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Overall Score: 76.35

University of California, Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara, CA
Students come to the University of California, Santa Barbara with many expectations: to be challenged academically, to enjoy the beautiful Pacific coast scenery and to party their socks off. From day one, students say, UCSB doesn't disappoint. Lectures can be large but professors expect students – of whom there are about 26,000 – to quickly catch on to material. The campus is constantly abuzz, with clubs tabling outside the University Center, student protests and vendors lined up along the miles of bike racks. The neighboring town of Isla Vista houses a majority of the students, as well as local restaurants (the most famous being late-night burrito stop Freebirds), copy shops, grocery co-ops and every other service a college student could need. It's not uncommon for students to stay within the "I.V. Bubble", venturing out only to party downtown or perhaps catch a movie. UCSB has a solid graduation rate of about 84%, and students go on to earn median salaries around $66,000 in their first several years after school.


Est. full price 2022-2023
% of students who get any grants
Est. price for students who receive aid
Average price for low-income students


Acceptance rate
Median SAT/ACT score
SAT/ACT required?
Undergraduate enrollment

Financial Aid

% of students with need who get grants
% of need met
% of students who get merit grants
Average merit grant

Student Success

Graduation rate
Average time to a degree
4.2 years
Median student debt
Early career earnings
% earning more than a high school grad

Notes: Students who get merit grants are full-time undergraduates who had no financial need and were awarded grants. Graduation rate measures degree completion within six years for both transfer students and first-time students. Early career earnings are the median earnings for both graduates and non-completers, 10 years after they first enrolled.

Sources: U.S. Department of Education, Peterson’s, Money/Witlytic calculations.

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