Do you want to study in California as an international student? If so, you need to know the tuition prices in California. Since most students would like to save money, I will list the cheapest universities in California for international students.

The tuition information was obtained from each university’s website, and I have included the link to that site so that you can see the information from the official source.

If you would like, take a look at each of the links to verify the information that has been provided to you. That’s one of the reasons that I have provided the link because you can check for yourself.

Also, there is a lot of false information out on the web, so I wanted to establish the authority by linking to the official scholarship sites. Now, let’s take a look at cheap universities in California!

How Did I Calculate the Tuition for International Students?

In the United States, international students pay the same tuition as out-of-state students. So basically, I calculated the out-of-state tuition of each university in California. That would be the tuition fee for international students.

If there was a specific section regarding tuition fees for international students, I have used that information. If not, I have added the in-state tuition with out-of-state tuition and got the tuition fees for international students.

California Scholarships for International Students

Students with excellent GPA, SAT, and/or ACT, can receive generous scholarships from universities in California. Since the scholarship policy is different for each university, you would have to find a scholarship section on their website.

It will have useful information for you, but it will take some time to find the information. There are some cases where you can’t even find the information. In that case, I would either call or email the admissions or financial aid office.

Another thing that you should do is to look for scholarships in other states as well. The University of Alabama provides full-tuition scholarships for all international students with a certain GPA. Another place that you can find information is shown in the USA Scholarship Category and 20+ Best Scholarships in the USA.

How to Apply to Universities in California as an International Student

The application procedure is almost the same for international students. You just have to follow the directions for American students with a few exceptions. First, you will not have to file the FAFSA if you are applying for scholarships because you are not eligible for federal aid. Second, you will have to demonstrate English proficiency by taking TOEFL or IELTS.

These two are the main differences between the application procedure for international students and domestic students. Since the application procedures for each university is different, you need to look at the university website’s admissions page to look at the specific instructions. You will have all that you need there.

Check Also: Available Programs for International Students

Cheap Universities in California for International Students

1. San Diego State University

Being one of the universities in the Californian public college system, San Diego State University (SDSU) has done its absolute best to lower the cost of attendance to a minimum since they really don’t want students graduating with a heavy financial burden. Please keep in mind that SDSU has the right to change the fees without notice since there are times when government funding is not enough.

2. Sonoma State University

Similar to our first mentioned university, Sonoma State University (SSU) is also one of the public institutions in the public university system in California. As you will continue to see, all the public universities in the state of California charge similar tuition fees since they are all under the same collegiate system. If you are looking to apply to a university in California, look at their offered programs since their specialties will differ by institution.

3. San Franciso State University

Being part of the California State University, San Francisco State University (SFSU) puts its emphasis on its students. Due to the late epidemic, SFSU has put a lot of effort and resources into creating networks to connect newly accepted students to a current student or a mentor so that you would adjust easily to the new environment change at San Francisco. In addition, the tuition is cheaper than most universities in California, which is a plus for international applicants.

4. San José State University

Being one of the oldest institutions on the west coast of California, San José State University is one of the first campuses established by the California State University System. Situated in San José, this institution was named one of the most diverse campuses in the United States due to the high number of enrollments from international students. Since it was given this title pretty recently, you might be able to find fellow country members at SJSU.

5. Humboldt State University

Being one of the top three polytechnic universities in the CSU system, Humboldt State University offers a diverse array of academic programs, starting from 50 different fields of undergraduate programs and nearly 15 master’s degree programs. Unfortunately, there are no doctoral programs offered by HSU, but the academic facilities that are established by HSU are state-of-the-art quality and filled with technologically advanced equipment.

6. California State University Stanislaus

Even though this institution is also part of the CSU system, the California State University Stanislaus is the only campus in the entire system that offers a bachelor’s degree in cognitive studies. Being the 15th campus in the California State University System, Stanislaus State is famous for its undergraduate programs in Business Administration, Psychology, Liberal Studies, Biological Sciences, and Criminal Justice.

7. California State Polytechnic Pomona

Also being part of the top polytechnic universities at CSU, Cal Poly Pomona is one of the top institutions for engineering, and when it comes to the number of academic programs, CPP offers nearly 100 undergraduate programs and more than 50 postgraduate degrees. If you are interested in studying in California, check out the tuition fees for international students for specific details.


I hope that you’ve liked this information about cheap universities in California for international students. To know more information on studying abroad, check out the Available Programs for International Students.