“California college students say paying the total cost of college is an obstacle to graduating because of inadequate financial aid.

In a survey released Thursday, students statewide said it’s the non-tuition costs — such as those for textbooks, housing and food — that are creating the biggest roadblocks to pursuing higher education in the state’s colleges and universities.

The Student Expenses and Resources Survey (SEARS) found that non-tuition expenses average $1,991 per month for students or about $18,000 per nine-month academic year. Those expenses outweigh the tuition and fees students pay — and receive state aid for — across the public college and university systems. By comparison, tuition and fees in the University of California system are about $12,500 and about $6,000 in the California State University System. Tuition and fees for a full-time student in the California Community Colleges are about $1,400 a year.

The California Student Aid Commission released the results of the ambitious new survey of students that for the first time in more than 10 years asked students about their ability to pay for expenses beyond tuition, such as textbooks, housing and utilities, food, transportation and personal expenses.

The commission is the agency that awards Cal Grants — the state financial aid that typically covers tuition and fees but not housing, food or books. The commission uses the survey to calculate the annual Student Expense Budget, which determines student eligibility for Cal Grants and the estimated cost of attendance to the state’s colleges and universities.”

Read the full article on EdSource.org.

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