As California's college students prepare to start classes again at University of California campuses, the sticker shock from fees and living expenses is likely fresh on their minds.
How rough is it? Well, thanks to rising fees and falling home prices, parents can now get a typical house in Sacramento for less than the cost of a UC education for their children.
The median home price in the city of Sacramento is about now about $150,000, according to tracking firm Zillow.com. The estimated cost of five years at a University of California college for new students who live on campus is about $154,000 - and that's assuming fees don't continue to rise.
A UC education is still a great investment, as this tool shows. The open question is whether all qualified students and their parents will continue to be willing and able to pay the up-front costs.
Sources: University of California; Zillow.com
Notes: Cost of attendance includes fees and living expenses like housing, books and meals. Students with scholarships or grants, or who live with their parents, will spend less. The chart above projects five-year costs based on the year a student started school and does not take into account future increases after that; in other words, it lowballs college costs by a bit, given past and likely future trends. UC has not released official cost of attendance figures for 2011-2012. The chart above applies this year's fee increases to last year's living expenses.