UCSD vs. USC

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

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University of California San Diego vs. University of Southern California comparison
University of California San Diego University of Southern California College 3 College 4
University of California San Diego University of Southern California
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Location La Jolla, CA Los Angeles, CA
Setting Large City Large City
Students 37,887 47,310
Type Public 4 Year Private 4 Year
Religious Affiliation - - - -
Status Non-profit Non-profit

Costs

Tuition (In State) $11,442 $57,256
Tuition (Out of State) $41,196 $57,256
Room & Board $14,271 $15,912
Avg Net Price $14,864 $37,521
Avg Grant Aid $18,237 $37,217
% Receiving Grant Aid 56% 65%

Admission and Academics

Acceptance Rate 31.5% 11.4%
Avg High School GPA 3.82 3.73
Admissions Standards Exceptional Elite
Applicant Competition High Very High
ACT Range 26/34 31/34
SAT Range 1250/1490 1360/1530
Application Deadline Nov 30, 2019 Jan 10, 2020

Outcomes

Graduation Rate 85% 90%
Median Earnings (After 10 years) $67,900 $85,500
Making Student Loan Payments 82% 81%
Median Student Loan Debt $18,500 $22,375
Median Loan Payment $191 $231
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Comparable Facts

  • University of Southern California is larger than than UCSD based on total student enrollment (47,310 students vs. 37,887 students)

UCSD vs. USC Cost Comparison

Which college is more expensive, UCSD or USC?

  • University of Southern California is 400.4% more expensive to attend than UCSD for in-state tuition ($57,256.00 vs. $11,442.00)
  • Out of state tuition is 39% higher at USC than University of California San Diego ($57,256.00 vs. $41,196.00)
  • The typical actual cost that students pay to attend (average net price) is less at University of California San Diego than USC ($14,864 vs. $37,521)
  • Living costs (room and board or off-campus housing budget) at University of California San Diego are 11.5% lower than costs at University of Southern California ($14,271 vs. $15,912)
  • More students receive financial grant aid at University of Southern California than University of California San Diego (65% vs. 56%)
  • The average total grant financial aid received by University of Southern California students is 104.1% larger than aid received University of California San Diego ($37,217 vs. $18,237)

UCSD vs. USC Admissions Difficulty Comparison

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

  • The average SAT score at University of Southern California (1391) is 47 points higher than at UCSD (1344)
  • Incoming USC students have a 1 point higher average ACT score (32) than students at UCSD (31)
  • UCSD has a higher acceptance rate (31.5%) than USC (11.4%)

UCSD vs. USC Graduation Outcomes Comparison

Which is better, UCSD or USC? 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 USC and UCSD.

  • The graduation rate at USC is higher that University of California San Diego (90% vs. 85%)
  • Graduates from University of Southern California earn on average $17,600 more per year than UCSD graduates after ten years. ($85,500 vs. $67,900)
  • University of California San Diego students graduate with a $3,875 lower median federal student loan debt than USC graduates. ($18,500 vs. $22,375)
  • UCSD graduates are paying $40 less per month on federal student loans than USC graduates. ($191 vs. $231)
  • More UCSD graduates are actively paying back their federal student loan debt than former USC students, three years after graduation. (82% vs. 81%)

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