5 Cheapest Universities in San Diego for International Students

San Diego is located at the southern tip of California and borders Mexico. The city is famed for its idyllic weather and glorious beaches. With such great weather, there is a long list of outdoor activities to take part in and international students have many opportunities to join social communities. Being border adjacent also means students can easily travel to the neighboring country to explore even more cultures and traditions. The city has a great social community and nearly 70,000 students attend college here. The lifestyle in this state is unique and highly sought after as it is much more relaxed than in more metropolitan areas. In this article, we will be looking at the cheapest universities in San Diego for international students.

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Cheap Universities in San Diego

1. San Diego Community College District

  • Tuition Fee For Undergraduate Programs: $290 per unit (roughly $5000)
  • Tuition Fee Link

The city of San Diego has a group of credit colleges that make up the college district. San Diego City College, Mesa College, Miramar College, and Continuing Education all offer highly affordable courses to jumpstart your university career. Mesa College offers a Bachelor’s of Science degree as well as various other associate’s degrees. City College offers an impressively long list of associates degrees that will allow you to complete the first 2 years of a bachelor’s degrees and then transfer your credits to another college. Likewise, Miramar has 4 schools that offer more than 150 degrees and certificates. San Diego Community College District is the cheapest institution in San Diego for international students.

Foreign students might find the American college system overwhelming and difficult to adjust to. Along with steep tuition fees, it could be a safe bet to firstly enroll in an associate’s degree at a community college like this. You will be able to adjust to the new pace and way of learning while getting to know a new city and building a new home base. After completing community college your credits can be transferred to another university where you can then complete the next years of your education to obtain a bachelor’s degree.

2. Mira Costa College

  • Tuition Fee For Undergraduate Programs: $340 per unit (roughly $7,500)
  • Tuition Fee Link

Mira Costa is another quality community college that is located in the north of San Diego. They have created 6 clusters of academic programs that swiftly guide you on your career path. These academic and career pathways include Creative & Applied Arts, Health Sciences, and Business and Technology. Within these groups, you can explore various degree options that suit a range of specific interests. Thereafter you can effortlessly transfer to a 4-year university.

Roughly 350 international students are studying at Mira Costa. They offer on-campus jobs and internships that will benefit you greatly when transferring to a 4-year program or looking to move into a career after college. Another great initiative is their “host family” program where students can live with local families and get accustomed to the American lifestyle. The college has a diverse ethnic population and its inclusivity policies are effective and forward-thinking.

3. National University

The National University is another cheap university in San Diego and was founded in the 70s with the main focus to educate adult students. The degree programs’ workload has been structured in a feasible way for students who struggle to find a work/study balance. They have a high acceptance rate and their business, nursing, and liberal arts majors are very popular. Over 75 different degree courses are offered. NU’s classes are designed on a 4-week schedule. You finish one class at a time and this allows you to complete your degree in a shorter amount of time. They offer a mix of online and on-campus classes that maximizes the convenience of attending NU.

For international students, they offer student advisor services that are available in more than 5 languages. They pride themselves on the personal attention students can receive from tutors and professors to ensure that their academic career is successful. Their campus is listed under the top 20 safest campuses in America and offers well-maintained buildings and modern facilities.

4. San Diego State University

Next on our list of cheapest universities in San Diego is the San Diego State University. SDSU is a leading public university in California that offers 97 undergraduate degrees. The campus is welcoming with charming Spanish style buildings and sprawling green lawns. They have a large campus that spans over 622-acres that is nestled in a vibrant urban setting. Students are overall highly satisfied with their academic life and popular majors include business as well as phycology and biological sciences.

More than 3,000 international students attend SDSU and freshman students from abroad are obligated to live on campus during their first 2 years of study. This ensures that you fit into the university community and can make the most of your time at this institution. There is also International Student Orientation at the beginning of your studies as well as various social opportunities with other foreign students throughout the year.

5. Point Loma Nazarene University

Point Loma Nazarene University is another cheap university in San Diego for international students that is very highly regarded in the San Diego area. Here you can choose from more than 60 fields of study. This is a faith-based institution and can provide a comfortable and familiar environment for students who follow the Christian faith. They might have a considerably low acceptance rate but their completion rate is comparatively high. PLNZ falls under the top 20 nursing schools in the USA and their phycology and sociology majors are also very popular. The campus is located next to a serene natural park and overlooks the pacific ocean.

Their student body is small but diverse, with less than 3000 students. But this creates an intimate learning environment that suits international students well. There is a 14:1student-teacher ratio that ensures quality, personalized education. Point Loma has an attractive athletics program where students can keep their bodies (not just their minds) in tip-top shape. Golf, baseball, and track, and field help students to diversity their extra-curricular activities and socialize with a wide group of their peers.


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