I am a NYC resident but I'd really like to attend UC Irvine because one of my best friends who is a grad student (in a top five school, nonetheless) referred me to a specific professor with whom if I play my cards right and do good research work with, can network me with very good experiences in general and subsequently faciliate my acceptance to the same school my friend is currently attending. The most obvious problem on the surface is that the bank will not let me take out a loan for out-of-state tuition without a co-signer and FAFSA/Pell/Stafford can only give me so much. I have considered this: 1) Move to CA after my first year at Community College here in NYC 2) Find a homeless shelter or a church that will take me in exchange for work that is nearby a Community College (granted if I cannot find a job immediately and job availability these days is something I am not particularly expectant of or optimistic about) 3) Attend this Community College for a year to establish residency in CA 4) Transfer to UC Irvine with significantly lowered costs I am 24 years old with no money and nothing to my name (I don't have any family either), so if I maintain good grades I won't lose any financial aid (hopefully). If this doesn't work out, I don't mind staying in NY but I don't know any schools here or any professors that I know will be a shoo-in to work with in order to get into good graduate schools. Does anyone have suggestions for schools in NY for Physics/Engineering or Computational MatSci/Engineering programs?