Caltech Cost of Attendance

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

View of Caltech campus

Caltech Cost of Attendance

The California Institute of Technology, widely known as Caltech, is renowned globally for its exceptional scientific and technological research and education. For prospective students considering this prestigious institution, it’s essential to demystify the Caltech cost of attendance expenses associated with this prestigious institution.

This guide will delve into the intricacies of the cost of attending Caltech, exploring factors such as tuition, fees, housing, and personal expenses, and discuss practical tips for managing college costs.

How Much Does It Cost Per Year to Go to Caltech?

When considering college options, one crucial factor that prospective students and their families often contemplate is the cost of attendance. Understanding the financial obligations associated with attending a prestigious institution like Caltech is essential for making an informed decision.

California Institute of Technology front view

So, how much does it cost per year to go to Caltech?

Let’s delve into the estimated Caltech cost of attendance, including tuition, fees, housing, meals, and other expenses. Here is an estimated nine-month, full-time Caltech cost of attendance budget applicable to undergraduate students in the 2023-24 academic year.

  • Tuition: For the 2023-24 academic year, Caltech’s tuition stands at $60,816. This cost is divided equally across the fall, winter, and spring terms.
  • Fees: Mandatory fees, excluding the Caltech Student Health Insurance Plan, amount to $2,439. In addition, all entering undergraduate students should pay a one-time $500 Orientation Fee.
  • Housing: The estimated cost of on-campus housing for the academic year is $11,247. Off-campus housing is estimated at $12,960. Alternatively, for students living with their parents, the cost of housing is not applicable.
  • Food/Meals: The estimated cost for meals and food on campus is $8,256, whereas off-campus students may expect to spend around $6,471.
  • Books, Course Materials, Supplies, and Equipment: It is estimated that students will spend around $1,428 on books, course materials, supplies, and equipment. If needed, a reasonable allowance for a personal computer purchase can be added upon request.
  • Living Expenses: Living expenses, which include room and board expenses, for students living with parents are expected to be $10,125.
  • Personal Expenses: Depending on the living arrangement, personal expenses vary. On-campus students can expect to spend around $2,700, while off-campus students may require around $4,428. Students living with parents should allocate approximately $3,609.
  • Transportation: Local transportation costs are not applicable for on-campus students. Off-campus students may need to budget around $1,764, while those living with parents should plan for approximately $1,611.

Considering these components, the total estimated Caltech cost of attendance for the 2023-24 school year ranges from $86,886 for on-campus students to $90,306 for off-campus students. Students living with parents can expect a total estimated cost of $80,028.

These figures are estimates, and costs may vary based on individual circumstances and choices. Additionally, the Caltech Student Health Insurance Plan and associated costs are subject to change, so it is advisable to refer to official sources for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

By understanding the costs involved in attending Caltech, prospective students can better plan their finances and make informed decisions about their educational journey. Remember to consult Caltech’s official resources for the latest information regarding fees, financial aid options, and potential adjustments to the estimated cost of attendance.

Financial Aid Options at Caltech

The Caltech cost of attendance might be overwhelming for students and planning for college expenses can be extremely challenging. However, Caltech is committed to ensuring that all students have access to a high-quality education, regardless of their financial circumstances.

Female student walking in the campus.

Caltech is committed to meeting 100% of your demonstrated financial need through a comprehensive financial aid package that combines various forms of assistance. This inclusive package typically includes grants, scholarships, student employment opportunities, and student loans to ensure that your financial requirements are fully addressed.

Let’s explore the financial aid options available at Caltech.

Grants & Scholarships

Most of the financial aid awarded to Caltech undergraduates comes in the form of grants, which do not need to be repaid or earned. Grants are considered “gift aid” and are the most beneficial form of financial assistance.

All scholarships and grants at Caltech are need-based, as the institution does not have a merit aid program for students. By filling out a financial aid application, undergraduate students are automatically considered for scholarships and grants from Caltech and the federal government.

Some grants may also be available from state governments, although the application procedure varies by state.


Caltech offers a valuable Work-Study program that allows students to earn money for their college expenses while gaining valuable job experience. This need-based program considers all undergraduate students who submit a financial aid application.

Typically, students are awarded $2,500 of Work-Study funds per year. However, first-year students are not permitted to work during the fall term.

Three asian students looking at a laptop.

Under the Federal Work-Study program, eligible students may work for Caltech, public agencies (including Caltech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory), or the Caltech Y.

Caltech also offers the Caltech Work-Study program, which parallels the Federal Work-Study program but is available to students who do not qualify for federal financial aid, including most international students.

In addition to Work-Study opportunities, Caltech provides student employment options available to all students, regardless of whether they apply for financial aid. The Caltech Career Development Center assists students in finding part-time jobs, with typical work hours ranging from 4 to 10 hours per week.


Although loans are considered a form of financial aid, they differ from grants and scholarships as they require repayment in the future. Loans enable you to defer the payment for a portion of your education until a later time.

Caltech offers need-based loans through the Caltech Loan programs, which are considered part of the financial aid package for eligible students.

Additionally, federal loans, such as the Federal Stafford Loan and Federal PLUS Loan programs, are available for those who need additional funding. Students may also explore private lending options for loans on the private lending market.

Outside Scholarships

Outside scholarships, awarded by external businesses and entities, are another source of financial aid. Like grants, outside scholarships do not generally need to be repaid or earned through work.

The award amounts, eligibility criteria, and application procedures for outside scholarships vary by scholarship program. It is important to note that outside scholarships and resources can impact the financial aid package, as they may replace Work-Study and loan funds.

Veteran’s Benefits

Veteran’s educational benefits, like other outside awards, can reduce or replace the self-help portion of the financial aid package, such as loans and work-study. However, they do not affect the calculated Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) in determining eligibility for need-based Caltech financial aid.

As regulations governing veterans’ benefits can change, it is recommended that veterans and their dependents directly correspond with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

By offering a comprehensive range of financial aid options, Caltech aims to make quality education accessible to all students, regardless of their financial circumstances.

It is important for students and their families to explore these options, complete the necessary financial aid applications, and reach out to Caltech’s financial aid office for guidance throughout the process. The availability and details of financial aid options may vary, so it’s advisable to refer to Caltech’s official resources for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Tips for Managing the Caltech Cost of Attendance

Attending Caltech is an exciting opportunity, but the Caltech cost of attendance can be a concern for many students and their families. However, with careful planning and smart financial management, you can navigate the financial aspects of your education while focusing on your academic and personal growth.

One of the walkways in Caltech campus

Let’s examine the following valuable tips for managing the Caltech cost of attendance.

Create a Budget

Start by creating a realistic budget that outlines your income and expenses. Consider all the costs associated with attending Caltech, such as tuition, fees, housing, meals, books, supplies, transportation, and personal expenses. By having a clear overview of your finances, you can make informed decisions and identify areas where you can save.

Maximize Financial Aid

Take advantage of all the financial aid options available to you. Complete the required financial aid applications, such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the CSS Profile, accurately and on time.

Explore grants, scholarships, work-study programs, and loans offered by Caltech and external sources. Be proactive in seeking out scholarships and grants that align with your interests, background, or academic achievements.

Minimize Non-Essential Expenses

Evaluate your expenses and identify areas where you can cut back. Consider prioritizing your needs over wants. Look for affordable housing options, explore cost-effective meal plans, and find ways to save on textbooks and course materials, such as buying used or renting. Limit unnecessary spending on entertainment, dining out, and leisure activities.

Small adjustments in your lifestyle can make a significant difference in your overall expenses.

Explore Part-Time Employment

Consider finding part-time employment to supplement your income. Caltech offers student employment opportunities that can help you earn money while gaining valuable work experience. However, be mindful of not overburdening yourself with too many hours of work, as your academic commitments should remain your top priority.

Seek Additional Scholarships and Grants

Continuously search for additional scholarships and grants throughout your college journey. Stay updated on scholarship opportunities provided by Caltech, external organizations, and professional associations.

There are numerous scholarships available based on specific majors, extracurricular activities, community service, and other criteria. Dedicate time to research and apply for these scholarships to potentially reduce your financial burden.

Consider Summer Employment

Utilize your summers to work and save money for the upcoming academic year. Look for internships or part-time jobs that align with your interests or career goals. Not only will you earn income, but you will also gain valuable experience that can enhance your resume.

Practice Smart Financial Habits

Develop good financial habits early on. Track your expenses, avoid unnecessary debt, and save whenever possible. Use financial management tools or apps to monitor your spending and set savings goals. By being mindful of your financial choices and living within your means, you can avoid excessive debt and build a strong foundation for your future.

Seek Financial Counseling

Caltech’s financial aid office offers valuable resources and guidance. Reach out to them for personalized advice on managing your finances, understanding your financial aid package, and exploring additional resources. They can provide you with insights and strategies tailored to your specific situation.

Managing the Caltech cost of attendance requires diligence, proactive planning, and a commitment to responsible financial habits. By taking control of your finances and exploring all available resources, you can focus on your education and make the most of your time at Caltech.

Stay proactive, seek support when needed, and remember that your investment in your education will pay off in the long run.

Is Caltech Worth It?

Choosing the right college is a significant decision that requires careful consideration of various factors, including academics, campus culture, and cost. When it comes to Caltech, one of the world’s most prestigious institutions for science and engineering, many prospective students wonder, “Is Caltech worth it?”

Let’s take a closer look at the factors that make Caltech worth considering for your higher education journey.

Academic Excellence

Caltech’s academic reputation is unparalleled. Renowned for its rigorous programs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), Caltech consistently ranks among the top universities globally. The faculty comprises world-class researchers and scholars who are experts in their fields.

As a Caltech student, you will have the opportunity to engage with groundbreaking research, collaborate with brilliant minds, and receive a top-notch education that will pave the way for future success.

Cutting-Edge Research Opportunities

Caltech’s commitment to innovation and discovery provides students with unparalleled research opportunities. From day one, you will have access to state-of-the-art laboratories, cutting-edge facilities, and ongoing research projects.

This immersive research experience allows you to contribute to advancements in your field, build a strong network of collaborators, and gain practical skills that will set you apart in the professional world.

Small Class Sizes and Personalized Attention

Caltech’s intimate learning environment is a significant advantage for students. With a low student-to-faculty ratio, you will enjoy small class sizes that foster meaningful interactions with professors and peers. This close-knit community allows for personalized attention, mentorship opportunities, and a supportive network that will guide you through your academic journey.

Collaborative and Diverse Community

Caltech’s diverse student body comprises individuals from all around the world who share a passion for science and innovation. This vibrant community fosters collaboration, encourages interdisciplinary approaches, and offers a wealth of perspectives.

Engaging with peers from diverse backgrounds will broaden your horizons, challenge your thinking, and enhance your problem-solving skills.

Alumni Network and Career Opportunities

Caltech’s alumni network is an invaluable resource that opens doors to exceptional career opportunities. Caltech graduates are highly sought after by prestigious companies, research institutions, and graduate schools.

The reputation and connections you build at Caltech can provide a strong foundation for your future career, with alumni often playing a vital role in mentoring and facilitating professional growth.

Supportive Community and Resources

Caltech is committed to supporting its students throughout their academic journey. From academic advising and career services to health and wellness resources, Caltech offers a comprehensive range of support services. The caring and inclusive community ensures that students have access to the resources they need to thrive academically, personally, and professionally.

Lifelong Learning and Impact

Attending Caltech is not just about acquiring knowledge; it is about developing a mindset of lifelong learning and making a positive impact on society. Caltech instills a passion for discovery, critical thinking, and problem-solving that extends far beyond graduation.

As a Caltech graduate, you will be equipped with the skills, knowledge, and mindset to tackle complex challenges and contribute to advancements that shape the world.

While the Caltech cost of attendance may be a factor to consider, it is essential to weigh it against the exceptional educational experience and long-term opportunities the institution offers. Keep in mind that Caltech provides a range of financial aid options to ensure that financial constraints do not hinder talented students from pursuing their dreams.

The academic rigor, collaborative environment, and access to cutting-edge resources set Caltech apart and position students for success in their chosen fields. From the small class sizes to the vast alumni network, Caltech provides a transformative experience that equips students with the skills, knowledge, and connections to make a meaningful impact in the world.

So, if you have a passion for science, technology, engineering, or mathematics, and seek an institution that will challenge and inspire you, Caltech is indeed worth considering as a top choice for your higher education journey.

If you are a student aspiring to apply to Caltech, seeking guidance from college admissions experts like AdmissionSight can greatly enhance your chances of success.

Our experts provide valuable insights and assistance throughout the application journey with their in-depth knowledge of Caltech’s application process and admission criteria. From crafting a compelling personal statement to strategizing your extracurricular activities, AdmissionSight can help you showcase your unique strengths and accomplishments effectively.

With our expertise and experience, we can help you present the best version of yourself to Caltech’s admissions committee and maximize your chances of gaining acceptance to this prestigious institution. Book an appointment for an initial consultation today!


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