Numerous programs — from fellowships and loans, to teaching and research assistantships, subsidized housing, and child care — provide ways to help you finance the cost of graduate school. Some of the programs are administered through the Graduate Division Fellowships Office; others are administered through the Financial Aid Office, or by the academic departments who administer additional sources of financial assistance.
Information about financial aid for prospective students is summarized on the Financial Aid Office website for additional information.
Information about fellowships and scholarships can be found on the Fellowships & Awards webpage.
Note: This summation is not a complete explanation of the laws regarding residency. Changes may be made in the residence requirements between the publication date of this application booklet and the relevant residency determination date.
If you are not a resident of California, you will need to know the current requirements for establishing legal residency. In most cases, graduate students can qualify for legal residency by their second year of graduate school, thereby significantly reducing their tuition and fees (by approximately $15,000* for academic programs or approximately $12,200* for professional programs).
*Subject to change
International students in F-1 and J-1 status cannot establish California residency and should expect to pay nonresident tuition every semester of graduate study. Doctoral candidates, however, may be eligible for a nonresident tuition waiver for three calendar years after advancement to doctoral candidacy.
For more information, see the "Legal Residency and Fees" below.
- Student Budget
- Fees and Expenses for International Students
- Legal Residency and Fees
- Financial Aid
- Teaching, Research, & Employment Opportunities
For the most up-to-date estimated student budget information, go to the Financial Aid Office website.
For the most up-to-date fee information, visit the Registrar’s website. This site also provides fee information for the Business Administration/M.B.A. program (day program only), the UCB-UCSF Joint Medical program, Optometry/O.D. program, and the Law/J.D. programs, the Public Health M.P.H. and Dr. P.H. programs, and the Public Policy M.P.P. program, all of which require an additional Professional Degree Fee. Prospective applicants to the Evening and Weekend M.B.A., the Berkeley-Columbia Executive M.B.A., or the M.F.E. programs should consult the Haas School of Haas School of Business website for current fees. Prospective applicants to the Law/L.L.M. program should consult the Boalt Hall School of Law website.
International students should plan carefully for their financial support while attending UC Berkeley, as local living expenses are relatively high. The university’s estimate of costs is listed on the Financial Aid Office website, under Cost of Attendance. Professional school students (e.g., M.B.A., Optometry, J.D., Public Policy, Public Health) should add the appropriate Professional Degree Fee differential to this base figure. Students should plan for fee increases for each year of study. Students accompanied by a spouse will need an additional $7,000 per year plus $4,000 per year for each accompanying child (this estimate is subject to change). Opportunities for employment are severely limited. Spouses and children on dependents’ visas (F-2) are not permitted to accept employment. The most current information on registration and fees is available on the Registrar’s website. Information on employment for international students is available on the Berkeley International Office website.
Budget Requirement for Visa Documents:
To receive a U.S. student visa, international students are required to document their financial support for their studies in the U.S. After being admitted to the university, you will be informed of your required minimum annual budget for visa purposes and must be prepared to document financial resources equal to or greater than this budget. (This process is not part of the application for admission.) For all matters concerning visas, consult with Berkeley International Office, 2299 Piedmont Avenue, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720-2321, or email InternationalOffice@berkeley.edu.
Students are classified as residents or nonresidents after completing the Statement of Legal Residence (SLR) shortly after being admitted to the university. Many graduate students (U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and some eligible non-immigrants) who enter UC Berkeley as nonresidents and establish residency for the required year may be classified as residents for tuition purposes within one year after their arrival. These students then receive the benefit of paying fees at the lower resident rate.
The classification process is not automatic. Continuing nonresident students who have made California their permanent home and believe that they are eligible for resident status must submit a residency classification petition, along with supporting documentation, to the Residence Affairs Office prior to established deadlines. Even though nonresident students will probably not submit a petition to change their residency status until the end of their first academic year at Berkeley, you must start the process of fulfilling the residency requirements as soon as you arrive. This includes documenting when you arrived, that your year of physical presence in this state is coupled with your intent to make California your home, and that you are financially independent.
What should you do once you arrive in California?
- Document your presence in the state as soon as you arrive. Save your airline ticket or bank/credit card statements showing that you were physically present in California one year prior to the beginning of the term for which you are seeking resident classification.
- Establish a California residence in which you keep your permanent belongings.
Obtain a California Driver’s License within 10 days of arriving in California. If you have never had a driver’s license in any state, obtain a California State Identification Card.
- Surrender all out-of-state driver’s license and identification cards.
- Register your vehicle(s) in California within 20 days of arriving in the state.
- Register to vote in California, and vote in California elections.
- Pay California income taxes as a resident on all taxable income earned after your arrival in California, and file California resident or part-year resident tax returns.
- File nonresident or part-year resident out-of-state tax returns if you have out-of-state taxable income prior to arriving in California.
- Designate and use a California address as your permanent address on all records (e.g., school, employment, tax forms, military, etc.).
- Open a California bank account and close all out-of-state accounts. If your financial account is with an interstate or internet bank, change your permanent address to California.
Remaining in California during non-academic periods is a strong indicator of your intent to make California your home. You will be required to document that you were physically present in California for at least 2 of the 3 months during the summer previous to the term for which you are petitioning for residency.
Financial independence is another factor in determining eligibility for residency for tuition purposes. If you will be over the age of 24 during the year that you are petitioning for resident status, then you have fulfilled the financial independence criterion. Otherwise, you should do the following:
- Claim yourself as a tax exemption on your state and federal tax returns, and make sure no other individual claims you as a tax exemption on his/her tax returns; or
- Work as a GSI/GSR at least 49 percent time for the semester for which you are petitioning for residency.
The full text of the campus residency policy, what students should do once they arrive, and applicable deadlines can be found on the Residence Affairs website. Students with residency questions should email the Residence Affairs Office (email@example.com) or phone (510) 642-5990.
Please note that international students with F-1 or J-1 visas are not eligible to establish residency. Last Updated: August 7, 2012 2:25 PM