UC Santa Barbara Class of 2025 — Regular Decision

Edit: It’s not taking spots away from a CA student in any meaningful way. Most believe it’s OK to have at least a bit of geographic diversity. And certainly the money is needed since CA’s budget doesn’t fund the UC’s enough. Just saying that the actual numbers of OOS kids at UCSB is so tiny it really doesn’t affect weather your particular CA kid got in or not. Plus they are evaluated in 2 separate pools. At UCSB, I don’t even think they have maxed out their “cap” of OOS students they are allowed to enroll. At Davis, it’s even less. They could enroll several thousand, but only a few hundred show up.


Back to this issue, I’m wondering what people are doing in general about factoring in the freshman housing issue when making a decision? My D21 is also accepted to a small liberal arts college which has already stated that their dorms will be open for freshmen. She is deciding between that and UCSB, but we really have no idea what to expect for UC housing. If she picks UCSB, should we plan on trying to find a roommate and an apartment before we hear from the school? What are other families doing about this?

Couldn’t agree more. I wish more understood this. So many posts are misguided on this topic. They also neglect to realize that just because we pay high taxes in CA doesn’t mean that all their tax dollars go to the UC system. State funding makes up such a small portion of the actual funding of these schools. Its more like slightly state subsidized now. Our tax dollars go to a wide array of items including the CC and CSU system’s.

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The admit rate for OOS into UC and schools like CP SLO ranges from 20-80%, about 2-4X the rate at in-state.

Right. And how many enroll? Aside from UCLA and Berk…very, very few. UCSB, Davis, and Cal Poly in particular are tough to get to from OOS, and are extremely expensive not even including the extra travel costs. They admit tons so they can yield just a few hundred.

Those OOS kids are making up for the lack of funding universities across the country have been receiving since the Recession. Those kids are a part of the reason the UC’s are as good as they are

Here are the actual numbers of domestic, non-resident (OOS) Freshman students walking around UCSB since 2015:

2015: 298
2016: 226
2017: 270
2018: 379
2019: 351
2020: 406 (Covid; they accepted far more)

Each incoming class is about 5,000 students. So the OOS numbers are minuscule, 6-7% or so of the student population. Yes, they have to have a high acceptance rate of 35-50% to get those tiny numbers above. But no, it’s not affecting the admit rate of CA kids. Different pool entirely.


I understand the buildings and campus is closed, but if we were to go there, could we walk around campus and check it out without anyone stopping us, or is it literally locked down behind a gate?

No gates. You can walk around campus even if the buildings are closed.

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Visit the on campus dorms and then make sure you drive out to Santa Catalina (the former Francisco Torres (FT) tower). If you choose UCSB, you’ll want to get a feel for the convenience of on campus dorms vs Santa Catalina. Find a restaurant on Pardall to sit outside and grab a bite to eat to get a feel for the student life in Isla Vista.


My daughter is an OOS admitted student. I contacted housing by email to ask several questions in the context of a resumption to normal operations. I waited over 24 hrs for a reply, and unfortunately the response to my questions was “we don’t know because of Covid.” So that brings me to CC:

Normally, what fraction of UCSB freshman are housed as triples? The website says most. I saw photos of their rooms set up as triples, and they are pretty tight.

If you request to be housed as a double, what is the likelihood of getting that at UCSB?

My other observation is the large discrepancy between the “cost of attendance” found on the financial aid website ($15,039 for R&B if you enter 2020-21 and University Residence Halls), and the prices listed on the Housing website. For example, a double with 14 meals/week is priced at $18,300. I suspect the difference is that FinAid office is quoting a triple rate, but those rates are not posted at all on the Housing website.

I guess I am finding this discouraging that the options are (i) a double, unlikely, but also very expensive (compared to other institutions) or (ii) a triple, a reasonable price, but tiny space.

I appreciate any insight this community can provide.

Prior to the pandemic I would say 99% of the students lived in triples which is probably why financial aid has that price quoted.

The schools haven’t received state guidance regarding what type of housing density they can offer. The start of school is 6 mos away and as we all know that so much can change in 6 mos. It isn’t that they are trying to be vague, they just don’t want to promise something and not be able to deliver. For what it is worth, this same conversation and concern is happening on the decision thread of just about every school in the country.

I understand that they have to be vague about Fall, 2021. That is why I asked my questions in the context of a normal situation. Unfortunately, the person answering missed that part of the email message.

I also appreciate that all schools are going through these same issues. Not many of them are starting from a baseline of 99% triples. If the state were to limit to no more than doubles, then my OOS daughter will have to find off-campus housing as a freshman? Just not an optimal situation for our family - either way. YMMV.

I’m not an expert at the number of triples at the different UCs but I would venture to guess that prior to the pandemic, both UCLA and Berkeley were 99% triples as well. UCI’s 2021-22 pricing for a double with 7 day meal plan ranges from 17K to 19K. UCLA’s 2020-21 double with 14P meal plan is $18K so both are similar to UCSB.

UCSB does everything it can to keep freshmen in the dorms. This year they offered housing to as many freshmen as they could at a limited density. Then, just before school started, they had to inform the students that they were not going to be able to open the dorms after all. Some students found apartments in IV but, since school was virtual, many students stayed home.

My daughter was also admitted to UCLA, and I was just looking at their housing options. (I think I have seen your posts there as well). It looks like you are correct, that most of their housing for freshman is normally triples. I admit I don’t know much about the UC’s, or perhaps large state schools in general. It seems like triples are the norm more than other schools we have looked at.

When I created my spreadsheet of college expenses for my daughter’s choices (based on googling “cost of attendance”), I thought I was comparing apples to apples regarding housing/dining among institutions. I am probably not - the R&B price I have listed for UCLA is also much lower than what you just posted.

Thank you for sharing your knowledge with me.

I just have to say that I still can’t believe they have turned those doubles into triples at UCLA. I have no experience with the UCSB but assume they may be similar. The rooms in the Classic dorms at UCLA (which was just the dorms back then)seemed small for two people and I came from humble means living in a NYC apartment.

I found schematics of those triples at UCSB, along with photos of smiling roommates with their arms around each other. They looked like double rooms with another person stuffed in - not very appealing.

I should ask UCLA housing questions on that thread, but are the triple rooms in the more newly constructed buildings (Plaza) a larger size?

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@Mickman: Unfortunately, since the Covid situation is ever evolving, only the state and UCSB can make decisions regarding housing which does not help your situation. My gut tells me that even if all students are vaccinated, they will not go back to the triples just yet.

As an OOS student, your D should get priority in Freshman housing so hopefully that will help with a better guarantee of being on-campus for Fall quarter. So much is up in the air for all colleges so I understand your concern and frustration in trying to determine the best course of action.

I cannot give you any reassurances regarding the housing situation for any of the UC’s, so all anyone can do is wait and hope for the best. Again, sorry I cannot be much help but definitely sympathize with your situation. As a parent, I like having guarantees.


We visited UCSB yesterday on our drive back up towards NorCal having first visited UCLA and UCSD. My son was admitted to all three as well as to Davis which we have already visited and Santa Cruz which we will visit tomorrow. So he’s down to trying to pick among the schools (and applied undeclared, so isn’t especially concerned with particular program reputations, etc.). My/his/our family impressions of UCSB just based on a walk around campus and drive around IV: spectacular setting. Some of the dorms look like they definitely have ocean views, and the lagoon is cool and the “commencement lawn” looks really nice. It had a smaller, homier feel compared to LA and SD but the actual buildings themselves didn’t impress or give a feeling of “wow — that building is so cool” in the way we experienced at LA (Royce, Powell, etc) or SD (Geisel Library, Sixth College, etc.). They looked a little tired and run down imo. Might also be the effects of sea air on the building. The campus was virtually empty compared to LA so it was hard to get a “vibe.” But it looks quite manageable to get around walking (shorter walk to class than LA, easy walk into the little shopping area in Isla Vista than to Westwood Village). I’m not sure how isolated IV would feel after awhile. It’s 20 minutes into Santa Barbara itself, but you cannot beat SB! So pretty and fun. So…I liked UCSB, but I liked UCSD and UCLA better. As for my son, he barely looked up as we walked around. I think he’s pretty much already picked UCLA, which is great! My only hesitation on UCLA is that the dorm rooms look so so so tiny. UCSD dorms looked the best from that angle—he would have a kitchen and bathroom in Seventh College. But I couldn’t really get a feel for the dorm size at UCSB. I liked that some seemed to have their own little pools in a courtyard!

Thanks for sharing your opinion. How were you able to see the dorm rooms at UCLA or get a sense that they were so tiny?

My wife is taking my daughter to look at the same three SoCal schools in a couple of weeks. Hoping it provides her some clarity, despite not really being able to go inside buildings. She is comparing to Northeastern, so a very different vibe compared to Boston.

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