/Biological Sciences, General 4%
Sociology 4%

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Student Life

University of California--Santa Cruz has a total undergraduate enrollment of 15,978, with a gender distribution of 46.7 percent male students and 53.3 percent female students. At this school, 48 percent of the students live in college-owned, -operated, or -affiliated housing and 52 percent of students live off campus. University of California--Santa Cruz is part of the NCAA III athletic conference.

Total enrollment 17,404
Student gender distribution
Student gender distribution
Undergraduate men who are members of a fraternity
Undergraduate men who are members of a fraternity
Undergraduate women who are members of a sorority
Undergraduate women who are members of a sorority
Collegiate athletic association NCAA III

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Campus Info & Services

University of California--Santa Cruz offers a number of student services including nonremedial tutoring, women's center, placement service, day care, health service, and health insurance. University of California--Santa Cruz also offers campus safety and security services like 24-hour foot and vehicle patrols, late night transport/escort service, 24-hour emergency telephones, lighted pathways/sidewalks, and controlled dormitory access (key, security card, etc). Of the students at University of California--Santa Cruz, 19 percent have cars on campus. Alcohol is permitted for students of legal age at University of California--Santa Cruz.

Students who have cars on campus 19%
Health insurance offered Yes

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Paying for School

At University of California--Santa Cruz, 67.3 percent of full-time undergraduates receive some kind of need-based financial aid and the average need-based scholarship or grant award is $18,039.

Paying for college doesn't have to be difficult or devastating. Go to the Paying for College knowledge center to get advice on raising cash and reducing costs.

In-state tuition and fees $13,416 (2013-14)
Out-of-state tuition and fees $36,294 (2013-14)
Room and board $14,408 (2013-14)
Financial aid statistics
Financial aid statistics

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* Overview details based on 2012 data

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