The Santa Barbara area is beautiful, and unfortunately also one of the most expensive housing markets in the U.S.

On Campus Housing

UCSB is able to offer campus housing in the residence halls to incoming undergraduate students. If you are arriving prior to your residence hall move-in date, you may be able to stay in September Temporary Housing.

Visit the Housing and Residential Services web page to find out more about UCSB's housing options. They are specialists and very willing to help you.

Off Campus Housing

For housing off-campus (scholars or faculty) the UCSB Community Housing Office can assist you in locating private accommodations off campus.

Isla Vista is a residential area adjacent to UCSB and tends to be more expensive than nearby Goleta because it is within walking distance of campus. UCSB's Associated Students Pardall Center compiled a list of leasing companies in Isla Vista. 
If you are considering off-campus housing, be sure to consider options near bus stops. Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District (MTD) has information about bus routes and UCSB's Transportation and Parking Services has information about bus passes for students, faculty, and staff. 
If you are thinking of bringing a car, keep in mind that there is a fee to park on campus (information about parking permits here).

Most rentals will require the first and last months' rent and a security deposit before you can move in.

The UCSB AS Legal Resource Center is a great resource as well. They can help with security deposit disputes, evictions, habitability situations, lease review and landlord/tenant questions. 

Housing for Short-Term Visits

(please visit website and call to confirm pricing and availability):

West Campus Cottages


The Club & Guest House (on campus hotel)

Other costs to consider:

Utility costs (for gas, electricity, and cable) average $100.00 per month for apartments. Water and trash service are usually included in the rent.

Food: Costs will vary depending on how often you cook or dine out. There are many options for markets or restaurants near campus. You should budget at least $400/month for food.

Transportation: Students usually bike or walk to campus from Isla Vista. MTD bus service is free to registered students. Faculty or visiting scholars can purchase bus passes. If you choose to drive, you must have a California Driver's License and liability insurance. See the section below for more information.

Start-up costs may include utility deposits, household necessities, and linens. Most apartments in Isla Vista, Goleta, and Santa Barbara are unfurnished.


Bicycle: Exchange Visitors living near campus typically walk or ride a bicycle. Relatively inexpensive bikes are sold in local bike shops and by private sellers on Craigslist. We recommend that you purchase a hard metal U-shaped lock to secure your bike.

Bus: MTD provides bus services for Santa Barbara and surrounding communities. Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District (MTD) has information about bus routes and schedules. Faculty or visiting scholars can purchase bus passes at the UCSB Bookstore, or at the Transit Center on Chapala Street.

Car: While it is possible to drive using a valid international driver’s license, if you will be driving regularly we recommend that you obtain a California Driver's License. You will be required to register your vehicle and purchase liability insurance. Driver’s license and registration is handled by the California Department of Motor Vehicles, which has offices in Goleta and Santa Barbara.

Parking: If you are thinking of bringing a car, keep in mind that there is a fee to park on campus. Hourly permits can be purchased from nearby parking meters. Information on long-term parking options can be found here.

Campus Safety

  • UCSB Police Department – (805) 893-3446
    • Lost and Found
  • IV Foot Patrol – (805) 681-4179
  • UCSB Community Service Organization (CSO) Program
    • Early morning and evening safety escorts – (805) 893-2000
    • Bicycle Registration
  • CARE Program (Campus Advocacy Resources and Education) – (805) 893-4613
    • Stalking, dating violence, and sexual assault
  • General Emergencies – 911 for OFF campus; 9-911 for ON campus
  • UCSB Alert System – You can register online to receive emergency notifications