UCSB vs. USC

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

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University of California Santa Barbara vs. University of Southern California comparison
University of California Santa Barbara University of Southern California College 3 College 4
University of California Santa Barbara University of Southern California
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Location Santa Barbara, CA Los Angeles, CA
Setting Midsize Suburban Large City
Students 25,976 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 $15,520 $15,912
Avg Net Price $16,767 $37,521
Avg Grant Aid $20,253 $37,217
% Receiving Grant Aid 57% 65%

Admission and Academics

Acceptance Rate 29.6% 11.4%
Avg High School GPA 3.96 3.73
Admissions Standards Exceptional Elite
Applicant Competition High Very High
ACT Range 27/34 31/34
SAT Range 1230/1480 1360/1530
Application Deadline Nov 30, 2019 Jan 10, 2020

Outcomes

Graduation Rate 80% 90%
Median Earnings (After 10 years) $59,000 $85,500
Making Student Loan Payments 73% 81%
Median Student Loan Debt $16,451 $22,375
Median Loan Payment $170 $231
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Comparable Facts

  • University of Southern California is larger than than UCSB based on total student enrollment (47,310 students vs. 25,976 students)

UCSB vs. USC Cost Comparison

Which college is more expensive, UCSB or USC?

  • University of Southern California is 400.4% more expensive to attend than UCSB for in-state tuition ($57,256.00 vs. $11,442.00)
  • Out of state tuition is 39% higher at USC than University of California Santa Barbara ($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 Santa Barbara than USC ($16,767 vs. $37,521)
  • Living costs (room and board or off-campus housing budget) at University of California Santa Barbara are 2.5% lower than costs at University of Southern California ($15,520 vs. $15,912)
  • More students receive financial grant aid at University of Southern California than University of California Santa Barbara (65% vs. 57%)
  • The average total grant financial aid received by University of Southern California students is 83.8% larger than aid received University of California Santa Barbara ($37,217 vs. $20,253)

UCSB vs. USC Admissions Difficulty Comparison

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

  • The average SAT score at University of Southern California (1391) is 143 points higher than at UCSB (1248)
  • Incoming USC students have a 3 point higher average ACT score (32) than students at UCSB (29)
  • UCSB has a higher acceptance rate (29.6%) than USC (11.4%)

UCSB vs. USC Graduation Outcomes Comparison

Which is better, UCSB 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 UCSB.

  • The graduation rate at USC is higher that University of California Santa Barbara (90% vs. 80%)
  • Graduates from University of Southern California earn on average $26,500 more per year than UCSB graduates after ten years. ($85,500 vs. $59,000)
  • University of California Santa Barbara students graduate with a $5,924 lower median federal student loan debt than USC graduates. ($16,451 vs. $22,375)
  • UCSB graduates are paying $61 less per month on federal student loans than USC graduates. ($170 vs. $231)
  • More USC graduates are actively paying back their federal student loan debt than former UCSB students, three years after graduation. (81% vs. 73%)

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