Cal Poly vs. UCSD

Should I go to California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo or University of California San Diego? Compare the two schools' costs, SAT, ACT, GPA, admissions criteria and outcomes to help you determine if Cal Poly or UCSD is the better college for you.

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California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo vs. University of California San Diego comparison
California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo University of California San Diego College 3 College 4
California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo University of California San Diego
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Location San Luis Obispo, CA La Jolla, CA
Setting Small Suburban Large City
Students 22,013 37,887
Type Public 4 Year Public 4 Year
Religious Affiliation - - - -
Status Non-profit Non-profit

Costs

Tuition (In State) $5,742 $11,442
Tuition (Out of State) $17,622 $40,434
Room & Board $13,770 $13,651
Avg Net Price $19,002 $14,616
Avg Grant Aid $5,891 $18,231
% Receiving Grant Aid 50% 52%

Admission and Academics

Acceptance Rate 30.2% 30.1%
Avg High School GPA 3.87 3.82
Admissions Standards Exceptional Exceptional
Applicant Competition High High
ACT Range 26/32 27/33
SAT Range 1240/1430 1260/1470
Application Deadline Nov 30, 2019 Nov 30, 2019

Outcomes

Graduation Rate 75% 85%
Median Earnings (After 10 years) $69,400 $67,900
Making Student Loan Payments 85% 82%
Median Student Loan Debt $18,666 $18,500
Median Loan Payment $193 $191
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Comparable Facts

  • University of California San Diego is larger than than Cal Poly based on total student enrollment (37,887 students vs. 22,013 students)

Cal Poly vs. UCSD Cost Comparison

Which college is more expensive, Cal Poly or UCSD?

  • University of California San Diego is 99.3% more expensive to attend than Cal Poly for in-state tuition ($11,442.00 vs. $5,742.00)
  • Out of state tuition is 129.5% higher at UCSD than California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo ($40,434.00 vs. $17,622.00)
  • The typical actual cost that students pay to attend (average net price) is less at University of California San Diego than Cal Poly ($14,616 vs. $19,002)
  • Living costs (room and board or off-campus housing budget) at University of California San Diego are 0.9% lower than costs at California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo ($13,651 vs. $13,770)
  • More students receive financial grant aid at University of California San Diego than California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo (52% vs. 50%)
  • The average total grant financial aid received by University of California San Diego students is 209.5% larger than aid received California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo ($18,231 vs. $5,891)

Cal Poly vs. UCSD Admissions Difficulty Comparison

Which college is harder to get into, Cal Poly or UCSD? Average SAT and ACT scores plus acceptance rates offer good insight into the difficulty of admission between UCSD or Cal Poly .

  • The average SAT score at University of California San Diego (1344) is 85 points higher than at Cal Poly (1259)
  • Incoming UCSD students have a 2 point higher average ACT score (31) than students at Cal Poly (29)
  • Cal Poly has a higher acceptance rate (30.2%) than UCSD (30.1%)

Cal Poly vs. UCSD Graduation Outcomes Comparison

Which is better, Cal Poly or UCSD? Graduation rate, salary and amount of student loan debt are indicators of a college which offers better outcomes for its graduates. Compare the following outcomes facts between UCSD and Cal Poly.

  • The graduation rate at UCSD is higher that California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo (85% vs. 75%)
  • Graduates from California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo earn on average $1,500 more per year than UCSD graduates after ten years. ($69,400 vs. $67,900)
  • University of California San Diego students graduate with a $166 lower median federal student loan debt than Cal Poly graduates. ($18,500 vs. $18,666)
  • UCSD graduates are paying $2 less per month on federal student loans than Cal Poly graduates. ($191 vs. $193)
  • More Cal Poly graduates are actively paying back their federal student loan debt than former UCSD students, three years after graduation. (85% vs. 82%)

Sources: U.S. Department of Education https://nces.ed.gov IPEDS and College Scorecard https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/