San Diego State University (SDSU) Tuition and Fees

 San Diego State University (SDSU) Tuition and Fees

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    By Kelly Boyer Sagert

    (Last Updated – 05/2023)

    San Diego State University is a four-year public research university located in San Diego, California. Degrees offered range from bachelor’s degrees to doctoral ones. This guide will walk you through the admissions requirements, SDSU tuition, financial aid statistics, SDSU acceptance rate, popular majors and more.

    Total Cost of Attendance

    Founded in 1897, SDSU is known for its diversity and inclusion, serving as a federally-designated Hispanic-serving institution plus an Asian American and Native American Pacific Island-serving one. The school is well known for its research-oriented education and Division I athletic program.

    For the 2022-23 academic year, tuition for in-state students was $8,174 with out-of-state students paying $20,054. Additional costs include:

    •  On-campus room and board: $19,714

    •  On-campus other expenses: $3,076

    •  Books and supplies: $1,146

    Total costs, then, are as follows:

    •  On campus, in state: $32,110

    •  On campus, out of state: $43,990

    Financial Aid

    SDSU is need blind during the admissions process, which means that they don’t consider a student’s ability to pay when making acceptance decisions. This can help applicants in lower- and middle-class families who don’t have the financial resources to pay for college.

    During the 2020-21 academic year, 58% of first-time, full-time undergraduates received some sort of financial assistance. More specifically:

    •  Grants or scholarship aid: 47% received this funding with the average award being $9,026

    •  Federal grants: 25% of students received them with the average being $5,630

    •  Pell grants: 25% of students received them with the average being $5,474

    •  Other federal grants: 2% of students received them with the average being $1,977

    •  State or local: 36% of students received them with the average being $3,328

    •  Institutional: 25% of students received them with the average being $6,557

    •  Student loan aid: 19% of students received them with the average being $6,608

    •  Federal student loans: 18% of students received them with the average being $5,015

    •  Other student loans: 2% of students received them with the average being $21,638

    Generally, financial aid is monetary assistance awarded to students based on personal need and merit. Students that qualify for financial aid can use it to pay for college costs like tuition, books, and living expenses.

    Recommended: Scholarship Search – College Scholarships Finder Tool

    The federal government is the largest provider of student financial aid. However, aid can also be given by state governments, colleges and universities, private companies, and nonprofits. The different types include:

    •  Scholarships: These can be awarded by schools and other organizations based on students’ academic excellence, athletic achievement, community involvement, job experience, field of study, and financial need.

    •  Grants: Generally based on financial need, these can come from federal, state, private, and non-profit organizations.

    •  Work-study: This federal program provides qualifying students with part-time employment to earn money for expenses while in school.

    •  Federal student loans: This is money borrowed directly from the U.S. Department of Education. It comes with fixed interest rates that are typically lower than private loans.

    Colleges, universities, and state agencies use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine financial aid eligibility. The FAFSA can be completed online, but note that state and federal and school deadlines may differ.

    You can find other financial aid opportunities on databases such as:

    •  US Department of Education – Search for grants from colleges and universities by state

    •  College Scholarship Service Profile (CSS) – A global college scholarship application used by select institutions to award financial aid

    Recommended: The Differences Between Grants, Scholarships, and Loans

    Private Student Loans

    At SDSU, 2% of students in 2020-21 received private student loan funding and the university offers guidance on how to apply for them.

    Private loans are funded by private organizations such as banks, online lenders, credit unions, some schools, and state-based or state-affiliated organizations. While Federal student loans have interest rates that are regulated by Congress, private lenders follow a different set of regulations so their qualifications and interest rates can vary widely.

    What’s more, private loans have variable or fixed interest rates that may be higher than federal loan interest rates, which are always fixed. Private lenders may (but don’t always) require you to make payments on your loans while you are still in school, compared to federal student loans which you don’t have to start paying back until after you graduate, leave school, or change your enrollment status to less than half-time.

    Private loans don’t have a specific application window and can be applied for on an as-needed basis. However, if you think you may need to take out a private loan, it’s a good idea to submit your FAFSA first to see what federal aid you may qualify for as it generally may have better rates and terms.

    If you’ve missed the FAFSA deadline or you’re struggling to pay for school throughout the year, private loans can potentially help you make your payments. Just keep in mind that you will need enough lead time for your loan to process and for your lender to send money to your school.

    Recommended: Guide to Private Student Loans

    Projected 4-Year-Degree Price

    Based on 2022-23 numbers, four years at SDSU would cost $128,440 for in-state students and $175,960 for out-of-state students. To compare, the average cost for four years at a public university in the U.S. is $111,760.

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    Undergraduate Tuition and Fees

    The 2022-23 San Diego State University cost for tuition was:

    •  In state tuition and fees: $8,174

    •  $32,110 in total cost of attendance, not accounting for price increases

    •  Out of state tuition and fees: $20,054

    •  $43,990 in total cost of attendance, not accounting for price increases

    The average annual cost of attendance at a four-year public university is $27,940. This makes SDSU about 13% more expensive for in-state students and 36% more for out-of-state students.

    Graduate Tuition and Fees

    In 2022-23, in-state San Diego State University tuition and fees were $9,608 and out-of-state tuition and fees were $19,112. To compare, the average graduate student spends $23,130 a year on school.

    Campus Housing Expenses

    For the 2022-23 year, here are housing expenses:

    •  On-campus room and board: $19,714

    •  On-campus other expenses: $3,076

    The university is affiliated with two off-campus community housing options. Find details here.

    At the time of writing, the first community lists these options (although noting that all leases are currently filled):

    •  One bedroom/one bathroom; 486 square feet: starting at $1,850/mo

    •  Two bedrooms/two bathrooms; 723 square feet: starting at $1,200/mo

    San Diego State University Acceptance Rate

    In fall 2022, 77,250 people applied to SDSU with 30,331 accepted. This makes the SDSU acceptance rate 39%.

    Admission Requirements

    SDSU accepts applications from October 1-November 30 for the following academic year.

    Minimum admission requirements include the following:

    •  Completing a 15-unit comprehensive pattern of college prep classes (California’s A-G requirements) with C grades or higher

    •  Requirements must be met by the end of spring term before enrolling

    •  A rigorous curriculum is encouraged: advanced placement, honors, and/or international baccalaureate classes

    •  You must choose a major when you apply, and relevant high school courses will be considered during admissions

    •  Special consideration is given to students who have overcome obstacles and/or live in SDSU’s local admission area

    SAT and ACT Scores

    The university has suspended the use of ACT/SAT tests when determining admissions. In the fall of 2022, 10% of applicants submitted SAT scores, and 4% submitted ACT scores. Here are the 25th and 75th percentile numbers:

    For submitted tests, here are the 25th and 75th percentiles:


    25th Percentile

    75th Percentile

    SAT Evidence-Based



    SAT Math



    ACT Composite



    ACT English



    ACT Math



    Graduation Rate

    The graduation rate for students who began their studies in fall 2016 is:

    •  6 years: 78%

    Post-Graduation Median Earnings

    Graduates of SDSU earn a median salary of $61,522 compared to the average, overall, for four year schools of $55,260. This makes the SDSU salary 11% higher than average.

    Bottom Line

    SDSU provides a quality education in a diverse environment. San Diego State University tuition is more affordable than many other universities, and graduates earn more than the average.

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    Photo credit: iStock/Rebecca Todd

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