Cal Poly Loans, Tuition, Costs & More

This is the complete guide to Cal Poly tuition, costs and student loans. If you’re considering California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo, you’re likely focussed on that huge, glaring sticker price: $N/A.

If you’re still trying to figure out if you can get into the school, try our college chances calculator for Cal Poly

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    That expensive sticker price can be extremely misleading and does not usually represent the true cost of Cal Poly. The reality is that a huge percentage of students who attend Cal Poly do not pay that number.

    What you are most likely concerned with is what you and your family will pay for California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo, which is dependent on a range of factors from family income to state residency.

    Before we get started, if you have any doubts about your ability to afford Cal Poly and are interested in student loans to support your education, the below vendors specifically lend to Cal Poly students - click any of them to learn more about their rates and requirements.

    Now, let’s break down that scary sticker price first.

    How much is Cal Poly tuition?

    The stated tuition for out-of-state students at California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo is $21696 while in-state students pay $9816. The dictionary definition of tuition is the “price of payment for instruction.” That’s an important distinction from the total cost of attending Cal Poly.

    Essentially, tuition is only what you pay to attend classes at Cal Poly. The annual charge of $21696 or $9816 often excludes dozens of other miscellaneous expenses, such as housing, textbooks, meals, fees and more. Therefore, the true cost of Cal Poly is much higher than either of these prices (more on this later).

    At the same time, however, tuition does not take into account factors that can help a student or family afford college, such as scholarships, student loans and grants.

    Therefore, although an important benchmark, the $9816 for California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo is likely not a good indicator of what you can expect to pay if you attend the school.

    What is the total cost of Cal Poly?

    If you’re already thinking of this question, you’re one step ahead of us! And you’re on the right track… .The total cost of attending Cal Poly is $N/A and is much more indicative of how much you will pay over the course of one year to attend the school - with one BIG caveat: total cost excludes financial supports that help reduce the cost of attending school, like scholarships at Cal Poly.

    Still, if you do not plan on receiving financial aid, student loans and the like then the California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo cost of attendance is the best indicator to consider.

    What does the total cost of Cal Poly include?

    The total cost of Cal Poly includes tuition and other common, material expenses, like textbooks and supplies, room and board, and meal costs, minus the average amount of financial aid and scholarships.

    Importantly, this does not reflect the price you will likely pay based on your income bracket.

    What is the price of room and board at Cal Poly?

    The cost of rooming and dorms at Cal Poly is $7792

    The cost of meals at Cal Poly is $5323.

    Cal Poly does not fully report room and boarding charges.

    How much is Cal Poly out of state tuition?

    Out of state tuition for Cal Poly is $21696.

    How much is California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo in state tuition?

    In state state tuition for Cal Poly is $9816.

    How can I afford Cal Poly?

    You should use a variety of financial tools to offset the cost of Cal Poly.

    It’s easy to lose track of all the assets at your disposal, but the most common can be categorized into grants, loans, and scholarships.

    At California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo, 0.1818% of students receive a pell grant. Furthermore, 0.304% of students borrow federal student loans to help pay for the school.

    If you will use student loans to help pay for Cal Poly, these providers below all work with Cal Poly students.

    How much will I pay for Cal Poly?

    This is the million dollar question - literally! Cal Poly students pay a variety of prices to attend the institution, as you already know. A very easy way to determine an average price you can expect to pay is by using your average family income and comparing it to the table below.

    For additional insight, try using the California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo net price calculator.

    Family Annual Income Average Net Price for Cal Poly
    $0 - 30,000 13301
    $30,001 - 48,000 14658
    $48,001 - 75,000 18834
    $75,001 - 110,000 21965
    $110,001+ 25819

    How much debt will I graduate with from Cal Poly?

    Beyond the years you plan on spending at California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo, the financial repercussions of Cal Poly tuition will stay with you for awhile, especially if you take out loans to finance the education.

    The median debt for students who have completed a degree at Cal Poly is $19500.0. We can break down this number further by household income and student type (see where you might fit in):

    Family Income and Student Types Median Debt from Cal Poly
    $0 - 30,000 Family income 16500.0
    $30,001 - 75,000 Family income 17500.0
    $75,000+ Family income 17167.0
    The median debt for Pell students 17501.0
    The median debt for female students 16666.0
    The median debt for male students 17500.0
    The median debt for first-generation students 17500.0

    Is Cal Poly worth the cost?

    Going to college is an investment, and like all investments, you should look at the ROI of attending California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo.

    Luckily, we can provide some insightful data to help determine whether or not Cal Poly is worth the cost by examining what past graduates are earning now.

    The average salary of students who were working six years after graduating from Cal Poly is $54700 (the median is $52100).

    After 8 years, the average salary for Cal Poly graduates is $N/A.

    10 years out, the average salary for Cal Poly graduates is $74300.

    I think it’s particularly interesting to look at the salary 10 years after graduation, and it’s probably more indicative of whether Cal Poly is worth the cost. The real upside of a college degree is that it puts you on a path where your future salary can increase substantially, and it may be hard to achieve that upside without a college degree.

    For example, after graduating from Cal Poly you may get a job where the salary is not too much more than you’d make without a college degree, and you may have taken out a lot of loans to get there!

    However, if you stay in that position for 5 or 10 years, you will likely begin doubling and tripling what you’re making.

    The future earnings potential is going to be much higher if you go to Cal Poly compared to not attending college at all. Therefore, it’s about maximizing that opportunity and reducing the debt needed to get there.

    How do Cal Poly graduates fare compared to similar schools?

    This is an important question because if you’re considering Cal Poly, you likely have other options on the table.

    Often times, students enroll in the cheapest university available to them. But, as we know from above, this isn’t the whole story.

    For example, you would pay 5% more for a college if you knew the average salary would also be 10% higher, wouldn’t you?

    There’s a lot of reasons why the average salary for Cal Poly students would differ from its peer schools. Perhaps the most popular areas of study align with higher or lower paying careers, or the school has a massive and supportive alumni network.

    Here are just a few related schools to Cal Poly that may be of interest. Click on any one to break down their costs and performance outcomes further.

    How much does Cal Poly cost per semester?

    Assuming there are two semesters at Cal Poly and you are an in-state student, you will pay $4908 per semester. If you are out-of-state, you will pay $10848 per semester.

    How much does Cal Poly cost per year?

    This is effectively the total annual cost of Cal Poly, which is $N/A. However, you can also add room and board, textbooks, and other fees listed above onto that number to better determine how you will really spend in one year of attendance.

    Is it possible to attend Cal Poly for free?

    In theory, yes it is possible to attend Cal Poly for free. If you are a stellar student, you may get a scholarship to cover the entire cost of the education.

    Similarly, if you are a student athlete, you may receive a full scholarship to be on a sports team.

    Unless you are receiving a “full ride” (e.g. full scholarship) to attend Cal Poly, though, it won’t be free. If you take out loans to finance the school, you may pay very little in the near term but all of that money must still be paid off in the long term.

    If you're trying to get in to Cal Poly read about the requirements here