I'm thinking of moving to a state that has a public university with a decent physics program, in which I have a chance of getting into. I don't have much money on me, so I want to keep the costs low; before applying to the college, I'll be staying in the state for a while, so I'll need affordable apartment costs (under only a $12 000 yearly salary...I'll be applying for a job right when I get there, so it may take a few days to start full time). As a state resident, I should be able to pay less for tuition aside from financial aid. My current options so far are (suggestions for adding more and cutting out some are welcome): Berkeley UC Santa Barbara UC LA UC San Diego University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign University of Colorado Boulder University of Michigan - Ann Arbor University of Wisconsin - Madison University of Washington Penn State University of Maryland, College Park Out of this, California seems to be the safest bet considering it has 4 universities on the list...I'm just not sure about living costs...I also heard from a source, that ideally, the monthly rent for an apartment should be below 50% of the monthly income (30% would be the ideal amount); I will most likely not be able to keep that sort of proportion up...even now I'm not keeping that proportion up (quite frankly, I'm not sure I can do that without a college degree). I want to keep all my moving out/in costs under $1700 (including the first month's rent) for the first month...I'm not sure how practical all this sounds, so any advice is appreciated.