Living Cost In Los Angeles For Students: The Complete Guide

student overlooking view of los angeles

So, you’ve received your acceptance letter from your dream university and can’t wait to start your new life in Los Angeles. Just wait till it hits you, the question of, “How am I going to handle the living costs in LA?” Whether you’re heading to LA for the first time or are merely moving out of your parents’ place, into a rented room, we’ve got you covered. This guide covers everything you need to know about the living cost in Los Angeles for students. As a student in Los Angeles, you’ll obviously have a lot on your mind, but at least this way, you won’t have to worry about your finances.

Related: Is Moving To Los Angeles For You?

Why Choose Los Angeles As Your Study Destination?

The vibrant urban environment and cultural variety of Los Angeles make it an exciting location to live and study in for students. The city is home to a number of prestigious universities as well as hundreds of museums, not to mention its proximity to the beautiful coast of Southern California. We’ve analyzed the data to give you an estimate of how much studying and living in LA will cost. Paying attention to cost of living in LA can help you get the most out of your time as a student.

Related: Find Rooms For Rent in Central LA, Los Angeles

Cost of living in LA for Students

So, how much should you budget for studying and living in LA? Tuition and housing will be the most expensive on the list, followed by utilities, recreation, food, and transportation. These prices will vary considerably depending on the university, area, and means of transport you choose.

Cost of living in LA for students requires pre-planned budgeting.

1. Tuition Fees

The primary living cost in Los Angeles for students is tuition. Even within LA and its environs, tuition fees differ for different universities. Higher costs are generally associated with factors such as living out of state and attending a private college.

Here are some estimates of yearly LA public and private university tuition fees as of 2021.

UniversityAnnual In-state TuitionAnnual Out-of-state tuition
USC$60,446$60,446
Biola University$44,382$44,382
UCLA$13,258$43,012
CSU Northridge$7,038$18,755
CSU Long Beach$6,834$18,857
LA City College$1,220$8,110

Roomi Tip: Universities in Los Angeles offer a variety of scholarships, so visit their websites to see what financial help you may be qualified for. Grants, scholarships, and work-study programs can help you further reduce the education and living cost in Los Angeles for students.

Related: Find Rooms For Rent In Los Angeles

2. Books & Materials

The cost of materials for each academic year is determined by your chosen university, major, and classes. In Los Angeles, most institutions anticipate that books and supplies will cost between $1,000 – $2,000 per year. Keep in mind that a single textbook for a semester can cost well over $200 in some cases.

3. Rent/Housing Cost

Korea Town, LA has an average rent of $1,086 a month.

Related: Renting in Los Angeles: Part 1 – The Search Guide

Los Angeles is divided into a number of different districts and neighborhoods. The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in some of the most popular student neighborhoods is listed below:

NeighborhoodAverage Rent
Westside LA$1,385-3,000
Central/East LA$700-2,000
Eagle Rock$1,300-2,100
Echo Park$1,000-1,400
Long Beach$900-1,200
Pasadena$1,000-1,600
Downtown$600-1,800
Highland Park$856-1,500
Hollywood$1,000-1,243
University websites contain information on the living cost in Los Angeles for students. University of Southern California, LA

Roomi Tip: Finding roommates to help share the cost of an apartment’s rent is also a fantastic alternative! If your university does not require you to live on campus after your first year, you may want to look for roommates who have similar interests in order to cut down on the cost of living in LA.

4. Utility Costs

Utility costs are easy to overlook while figuring out the living cost in Los Angeles for students. So, make sure to factor them into your spending. Electricity and water are included in the average student utility bill. In Los Angeles, the average cost of electricity is $60-130 per month, while an internet package may cost $30-70 per month. A monthly phone package typically costs $50-80.

Related: Find Rooms For Rent In South Los Angeles

5. Transportation Costs

In Los Angeles, there are several different modes of transportation you can choose from. A weekly public transport pass costs $25 and allows you access to Metro rail and bus services. Some schools enable students to apply for transportation subsidies – a viable option if you’ve decided to live in more affordable accommodation, which is frequently located further away from the campus.

While public transit may limit your flexibility, it’s an excellent way of escaping the LA gridlock. If you prefer to drive, gas costs $3-5 per gallon, or about $100 per month. Also, remember to bring spare change for street parking, which costs $1-4 per hour.

6. Meals

Some universities in Los Angeles provide campus meal plans for students – e.g., USC ($2,860 per semester) and UCLA ($3,810 per semester).

However, arranging your own meals off-campus is more convenient and less expensive. In LA, a fast-food lunch costs $6-8, whereas groceries average $400-500 per month. To enable a hassle-free stay under the living cost in Los Angeles for students, we’ve broken down the pricing of some of the most typical student food purchases.

ItemQuantityCost
A gallon of 2% milk1$3-4
Large eggs12$3-5
Pounds of apples2$2-4
Pounds of potatoes2$2-3
Loaf of bread1$3-4
Box of cereal1$3-4
Pound of boneless chicken breast1$5-7
Pound of ground coffee1$5-9

7. Fun & Leisure While Living in LA

Don’t forget to have fun when you’re living in LA! Making time for recreational activities is an important aspect of the student experience, so make sure you schedule time away from your studies. The living cost in Los Angeles for students also covers activities that you enjoy, such as going out to the movies or for food with your new friends. A typical movie ticket costs between $10 and $15, however some theaters offer tickets for as little as $6. A meal at a restaurant might cost between $10 to $30.

Related: 12 Best Things to Do in Downtown Los Angeles

Final Tips For Minimizing The Living Cost in Los Angeles For Students

  • If transport is a major problem, consider carpooling and dividing petrol costs. The ability to cycle across the city instead of driving or taking public transport is one of the benefits of LA’s year-round sunshine.
  • Keep your student ID on you at all times; many restaurants, museums, and other businesses in LA offer student discounts. There are less expensive and healthier alternatives to eating out every night, so plan your meals carefully.
  • If you’re bored and searching for something to do, bear in mind that most public libraries also contain movies. Living like a student doesn’t have to mean missing out on fun, but it does need some preparation and critical thinking!

Related: Money-Saving and Financial Tips for Young Adults

Keep this post handy and pursue your education stress-free. We’re here to help you every step of the way!

Do you know what else Roomi does outside of helping its readers with living costs in Los Angeles? With our ever-increasing lists of rooms and roommates across the world, we help you find your perfect match!