The Santa Barbara area is beautiful, and unfortunately also one of the most expensive housing markets in the U.S. UCSB is able to offer campus housing to all incoming undergraduate students. Visit the Housing and Residential Services webpage to find out more about UCSB's housing options. For housing off-campus (scholars or faculty) the UCSB Community Housing Office can assist you in locating private accommodations off campus.

The chart below can give you an idea about what to expect in terms of housing expenses. Isla Vista is a residential area adjacent to UCSB and tends to be more expensive than nearby Goleta because it is within walking distance of campus.

Average Prices for Apartments in Isla Vista, Goleta, and Santa Barbara (2014)
Most rentals will require the first and last months' rent and a security deposit before you can move in.

Room Type Isla Vista Goleta Santa Barbara
1 Bedroom $1600 $1520 $1800
2 Bedroom $2875 $2770 $3100
3 Bedroom $3980 $3568 $4200
Room in Home* $750 $800 $850

*Rooms in private (non student) homes usually include utilities.

Utility costs (for gas, electricity, and cable) average $100.00 per month for apartments. Water and trash service are usually included in the rent.

Other costs to consider:
Food: Costs will vary depending on how often you cook or dine out. There are many options for markets or restaurants near campus. You should budget at least $400/month for food.

Transportation: Students usually bike or walk to campus from Isla Vista. MTD bus service is free to registered students with a bus sticker. Faculty or visiting scholars can purchase bus passes at the UCSB Bookstore. If you choose to drive, you must have a California Driver's License and liability insurance.


Start-up costs may include utility deposits, household necessities, and linens. Most apartments in Isla Vista, Goleta, and Santa Barbara are unfurnished.