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The True Cost of Cal

By now you’re probably aware that the cost of a UC Berkeley education has risen dramatically in recent years. What may be less clear, however, is the impact this sharp increase is having on the quality of undergraduate education here at CNR.

It’s hard to believe, but for prospective undergraduates who qualify for need-based aid—of fully half of our student body—the “self-help” cost of attending Berkeley is actually greater than it is at competitors like Yale, Duke, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

At $8,200, Cal’s “student self-help” requirement (the amount of an undergraduate budget that a student is expected to generate through work and loans each year) is significantly higher for resident Cal students than for students at some peer institutions. The gap, which has grown by 59 percent since 2000, will only widen in the coming years.

The hardest hit, of course, are students from poorer families. In 2005 (the most recent year for which data is available), almost one in three CNR undergraduates qualified for federal Pell Grants—and 136 CNR students came from families that get by on less than $20,000 annually.

We’re committed to sharing the rewards of a CNR education with the students who’ve worked so hard to get in. But to make the promise of Berkeley a reality, the College will have to rely on private support as never before. You can help.

To learn more, call Kathryn Moriarty Baldwin at (510) 643-6641 or e-mail


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