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Cost & Aid

Marshall B. Ketchum University is a private, non-profit, independent, educational institution.

The Office of Financial Aid provides financial services and advice that will help our students best meet the educational expenses necessary to achieve their career goal of becoming outstanding Optometrists.

Financial Aid is awarded by the US government. The MBKU Financial Aid Office acts as the liaison between the government and the student to make sure that the funds awarded are available to the student to pay for the cost of attending optometry school. Below you’ll find the step-by-step process, including deadlines, for how the borrowing process works for students who have been admitted to our program.

Step 1: Submit a FAFSA at (School Code: 001230)

Step 2: View your program's estimated cost of attendance (see below) to decide how much student loan funding you may need to borrow to meet your expenses. This budget includes tuition, fees, books, and supplies, plus an allowance for nominal living expenses.

Step 3: In the Spring the MBKU Financial Aid Office will send an email notification once your Financial Aid Package is ready. This email will list the amount of aid you qualify for and the instructions on how to accept the aid. 

Step 4: Once you are officially enrolled in your program, you will have access to your online MBKU Student Account. Most transactions are automatically processed without action required on the student’s part. Your Student Account serves as a record of all student charges such as tuition, fees, equipment, manuals, and other items associated with a student's education as well as corresponding payments and credits. If you ever have any questions or concerns about your account, our student accounts representatives are happy to take your emails, calls, or walk-in questions.

Still have questions about how Financial Aid works? We're here to help! Email us at

Most available Financial Aid comes in the form of loans, and often students borrow from more than one source to cover their needs. Students who apply for financial aid will be offered loan eligibility sufficient to cover the entire cost of attendance budget. 

Through the generosity of our alumni and benefactors, SCCO students annually receive more than $400,000 in scholarships and awards. To learn more about scholarships and applications, visit the SCCO Scholarship Opportunities page.

The numbers below are for the 2024-25 school year and are subject to change each year.

Tuition & Fees Cost
Annual Tuition $51,200
Annual Student Association Fee $115
Parking Fee (optional) $265/ 9 months or $335/ 12 months  

While the occasion has not previously presented itself, the Board of Trustees of Marshall B. Ketchum University does reserve the right to change the tuition and fees or to establish additional fees for special features or services if deemed necessary.

SCCO students see their first patient in clinic during the second quarter of their second year. In order to get you ready for this exciting milestone, a majority of your equipment is purchased and used during the first year- you’ll be able to do a complete eye exam just 9 months into your time at SCCO! Final equipment is purchased during your second year and third years. The estimated cost for books, instruments, equipment, supplies, and clinic uniforms for each year are as follows:

Academic Year Cost
First Year $7,560
Second Year $1,332
Third Year $80
Fourth Year $50

The optometry program is 4 academic years. The first and second years are 9 months each and the third and fourth years are 12 months each. The estimated monthly fees provided below vary depending on the student’s situation and represent an average cost of living one can expect in Southern California to help you anticipate your own financial needs. For example, some of our students live at home and don’t pay rent, but commute and spend money on gas or transportation. MBKU is located in a safe residential area so many students live near campus and walk to class, therefore paying rent but having zero transportation costs. Students may also choose to share a room or carpool to further reduce the estimated expenses. Another factor to consider for your situation is costs during your 4th year. SCCO has an extensive 4th-year rotation program that allows you to tailor your 4th year to your needs based on your career goals. Some students choose to stay local and live at home, while others choose to fly to sites such as Japan, Hawaii, Alaska, or other states to provide rich experiences that require flights and moving costs.

Expenses Cost
Living Expenses $2,150/ mo
Personal Expenses $500/ mo
Transportation $500/ mo
Healthcare* Varies

* Healthcare insurance is required by the state of California. MBKU does not provide insurance plans, allowing students to select whichever option best suits their needs and budget. All students have access to primary care at Ketchum Health Family Medicine located at Ketchum Health.

The University is a participant in the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) Student Exchange Program. Applicants from the participating states (Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming) are encouraged to contact the Certifying Officer in their home state for information on applying for certification. In most cases, the deadline for certification application is October 15, of the year preceding admission; however, some state deadlines and requirements may vary. If you've missed the deadline to apply and receive funds to help cover the first year of tuition, you're encouraged to apply during your first year of optometry school as you may still be accepted into the program and receive funding towards your three remaining years of optometry school.

Canadian and International students are not eligible for US federal financial aid programs. As a condition for matriculation, Canadian or International students must show proof of earmarked educational funds. MBKU only requires financial documentation covering your expenses for the first year; however, keep in mind that you would need resources to fund your education for four years. When calculating what you need for four years, do not forget to increase the tuition by 3% annually (estimated). Proof of these funds can be in the form of a line of credit or bank records. For more information on studying in the states, visit our Resource Guide for Canadian Applicants.

We encourage our students to become informed borrowers. Once you’re admitted to the program, you will have access to your student Portal with tips, Q&A, and resources specifically for SCCO students. For additional information, you can read our Financial 101 blog article regarding how to make sense of the cost of an optometric education.

Contact the Financial Aid Office

For further assistance, please email or call us at 714.449.7448.

Mailing address:
Marshall B. Ketchum University
Attn: MBKU Financial Aid Office
2575 Yorba Linda Blvd.
Fullerton, CA 92831-1615