Comparing College Costs: U.C. Berkeley, Stanford, and American River College

At this time of year, high school seniors are awaiting college acceptance letters, researching overviews of housing options, student demographics, academic majors, and planning for college enrollment next fall. Parents are busy calculating college costs for housing, tuition, and four-plus years of higher education. For northern California parents, comparing the state run University of California, Berkeley, the private Stanford University, and the two year American River Community College may ease some concerns and help make the college decision easier.

The University of California, Berkeley, opened in 1868 as the first California university. In 2011, its 1,232 acre campus was home to 36, 142 undergraduate and graduate students, each paying a tuition of $13,360 per year. Housing costs range from $15, 272 on campus to $10,182 for off campus housing. Within 350 degree programs, 7,000 courses are offered, including the most popular majors of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Political Science, Molecular and Cell Biology, Environmental Science, Policy and Management and Economics. Berkeley offers 25 varsity sports programs, as well as additional club sports, the Cal Corps Public Service Center, and a strong commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion for students.

Leland Stanford Jr. University, located in Palo Alto, opened in 1891 in memory of Jane and Leland Stanford’s infant son who did of typhoid fever. In 2011, its 8,000 acre campus – nicknamed ‘The Farm’ – was home to 19,945 undergraduate and graduate students, each paying a yearly tuition of $40,050. Housing costs are $12, 291 which includes a meal plan; over 11,000 Stanford students live on campus. Stanford’s seven schools award three undergrad degrees: Humanities and Sciences, Earth Sciences, and Engineering. Offering over 80 majors, the most popular programs at Stanford are Biology/Biological Sciences, General Economics, General International Relations and Affairs, and Computer Science. Stanford offers an athletic program of 35 varsity sports and 20 club sports, a strong art and culture environment, as well as the Haas Center for Public Service to help connect students with communities and build leaders.

American River Community College, located in Sacramento, first opened in 1955. One of California’s largest community colleges, in 2011 it housed 38,257 full and part time students. Tuition runs $36 per unit towards earning an Associate Degree or a Certificate. On campus housing is not available; off campus housing runs approximately $10,872. ARC’s most popular programs include Social Sciences, Liberal Studies, Biological and Physical Sciences, Nursing and Business Administration.

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