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Santa Barbara City College: Academics, Admissions & Tuition Info

Learn more about Santa Barbara City College. Read about its admissions information, financial aid and degree programs to make an informed decision about your education.

About Santa Barbara City College

Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) is located in the coastal city of Santa Barbara, 100 miles north of Los Angeles. The campus - which was founded in 1909 as part of the California Community College System - overlooks the Pacific Ocean. SBCC was named a top ten finalist for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence in 2011 and 2012. In addition to its academic curriculum, the college offers 17 intercollegiate sports teams, as well as intramural athletics.


SBCC provides students with over 80 degree and 50 certificate programs. The majority of students choose associate's degree programs in liberal studies or biological sciences. Students may take advantage of the school's Transfer Academy, which guarantees admission to almost 20 California and out-of-state universities.

The college offers many online courses and six completely online programs in subjects like health information technology, film studies and liberal studies. SBCC's proximity to the ocean allows students unique degree and certificate program options in marine and commercial diving. Every student also has access to research and study help at the Luria Library and the Cartwright Learning Resource Center (CLRC). The CLRC houses tutoring services, a writing center, computer labs and skills workshops.


SBCC's open admission policy accepts all students for full-time study if they hold a high school diploma (or equivalent) and are at least 18 years old. In order to qualify to register for classes, students must fill out an application. Most students must then attend orientation, take assessments for class placement, see an advisor and register for classes. The application deadlines are the end of August for the spring semester and the end of January for the fall semester.

The student population at SBCC is 47% white, 33% Hispanic, 4% Asian and 3% black or African American. Approximately 60% of all students attend the school on a part-time basis, and the majority of students are California residents. SBCC continues to help its diverse group of students by providing assistance at the college transfer center.

Tuition and Financial Aid

For the 2012-2013 academic year, the tuition for in-state students was $46 per unit. Out-of-state students paid an additional $212 per unit. Books and supplies could add an estimated $1,666 per year. In a year, the average student living away from home was estimated to spend $10,962 on housing, $2,844 on personal expenses and $1,314 on transportation. Students must pay their tuition within seven days of registration each semester or else they may be dropped from their classes.

State and federal aid is available to students through an application that assesses their financial need. Each year, SBCC awards students who demonstrate academic achievement with scholarships. The application period for these merit-based scholarships begins in January each year, and there are awards available for current SBCC students, as well as incoming high school seniors. Students who apply for work-study jobs can seek employment through the campus career center. The financial aid office also gives out need-based book loans and grants that can be used at the campus bookstore.

School Type 2-year, public*
Degrees Offered Certificate, associate's*
Religious Affiliation None*
Academic Calendar Semester**
School Setting Small city, beach**
Student Body Around 20,000 in 2012**
Student Housing No housing, but school provides community assistance and listings**
Programs Over 80 degree programs and 50 certificates**
Student-Faculty Ratio 32 to 1*
Most Popular Fields of Study by Degree Level (Number of Recipients) In 2011:
Less than 1-year certificate: medical insurance coding specialist (44)*
1-year certificate: liberal arts and sciences (736)*
Associate's: liberal arts and sciences (463)*
Graduation Rates 36% (for first-time, full-time students in 2010)*
Admission Rate Open admission*
Entering Class Size 2,751 in fall 2011*
First-Year Retention Rates In fall 2011: 62% full-time and 42% part-time*
Application Due Date August 24 (fall 2012) and January 25 (spring 2013)**
Tuition (2012-2013) $46 per unit for California residents; additional $212 per unit for non-residents**
Financial Aid Sources Available (Percent of Students Receiving It) In 2011: federal grant aid (26%), state/local grant aid (34%), institutional grant aid (5%), loan (16%)*
Percent of Students Receiving Some Form of Aid 43% of first-year students (2010-2011)*

Sources: *IPEDS Data Center, National Center for Education Statistics; **Santa Barbara City College.

School Contact Information

  • Address: Santa Barbara City College, 721 Cliff Drive, Santa Barbara, CA 93109
  • Phone: (805) 965-0581
  • Website:

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