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Sacramento BAH Rates, Housing, Education, & Cost-of-Living

Find housing, employment, cost-of-living, and BAH rates for Sacramento, CA. Listed below are BAH Rates, college and universities, cost-of-living information, school resources for children of military families, and things to see and do in the Sacramento area.

Some of the military installations that are proximal to Sacramento include:

Sacramento Colleges & Universities

The Sacramento area is home to several colleges and universities. This is a partial list.

The state of California offers a College Fee Waiver for Veteran Depends benefit program that waives tuition and fees for public colleges and universities throughout the state. Discover more information about the multiple plans offered under this program.

To find more Sacramento area schools, use the free CollegeRecon School Finder tool.

Using your GI Bill

Anyone considering using the Post 9/11 GI Bill in Sacramento, you should know the following:

  • You may be eligible for Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) if you are a full-time student.
  • MHA is comparable to the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) for an E-5 with dependents.
  • MHA is calculated based on the zip code of where you physically attend most of your classes, not necessarily Sacramento.
  • Those attending only online classes receive a set MHA of approximately $1,054 (in 2023)
  • Up to $1,000 is available each year for books and supplies.
  • The Post 9/11 GI Bill can be transferred to a spouse or dependents but you must still be on active duty to transfer.
  • The Yellow Ribbon Program offers financial support in specific situations where the GI Bill does not fully cover the cost of tuition at participating colleges

Cost of Living in Sacramento

Sacramento is the capital of California and is a favored place to live for its vibrant urban landscape and easy access to beautiful natural surroundings. According to BestPlaces, Sacramento has a cost of living score of 127.2 percent, which is 27.2 percent higher than the national average, and 15.1 percent lower than the state average.

The cost of housing in Sacramento is significantly lower than the rest of California coming in at 149.3 percent compared to the state average of 234.8 percent, making it an affordable place to call home.


  • Overall – 127.2
  • Housing – 149.3
  • Groceries – 104.8
  • Transportation – 121.0
  • Utilities – 98.4

Other categories to consider

  • Healthcare
  • Childcare
  • Taxes

Sacramento Housing

Sacramento is an affordable place to live in California that has a lot to offer its residents. According to RentCafe, the average rent in Sacramento is $1,850 and the average apartment size is 826 sq. ft.

Some of the most affordable neighborhoods in Sacramento include:

  • East Del Paso Heights – Median Rent $1,292
  • Freeport Manor – Median Rent $1,088
  • Greenbriar – Median Rent $1,201
  • Northgate – Median Rent $1,411
  • River Park – Median Rent $1,552

Other desirable neighborhoods in Sacramento include: Natomas Park, Village 7, Westlake, and Heritage Park.

According to Realtor.com, the average sale price of a home in Sacramento as of March 2024 is approximately $470,000. The city is currently rated as a seller’s market, which means that there are more people looking to buy homes than currently available on the market.

To learn more about VA Loan Program benefits, you can get a free eligibility assessment from our VA loan partner.

Sacramento BAH Rates

E1 $2,460 $1,845
E2 $2,460 $1,845
E3 $2,460 $1,845
E4 $2,460 $1,845
E5 $2,760 $2,070
E6 $2,865 $2,190
E7 $2,892 $2,472
E8 $2,922 $2,787
E9 $3,021 $2,808
W1 $2,880 $2,361
W2 $2,907 $2,784
W3 $2,949 $2,814
W4 $3,054 $2,865
W5 $3,186 $2,898
O1e $2,895 $2,757
O2e $2,937 $2,802
O3e $3,072 $2,853
O1 $2,781 $2,154
O2 $2,862 $2,661
O3 $2,946 $2,820
O4 $3,231 $2,883
O5 $3,438 $2,901
O6 $3,465 $2,922
O7 $3,492 $2,973


Primary Education in Sacramento

Access to primary education is an important consideration for parents with school age children. There are currently no DoDEA schools in Greater Sacramento, however there are many top primary schools in the area.

According to Greatschools.org, some of the top primary schools in Sacramento include:

  • Crocker/Riverside Elementary School
  • Phoebe A. Hearst Elementary School
  • Sacramento Valley Charter
  • Sutter Peak Charter Academy
  • Caleb Greenwood Elementary School

Employment Opportunities

The Sacramento area is known for its diverse set of industries and innovation. According to the Greater Sacramento Economic Council, the area is a launching pad for small startups and international corporations. Some of the top industries in the area include:

  • Food and Agricultural Tech
  • Life Sciences
  • Future Mobility
  • FinTech
  • Semiconductors

Top employers in the Greater Sacramento area include: Kaiser Permanente, Aerojet Rocketdyne Inc., Intel Corp, Disabled American Veterans, and General Produce Co. Ltd.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in Sacramento as of March 2024 is 4.9 percent.

Things To Do in Sacramento

Sacramento is the capital city of California and is also known for its rich history, beautiful scenery, and vibrant arts scene. It is filled with great cafes, restaurants, and fun events that make the city a dynamic place to live.

Some of the best things to do in Sacramento include:

  • Spending a day in the Old Sacramento Waterfront where you can soak in the Gold Rush era heritage that the city is famous for. Old Sacramento also features fun events, a park with attractions, shopping, art cafe’s, and good restaurants.
  • Enjoying the museums the city has to offer, including the Crocker Art Museum, California State Railroad Museum, and Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park.
  • Those who prefer outdoor activities can spend a day river rafting down the American or the Sacramento River. There are many access points to the river including Discovery Park and Sutter’s landing.
  • Take time to enjoy the many outdoor festivals and events the city offers. Every second Saturday, the art galleries in Midtown Sacramento open for the Second Saturday Art Walk. Additionally, the city holds events such as Gold Rush Days and the Farm-to-Fork Celebration that celebrates the area’s rich heritage.
  • Enjoy a day of family fun at the Sacramento Zoo, which is located in Land Park. The zoo features over one-hundred species of animals, including giraffes, African lions, sloths, kangaroos, and rhinos.

About the author

Sarah Tucci

Sarah is a Philadelphia-based writer. She comes to CollegeRecon with an interdisciplinary background in international relations and cultural heritage with an interest in understanding the intersection of armed conflict and cultural heritage, particularly in Eastern and Southeastern Europe. When not writing for CollegeRecon, Sarah enjoys traveling, watching documentaries, and hanging out with her beloved Pitbull, Brutus.