At Mckpage, we understand that pursuing higher education is a major investment, especially for international students.
The University of California (UC) system is an excellent choice for those seeking a world-class education, but with its highly competitive admissions process and costly application fees, it can be a challenging path to navigate.
Whether you’re a prospective student, a current applicant, or a concerned parent, we’ve got you covered.
Understanding the Basics
First and foremost, let’s talk about the basics of UC application fees for international students.
As of 2023, the application fee for undergraduate international students is $120 per campus.
This fee is non-refundable and must be paid online by credit card.
It’s important to note that this fee only applies to undergraduate applications.
Graduate application fees vary by program, so be sure to check the specific requirements for your intended program.
Fee Waivers and Exemptions
If the application fee presents a financial burden, there are options available to help ease the cost.
UC offers fee waivers and exemptions for eligible students.
Here are some of the common scenarios where a waiver or exemption may apply:
- Financial hardship: If paying the application fee would cause financial hardship, you may be eligible for a fee waiver. To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or AB 540 eligible. Additionally, you must demonstrate that you are receiving certain types of public benefits or your family income falls within specific income guidelines.
- California residents: If you are a California resident and meet certain income requirements, you may be eligible for a fee waiver. For example, if your family income is less than $80,000 per year for a family of four, you may qualify for a waiver.
- Participating in specific programs: If you are participating in certain programs, such as the College Board’s SAT Fee Waiver Program, you may be eligible for an application fee waiver.
In addition to fee waivers, there are also fee exemptions available for specific groups of students.
Here are a few examples:
- UC Exchange Program: If you are participating in the UC Exchange Program, you may be exempt from paying the application fee.
- California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science (COSMOS): If you are participating in the COSMOS program, you may be exempt from paying the application fee.
- McNair Scholars Program: If you are a participant in the McNair Scholars Program, you may be exempt from paying the application fee.
Applying for a fee waiver or exemption can be a lengthy process, so it’s important to start early and gather all necessary documentation.
For more information on how to apply for a fee waiver or exemption, visit the UC Admissions website.
Tips for Managing Application Costs
Even with fee waivers and exemptions, applying to UC can still be a significant financial investment.
Here are some tips to help you manage the costs:
- Apply early: Some UC campuses offer early application deadlines, which can help you save money on application fees. For example, UC Riverside offers a discounted application fee of $70 for students who apply by November 30th.
- Choose your campuses wisely: Each additional UC campus you apply to will incur a separate application fee. Be strategic in your campus choices and only apply to those that truly interest you.
- Utilize fee payment plans: If paying the application fee all at once is a financial burden, some UC campuses offer payment plans that allow you to spread the cost out over several months.
- Look for external scholarships: There are many external scholarship opportunities available to help offset the costs of applying to college. Do some research and apply to as many scholarships as possible to increase your chances of receiving financial aid.
- Consider community college: If the cost of applying to UC is too high, consider starting at a community college and transferring to a UC campus later on. This can be a more affordable option and can still lead to a UC degree.
- Talk to your high school counselor: Your high school counselor can be a valuable resource when it comes to navigating the college application process. They may be able to provide you with information on fee waivers, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities.