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Santa Barbara, California (CA) Colleges and Universities

Santa Barbara, CA, is home to about nine public and private higher education institutions. See rankings of the best and most affordable schools in Santa Barbara to determine which schools might be right for you.

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Most Program Variety

The Santa Barbara area features private non-profit and for-profit schools, a community college, public university, and specialty schools. Of these institutions, only four are non-profit schools with a traditional range of program offerings. Among the traditional schools in Santa Barbara, the top three with the most program variety offered approximately 45-117 programs. They're profiled below.

1 - Santa Barbara City College

Santa Barbara City College is located in Santa Barbara and has about 117 programs. Students at this 2-year school can pursue certificate and associate's programs that provide career training and/or transfer opportunities. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) lists the most popular programs for 2011-2012; the most commonly awarded certificates and associate's degrees were in the liberal arts and sciences. Other popular programs included the humanities and the biological and physical sciences.

2 - University of California - Santa Barbara

Students at the University of California - Santa Barbara can pursue roughly 96 programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels at this Santa Barbara-based school. The university is home to the College of Creative Studies, College of Engineering, College of Letters and Sciences, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, and Gevirtz Graduate School of Education. In 2011-2012, sociology, business, and psychology were the most popular bachelor's programs, according to NCES. The most popular master's programs were in education, environmental science, electrical and electronics engineering, and economics. Electrical and electronic engineering and chemistry were the most popular doctorate programs. U.S. News and World Report ranked the university 41st 'Best National University' in 2013.

3 - Westmont College

Located in Santa Barbara, Westmont College is a private not-for-profit school that features about 45 bachelor's and post-baccalaureate certificate programs. This liberal arts college offers programs in art, biology, communication studies, foreign languages, gender studies, political science, and more. NCES reported that in 2011-2012, the most popular bachelor's programs were business, kinesiology, biology, and communication studies. Westmont College was ranked 90th in the 'National Liberal Arts Colleges' category by U.S. News and World Report in 2013.

Lowest Net Price

For many students, price is often a determining factor when selecting a school. The net price is a result of subtracting institutional or government aid from the total cost of attendance, which includes room and board, tuition and fees, books, supplies, and miscellaneous expenses. According to NCES, the average net price for traditional colleges in Santa Barbara ranged from about $10,500-$30,500 in 2010-2011.

1 - Santa Barbara City College

Santa Barbara City College had a net price of $10,632, which was the lowest in the area. NCES reported that in 2012-2013, in-state students paid tuition and fees of $1,374, while tuition and fees for out-of-state students were $7,254. For the 2010-2011 academic year, 43% of first-year students received some type of financial aid. In addition, 42% of all undergraduates were awarded grant or scholarship aid, according to NCES.

2 - University of California - Santa Barbara

The net price at the University of California - Santa Barbara was $14,890. In 2012-2013, tuition and fees for in-state undergraduates totaled $13,671, while tuition and fees for out-of-state students were $36,549, according to NCES data. Graduate tuition and fees equaled $12,957 for in-state students and $28,059 for out-of-state students. Almost 70% of first-year students received some type of financial aid, and 44% of all undergraduates received federal student loans.

3 - Westmont College

Westmont College had a net price of $30,495. In 2012-2013, tuition and fees for undergraduates totaled $37,020, according to NCES. Graduate tuition and fees also came to $37,020. For the 2010-2011 school year, 97% of first-year students received some type of financial aid. Over 90% of all undergraduate students were awarded grant or scholarship aid, and 55% received federal student loans.

Highest Graduation Rates

The highest graduation rates at traditional schools in Santa Barbara ranged from 36%-80%, according to NCES. The organization bases graduation rates on students who earn a degree within 150% of 'normal' time; this is three years for an associate's degree and six years for a bachelor's degree. The following are the traditional schools with the three best graduation rates in Santa Barbara based on NCES statistics; for 2-year schools, the rates apply to students who started in 2008, and for 4-year schools, the rates apply to students who began in 2005.

1 - University of California - Santa Barbara

The University of California - Santa Barbara had a 6-year graduation rate of 80%; however, 66% of students earned a bachelor's degree in four years. The NCES reported that the transfer-out rate for students who started in Fall 2005 was 10%, and the retention rate for full-time students from 2010-2011 was 92%.

2 - Westmont College

The 6-year graduation rate at Westmont College was 77%, placing it second. According to NCES, the retention rate in 2011 was 86% for full-time students. The college's 4-year graduation rate was 75%.

3 - Santa Barbara City College

Santa Barbara City College had a 6-year graduation rate of 36%, along with a transfer-out rate of 23%. The retention rate at the college was 62% for full-time students and 42% for part-time students, according to NCES. In addition, 15% of students who started in 2008 earned an associate's degree in 'normal' time, or two years.

Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio

A low student-faculty ratio could indicate smaller class sizes and the opportunity for students to receive more specialized attention. The student-faculty ratio for traditional schools in Santa Barbara ranged from 11:1 to 32:1, according to NCES. Additionally, U.S. News and World Report provided class sizes for some area schools. The following three schools had the lowest student-faculty ratios among traditional schools in Santa Barbara.

1 - Antioch University - Santa Barbara

Situated in the small city of Santa Barbara, Antioch University - Santa Barbara had a student-faculty ratio of 11:1. About 380 students attended the school in 2011, and roughly 150 of them were undergraduates. That same year, the university employed 11 full-time faculty members and 53 part-time faculty members, per NCES.

2 - Westmont College

The student-faculty ratio at Westmont College was 12:1, and the population at the school was over 1,300 in Fall 2011. That same year, 98 full-time faculty members and 61 part-time faculty members worked at the college, according to NCES. Over 60% of classes had less than 20 students, and almost 37% of classes had 20-49 students.

3 - University of California - Santa Barbara

The University of California - Santa Barbara had a student-faculty ratio of 17:1. About 47% of classes had less than 20 students, over 34% had 20-49 students, and 19% had 50 or more students. In 2011, approximately 21,700 students attended the college, and the school employed roughly 1,347 full-time faculty members and 330 part-time faculty members.

Santa Barbara Schools at a Glance

School Name Location School Type Degree/Program Levels Offered Area Ranking
Antioch University - Santa Barbara Santa Barbara, CA 4-year, private not-for-profit Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
Santa Barbara City College Santa Barbara, CA 2-year, public Less-than-1-year, 1-year to less-than-2-year, and 2-year to less-than-4-year certificates; associate's degrees Most Program Variety,
Lowest Net Price,
3rd Highest Graduation Rate
University of California - Santa Barbara Santa Barbara, CA 4-year, public Bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees; postbaccalaureate and post-master's certificates Highest Graduation Rate,
2nd Most Program Variety,
2nd Lowest Net Price,
3rd Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
Westmont College Santa Barbara, CA 4-year, private not-for-profit Bachelor's degrees; postbaccalaureate certificates 2nd Highest Graduation Rate,
2nd Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio,
3rd Most Program Variety,
3rd Lowest Net Price
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