University of California, Santa Cruz

Next Profile

#162, overall score 39.25/100

Fun Fact:

McHenry Library is home to the official Grateful Dead Archive.

Why should Jewish students attend UC Santa Cruz? “If students do choose to attend this university, they will find at Chabad a warm and welcoming Jewish home away from home, an exciting place for Jewish celebration and an incredible resource of Jewish education.” — Rabbi Shlomie Cheim, Chabad Student Center


  • Location: Santa Cruz, Calif.
  • Region: West
  • Campus type: Suburb
  • Public/Private: Public
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 16,962
  • Jewish undergraduate enrollment: 1,250
  • Jewish population share: 7%
  • Student newspaper: City on a Hill Press, Leviathan Jewish Journal
  • NCAA Division: III
  • NCAA team: Banana Slugs
  • Ultimate Frisbee teams: Slugs / Sol

What Students Say:

“The best thing about UCSC is the absolutely stunning landscape. I feel uniquely lucky that I can both take a hike through 50 foot tall redwoods everyday on my way from lecture to the library as well as watch the sunset over the ocean every day on my way off campus.”

COST & AID Score: 5.83/15

  • Score: 5.83/15
  • In-state tuition: $14,028
  • Out-of-state tuition: $42,042
  • Room & board costs: $16,055
  • Average annual scholarship/grant package: $24,936
  • Average loan debt: $22,582
  • Starting median salary: $53,500
  • Scholarship for Jewish students: Candy Issenman Coonerty Hillel Scholarship

ACADEMICS Score: 6.67/20

  • Score: 6.67/20
  • Acceptance rate: 51%
  • Student/faculty ratio: 17.9:1
  • Median SAT range: 1160-1370
  • Jewish Studies program: Yes
  • Jewish Studies major: Yes
  • Hebrew major: No

ISRAEL Score: 8.67/20

  • Score: 8.67/20
  • Size of Birthright trip: 41
  • School-approved study abroad program in Israel: Yes
  • Israel Studies center: No
  • Israel-related clubs: Slugs for Israel, IAC Mishelanu, J Street U
  • BDS vote in last four years: Passed

SAFETY Score: 1.67/11

  • Score: 1.67/11
  • Anti-Semitic incidents in 2017: 2
  • Campus crime rate: 4.9/1,000 students (medium-low)
  • City crime rate: 63.58/1,000 people (high)
  • LGBT center: Yes

JEWISH LIFE Score: 16.42/34

  • Score: 16.42/34
  • Hillel: Santa Cruz Hillel
  • Chabad: The Rohr Chabad Student Center at UC Santa Cruz
  • OU-JLIC: No
  • Jewish fraternities: AEPi
  • Jewish sororities: SAEPi
  • Can you get kosher food on the school meal plan? No
  • Chicken soup hotline: No
  • Active Hillel clubs: 5
  • Hillel Friday night services: 1
  • Average Shabbat attendance – Hillel: 100
  • Average Shabbat attendance – Chabad: 50
  • Synagogues within 10 miles: 2 (1 Conservative, 1 Reform)
  • Eruv: No
  • Most famous Jewish alum: Maya Rudolph
  • Where do Jewish students come from? 90% of undergraduate Jewish students are from California.
  • Kosher food details: None at the university. Limited items are available in local supermarkets.

What Students Say:

“The best thing about the Jewish community is that, because the population is fairly small in comparison to other major universities, everyone pretty much knows each other”…”I wish that the Jewish community at UCSC were more organized. There are a number of different individually organized Jewish organizations like the Leviathan Jewish Journal, UCSC Slugs for Israel and UCSC David Project, but I wish we had a larger net organization that we were all a part of”…”The Jewish community at UCSC is by and large very hippy, open to new ideas and mellow, which I think is a nice departure for people who grew up in very intense Jewish communities. UCSC’s own particular brand of Jewishness is very conducive to really engaging with and pondering Judaism in your own way without fear of scrutiny.”

Do you attend this school? Do you want to tell us more about what life there is like? Take our survey here, and your feedback could be featured in next year’s guide! And if you’re a student or campus professional, join our online community Jewish Campus Confidential, and apply to become a Forward Campus Ambassador.

Recommend this article

University of California, Santa Cruz

Thank you!

This article has been sent!