Since its opening in 1903 as a vocational school with an emphasis on “learning by doing,” Cal Poly has evolved into a skills-focused university with 65 majors, including one in wine and viticulture and several within its well-known engineering school.
The campus covers more than 9,100 acres and uses canyons, ranches, beaches and even a farm to teach students hands-on lessons in agriculture, biology and forestry. Student research projects are encouraged, and the university recently opened an office to ensure research opportunities are accessible to all students. In fact, improving accessibility and diversity has been a campus-wide focus in recent years, as the university is less diverse than other California public colleges.
More than 90% of Cal Poly graduates are working full time or in grad schools within a year, the school reports. Students go on to earn median salaries of just over $85,000 in their early careers, a premium over similar schools, according to Money's analysis.
Cal Poly's home is sunny San Luis Obispo, located on the California coast about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Known as “Slo,” the college argues it’s the most collegiate of the state’s college towns, with farm-to-table restaurants, nightlife and cultural events. Outside the city, students can explore hiking trails or relax on the nearby beaches.
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo tuition and fees
Estimated cost and due date
Tuition and fees at California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo are $10,319 (in-state) and $28,229 (out-of-state). You should also factor in room and board, books, and living expenses while enrolled.
The due date for Fall is August 21, 2023, but it's always a good idea to check the university's official calendar or your student portal for any changes. Late payments may incur extra fees.
Feeling overwhelmed by the cost? That’s understandable – college can be expensive, but there are a variety of financial aid sources you can use, including student loans, grants, and scholarships. Here is a brief overview of the available options; for a more comprehensive step-by-step, read our How to Pay for College guide.
Exploring financial aid options at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
Scholarships and grants
The average grant aid for undergraduates at California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo is $6,821, which is composed of awards from federal, state, local and college programs. The federal Pell Grant, which is given to lower-income students, is one of the most common sources of aid for college. Approximately 16% of students at California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo receive a Pell Grant. To be eligible for Pell Grants and other types of financial aid, you need to fill out the FAFSA.
Most states have a program to assist students with college expenses. Generally, these awards are only available to those who are studying in the same state, but it is worth verifying the eligibility criteria of your home state. For example, in California, residents can qualify for the Cal Grant and other programs.
University scholarships, aka institutional aid
California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo provides scholarships to 44% of their freshmen annually, which are typically worth an average of $4,068. These scholarships combine merit-based aid alongside need-based aid, the latter of which covers various awards not based on financial circumstances, such as academic excellence, creative aptitude or leadership potential.
Don't forget to search for external scholarships too. There are many local organizations that provide scholarships to assist students with college costs, and some scholarships have year-round deadlines so you can get funds after you've enrolled. Check out our guide on college grants and scholarships to find out more about the various types of gift aid.
Federal student loans
Federal student loans are a widely used source of borrowing for higher education costs. Such loans are funded by the government and are characterized by competitively low-interest rates and flexible payment plans.
Private student loans
Private student loans are an alternate choice. Banks and credit unions are some of the private lenders that offer them. They can be used to cover the costs not taken care of by federal loans, but they usually have higher interest rates and less flexible repayment plans.
How to pay tuition bills at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
If you have obtained a loan, grant or scholarship, the money is usually sent directly to the university. To cover any outstanding charges, tuition payments can be made through the website at https://www.calpoly.edu/.
The data included in this page contains data published in university sites, government public records and other vetted sources as of June 23, 2023. Be advised to validate this information with the university registrar or financial office.
This content was created with the assistance of AI technology and has been reviewed, edited and fact-checked by Money's editorial staff.