UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) Out-of-State Acceptance Rate

The University of California at Santa Barbara is almost always ranked within the top ten public universities in the United States; offering more than 200 majors, degrees, and credentials, the school appeals to students with a wide range of interests. 

It is no surprise, then, to learn that thousands of high school seniors outside of California apply to UCSB each year.

Many esteemed alumni across various fields have graduated from UCSB. The school is home to six Nobel Prize laureates, including the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics winner Shuji Nakamura

Nakamura was awarded the prestigious award for inventing efficient blue light-emitting diodes, making bright and energy-saving white light sources possible. 

Grammy nominee DJ Steve Aoki, Academy Award-winning actor Michael Douglas, and Titanic discoverer Robert Ballard all graduated from UCSB.

Originating as a manual training school in the 1890s, the institution was formally welcomed into the UC system in 1954 as UC Santa Barbara. You’ll soon discover that UCSB has also experienced quite an increase in its student population. 

Ahead, we’ll disclose the most up-to-date public information regarding UCSB’s acceptance rate, tuition expenses, and admissions requirements for out-of-state students. Finally, we’ll share a few more reasons that may convince you to learn more about this institution with so much to offer.

UC Santa Barbara Out-of-State Acceptance Rate

UC Santa Barbara
Coolcaesar, UCSB University Center and Storke Tower, CC BY-SA 4.0

The out-of-state acceptance rate at UCSB is 28%, based on data for the 2022 admission cycle. 

UC Santa Barbara received its highest number of applications in the school’s history for that round of admissions – a total of 110,991 – with over 18,000 coming from out-of-state candidates. 

Of that cohort, only 1,659 were accepted; these figures demonstrate just how competitive the admissions process is for out-of-state applicants hoping to attend UCSD.

Attaining entrance to UC Santa Barbara is competitive for all applications, regardless of origin, when you look at their overall admission statistics in response to such high demand. Overall, the school has an acceptance rate of 25.9% for the fall of 2022 incoming class. 

The UC system, as a whole, has committed to enrolling more California residents in response to recent state legislation

Additionally, UC campuses are currently test blind, meaning they don’t consider standardized test scores for potential enrollees. How does this translate to increased competition for out-of-state applicants? 

With impressive SAT and ACT scores out of consideration, more emphasis is dedicated to GPA and class rank. If California high school seniors are in the top 9% of their graduating classes, they automatically gain a spot at a UC system school. 

Additionally, there are programs in place to guarantee that California community college students may transfer to a UC system school, provided they meet the academic requirements. 

It will be interesting to see how the UC Santa Barbara admissions statistics change over the years ahead. Will the school adopt a standardized test policy again? Adopting early action or early decision rounds could also impact student acceptance rates. 

As demand continues to rise for a space in the high-caliber schools of the UC system, administrators will need to be proactive in creating opportunities for students to live and attend school. 

Out-of-state students are a critical piece of the puzzle, as their higher tuition costs inevitably help to fund a variety of initiatives, undergraduate research, facilities, and new major offerings.

UC Santa Barbara Out-of-State Tuition

Currently, the cost of tuition for out-of-state students to attend UCSB is $46,011 per year – slightly $31,000 more than it costs a California resident to attend the same institution. 

Out-of-state students admitted to UC Santa Barbara should expect a significantly higher cost of attendance closer to $69,375, which includes transportation and phone costs, room and board, a health care allowance, and school books/supplies. 

Obviously, the price will vary depending on where students opt to live and where they order their textbooks. Buying used books and walking or riding one’s bike (instead of driving or taking the bus) can help students save a little extra money here and there.

Like the other UC system campuses, Santa Barbara is highly committed to assisting admitted students who have demonstrated financial need. 

In the 2021-2022 admissions cycle, the school met over 78% of demonstrated need with an average financial aid package of $24,798. 

Most beneficiaries received aid through over $236.7 million in scholarships and grants through the state and UCSB. Additionally, UC Santa Barbara awarded $22.7 million in need-based self-help options (like work-study placements).

When out-of-state students apply to UCSB, they simultaneously apply for financial aid (if applicable). 

It is essential that candidates complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), as well as any other documents required by the application. Admitted students will be notified of their financial aid package shortly after receiving a letter of acceptance as long as they have submitted all of the necessary materials.

It is worth noting that the UCSB application enables applicants to apply to more than one UC system school. 

In fact, out-of-state applicants, in particular, are encouraged to apply to as many UC schools as they deem appropriate since it can increase their chances of gaining admission in an already-competitive selection process. 

There is an application fee of $70 per application, but those who demonstrate need can receive a fee waiver for up to four applications.

UC Santa Barbara Requirements and Tips for Out-of-State Students

UC Santa Barbara
Spatms, Robertson Gymnasium (UC Santa Barbara), CC BY-SA 4.0

Out-of-state high school seniors hoping to attend UC Santa Barbara as first-time, first-year students will want to pay close attention to the following admission requirements and tips – UCSB’s criteria are quite different from the typical U.S. college!

To start, out-of-state candidates will need to meet the minimum eligibility of 15 academic credits in the core subjects, foreign language, and additional electives. 

That said, competitive applicants will boast records with significantly more credits in high-level courses (i.e., honors, AP, IB, and dual enrollment). 

We have mentioned that UCSB and its peer UC system institutions are currently not accepting standardized tests (though they will use them for placement purposes). 

Additionally, UC Santa Barbara will not consider letters of recommendation or official transcripts. The application stipulates that students share various dimensions of their coursework, and accepted students will be required to share final copies of their high school transcripts prior to enrollment.

Admissions officers at UCSB evaluate each application on 13 criteria, with the most important being cumulative GPA, personal essay responses, class rank, and the overall rigor of a student’s reported academic record. 

While California residents are required to earn a minimum 3.0 GPA in the 15 “A-G college-preparatory courses,” out-of-state applicants are held to a higher standard with a minimum GPA requirement of 3.4. For both residents and non-residents of California, grades in A-G college prep courses may not be lower than a C.

When we say the application process is competitive, that goes for any student – both in-state and out-of-state. For the 2021-2022 admission cycle, 100% of enrolled students were in the top 10% of their high school graduating class, and nearly 87% had a cumulative high school GPA of 4.0

Out-of-state applicants should plan to spend a considerable amount of time drafting their personal essay responses. Out of eight possible prompts, candidates may respond to four in as many as 350 words. 

There is often a temptation to provide a long list of activities and achievements from one’s high school career, but UCSB advises against doing so; instead, they encourage applicants to focus on quality over quantity.

If you have spent considerable time invested in a personal project, community service effort, study abroad experience, or diversity-related commitment, the essay section is the place to expound on those experiences. 

Is UCSB Right for You?

A collegiate experience in the stunning, sunny town of Santa Barbara comes with ample opportunities for academic and recreational stimulation. More often than not, undergraduates can be found outdoors enjoying the temperature climate. 

From hiking the Tangerine Falls Trail and picking up fresh produce at the farmers market to window-shopping on State Street or attending a parade, Santa Barbara’s day and nightlife keep residents engaged.

UCSB is also close to the Channel Islands National Park, considered the “Galapagos Islands of North America.” Look out for whales as you take the ferry over to the Channel Islands, then enjoy hiking and taking in the enchanting sights.

Out-of-state students will no doubt be eager to make friends with shared interests; they will be pleased to hear that the majority of first-time first-year students live on campus – 85%, to be exact – which means there are thousands of people to get to know. 

At the same time, class environments are fairly intimate, with 72% of them enrolling under 30 students.

Students at UCSB pursue a broad range of academic majors. Nearly 29% of the class of 2022 graduated with a degree in social sciences, while biology, mathematics, and journalism are positioned as the next most popular program areas.

Of course, out-of-state applicants may also be searching for specific amenities related to their desired majors. 

Those passionate about the aforementioned majors will find a happy haven at UCSB. The school serves as the editorial headquarters for the writing of Henry David Thoreau. 

Science and math enthusiasts may enjoy spending time at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, which is dedicated to accelerating scientific innovations as a means of understanding our world and the problems currently plaguing it.