Before a U.S. consul will grant a visa, you must prove that you will have sufficient money to meet all your expenses while studying in the United States.

You must explain the source of your funds and guarantee that you will receive them while at UC.

Unless you are able to provide written evidence demonstrating you have adequate financial resources for the entire time needed to complete your degree program, the consul will not grant a student visa.

If your country's government limits the amount of money that may be sent to its students in the United States, you should make sure that funds will be available.

When you leave your country, you must have enough money to:

  • Pay for traveling expenses to the UC
  • Pay fees for the entire term
  • Meet living expenses until more money reaches you
  • Pay the return fare to your home

If your country's government requires verification of enrollment before money can be forwarded to you, you may request the campus International Student Advisor to provide verification after you have completed your UC registration.

Some students assume, incorrectly, that additional financial assistance or part-time employment will be available. Each year many students find themselves in serious financial difficulties because they did not arrange for adequate support.

Before making firm plans to come to the United States to study, you should read the following information carefully.

Total estimated cost

The chart that follows provides the estimated average fees and expenses for the 2017-2018 academic year (nine months) for an undergraduate living in UC housing. It is provided only as a guide. Actual costs for the next academic year will vary and fees and expenses are subject to change. Graduate and professional school fees vary by program and may be greater than undergraduate fees.


Undergraduate Costs for Nine-Month Academic Year, 2017–2018

Tuition and Fees*


Books and Supplies


Living (Room and Board)




Health Insurance Allowance/Fee


Total Average Estimated Costs


Figures for fees, books and supplies, living expenses, personal/transportation expenses and total expenses represent averages at all UC campuses (except San Francisco). The figures for 2017–18 tuition and fees include education and student services fees required of all UC students, miscellaneous campus fees, plus $28,014 in tuition and fees for UC students who are not residents of California.

In general, UC fees must be paid upon registration at the beginning of each term. Some campuses permit students to pay fees in installments. Contact the Office of the International Student Advisor on the campus you expect to attend to learn whether such an option will be available to you.

Figures for personal/transportation expenses include personal items, laundry, some recreational activities and costs for limited local travel. This assumes the student has moderate spending habits, is not supporting a spouse or family and is well-supplied with clothing and other personal belongings. Transportation and telephone calls between the United States and another country are not included.

Cost of living off-campus

Living expenses for students who choose to live off campus vary depending upon the community surrounding the campus. Students should be aware that there are often additional costs associated with renting an apartment or house, such as advance payment of a security deposit and additional month's rent and utility payments.

Summer expenses

Costs for living expenses and attending school during the summer are not included in the chart above.

Students can expect to spend at least $4,740 for living expenses during the summer, plus expenses associated with attending school.

Financial assistance and additional fees

Most international students find it difficult to obtain financial assistance in the United States, particularly if no aid has been offered by an academic department or scholarship organization before arrival in the United States.

Also, it's important to note that UC awards a very limited number of grants, loans and scholarships to international undergraduates. At some campuses, no assistance is available to international undergraduates.

Waiver of fees

Students from the host universities affiliated with UC's Education Abroad Program (EAP) may be considered for waivers of nonresident tuition fees and other awards. Procedures for granting waivers and awards vary among the host institutions. If you are a student at a host university, you should contact the resident director of the UC EAP in your country for more information.


There are very limited opportunities for employment, either on or off campus, except as a teaching or research assistant. Students who hope to secure employment or financial assistance after enrolling at UC may be unable to complete their studies. U.S. government restrictions make summer and part-time off-campus work extremely difficult to secure.