From rural two-year colleges to nationally-recognized universities, California’s 307 postsecondary schools have something for all students – whether they want to earn a degree to enter the creative community of Los Angeles or train to become a techie in Silicon Valley. This page provides a core starting point for researching California colleges. Continue reading to explore the best colleges in California and find other practical insights, such as school costs compared to the national average, which colleges in the state produce the highest-paid grads, and links to outreach programs that are helping California students realize their education and career dreams.

Best California Colleges: 2017 Rankings

California California

While there are many colleges in California, some stand above the rest by providing a much better value to students. The following is our ranking of the best colleges in California, based on factors such as tuition cost, teacher-student ratio, and the amount of financial aid students receive.

Rank School Name Score Tuition Fees Alumni Earnings Student/Teacher Ratio Gift Financial AidGraduation Rate Acceptance Rate # Online Programs # Total Programs Placement Services Credit for Experience
1
Santa Rosa Junior College
99.85
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$33,900
23:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
21%
33% N/A 2 182 Yes No
2
Pasadena City College
99.35
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$33,500
20:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
2%
32% N/A 5 123 Yes No
3
Ohlone College
99.08
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$39,000
26:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
2%
36% N/A 1 95 Yes No
4
College of San Mateo
98.97
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$39,900
24:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
6%
14% N/A 0 101 Yes Yes
5
Mission College
98.79
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$32,800
21:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
3%
28% N/A 0 72 Yes Yes
6
City College of San Francisco
98.71
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$36,900
20:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
N/A
31% N/A 1 162 Yes No
7
Chabot College
98.62
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$32,900
27:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
1%
26% N/A 0 83 Yes No
8
Saddleback College
98.43
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$33,900
26:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
1%
35% N/A 0 165 Yes Yes
9
Napa Valley College
98.39
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$34,300
21:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
7%
36% N/A 0 57 Yes No
10
Butte College
98.17
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$29,800
24:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
13%
29% N/A 0 120 No No
11
Monterey Peninsula College
98.09
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$34,100
24:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
1%
24% N/A 0 94 Yes No
12
Solano Community College
97.93
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$34,100
23:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
4%
23% N/A 3 88 Yes No
13
Chaffey College
97.56
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$28,100
26:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
5%
21% N/A 0 131 Yes No
14
Feather River College
97.35
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$26,900
22:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
2%
29% N/A 0 44 No Yes
15
Cabrillo College
97.27
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$32,100
25:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
8%
27% N/A 4 93 Yes No
16
Foothill College
97.19
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$47,600
27:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
6%
62% N/A 11 91 Yes No
17
Mt San Antonio College
97.16
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$33,800
26:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
1%
29% N/A 0 151 Yes No
18
Skyline College
96.92
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$38,000
25:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
3%
17% N/A 0 63 Yes No
19
Fresno City College
96.87
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$26,000
25:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
1%
15% N/A 0 124 Yes No
20
Diablo Valley College
96.75
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$38,300
27:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
N/A
39% N/A 17 133 Yes No
21
Santa Ana College
96.71
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$32,400
38:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
4%
23% N/A 0 125 No No
22
Las Positas College
96.60
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$33,400
27:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
2%
30% N/A 1 63 Yes No
23
Cuesta College
96.57
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$32,900
24:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
N/A
33% N/A 0 85 No No
24
Lassen Community College
96.56
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$25,300
19:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
36%
16% N/A 1 36 Yes No
25
Contra Costa College
96.51
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$29,000
22:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
2%
24% N/A 2 65 Yes No
26
Long Beach City College
96.41
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$27,800
28:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
1%
18% N/A 1 161 Yes No
27
West Valley College
96.40
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$33,300
22:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
2%
28% N/A 9 82 No Yes
28
Santa Barbara City College
96.23
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$33,900
49:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
5%
36% N/A 0 113 Yes Yes
29
Sacramento City College
96.07
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$31,000
28:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
N/A
25% N/A 0 135 Yes Yes
30
Modesto Junior College
96.05
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$27,500
32:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
8%
17% N/A 3 113 No No
31
College of the Siskiyous
95.97
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$25,600
15:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
2%
16% N/A 1 44 No Yes
32
Shasta College
95.86
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$24,900
25:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
4%
22% N/A 0 83 Yes Yes
33
De Anza College
95.79
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$43,600
31:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
2%
60% N/A 0 111 Yes No
34
Southwestern College
95.75
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$30,700
28:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
1%
18% N/A 0 167 No No
35
Allan Hancock College
95.71
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$29,500
24:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
1%
27% N/A 8 91 Yes No
36
Cypress College
95.70
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$33,000
25:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
N/A
32% N/A 2 116 No No
37
Palomar College
95.65
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$31,700
26:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
N/A
25% N/A 0 178 No Yes
38
Bakersfield College
95.61
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$29,700
32:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
11%
18% N/A 0 106 Yes Yes
39
Yuba College
95.54
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$26,200
27:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
2%
20% N/A 0 64 Yes No
40
Crafton Hills College
95.52
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$30,500
29:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
1%
24% N/A 0 52 Yes Yes
41
American River College
95.48
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$27,600
27:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
N/A
27% N/A 2 167 Yes Yes
42
Copper Mountain College
95.36
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$26,500
15:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
1%
21% N/A 0 35 No No
43
San Diego Mesa College
95.10
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$34,900
30:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
N/A
20% N/A 3 118 Yes No
44
Riverside City College
94.98
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$30,000
27:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
1%
25% N/A 0 102 Yes Yes
45
MiraCosta College
94.97
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$29,500
29:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
N/A
27% N/A 0 131 No Yes
46
Orange Coast College
94.91
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$34,800
33:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
N/A
37% N/A 0 154 Yes Yes
47
San Bernardino Valley College
94.90
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$24,900
28:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
N/A
17% N/A 0 99 Yes No
48
Citrus College
94.89
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$29,100
30:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
1%
30% N/A 2 66 Yes No
49
Canada College
94.89
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$29,300
25:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
6%
14% N/A 0 60 No Yes
50
College of the Canyons
94.85
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$34,200
27:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
N/A
29% N/A 0 82 Yes Yes
Rank School Name Score Tuition Fees Alumni Earnings Student/Teacher Ratio Gift Financial AidGraduation Rate Acceptance Rate # Online Programs # Total Programs Placement Services Credit for Experience
1
Stanford University
99.79
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$80,900
10:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
51%
95% 5% 5 165 Yes No
2
University of Southern California
99.45
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$66,100
9:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
59%
90% 18% 39 278 Yes No
3
California Institute of Technology
99.22
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$74,000
3:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
55%
92% 9% 0 55 Yes No
4
University of California-Los Angeles
99.11
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$59,200
16:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
53%
92% 19% 1 196 Yes No
5
University of California-Berkeley
98.93
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$62,700
17:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
53%
91% 16% 3 177 Yes No
6
Loyola Marymount University
98.50
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$55,600
11:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
94%
75% 53% 1 91 Yes No
7
University of California-Davis
98.16
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$57,100
18:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
65%
81% 40% 0 190 Yes No
8
Pepperdine University
97.81
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$61,400
12:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
77%
81% 35% 1 85 Yes No
9
Claremont McKenna College
97.72
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$63,600
8:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
45%
92% 11% 0 58 Yes No
10
Santa Clara University
97.66
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$67,700
12:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
71%
86% 49% 0 77 No No
11
University of California-San Diego
97.51
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$59,600
19:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
53%
86% 33% 0 133 Yes No
12
Harvey Mudd College
97.48
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$78,600
8:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
70%
88% 14% 0 23 Yes No
13
University of California-Irvine
97.48
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$55,800
19:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
58%
86% 37% 1 161 Yes No
14
University of the Pacific
97.35
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$66,400
14:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
89%
63% 55% 0 76 Yes Yes
15
Pomona College
97.15
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$52,600
7:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
58%
96% 12% 0 48 Yes No
16
Saint Mary’s College of California
97.08
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$59,000
13:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
87%
59% 76% 0 85 Yes Yes
17
University of San Francisco
96.91
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$61,000
14:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
67%
67% 60% 5 90 Yes Yes
18
University of California-Santa Barbara
96.80
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$52,000
17:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
57%
80% 36% 0 120 Yes No
19
University of Redlands
96.69
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$53,800
14:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
95%
72% 73% 0 73 Yes No
20
University of San Diego
96.42
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$56,300
15:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
79%
76% 46% 2 76 Yes No
21
Fresno Pacific University
96.22
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$39,700
11:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
96%
59% 67% 6 114 Yes No
22
Mount Saint Mary’s University
96.20
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$50,200
12:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
100%
61% 78% 1 48 No No
23
Holy Names University
95.97
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$50,100
9:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
99%
39% 57% 0 59 Yes Yes
24
Azusa Pacific University
95.93
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$49,000
11:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
93%
63% 82% 10 57 Yes Yes
25
University of California-Riverside
95.87
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$48,700
19:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
71%
66% 58% 0 123 Yes No
26
Point Loma Nazarene University
95.86
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$50,300
14:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
82%
75% 70% 0 74 Yes No
27
Dominican University of California
95.83
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$51,400
9:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
99%
57% 81% 0 39 No Yes
28
University of La Verne
95.82
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$52,700
17:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
96%
59% 47% 4 64 Yes Yes
29
California Lutheran University
95.63
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$52,900
16:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
96%
60% 61% 3 51 Yes Yes
30
Notre Dame de Namur University
95.29
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$51,300
11:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
99%
47% 78% 2 32 Yes Yes
31
Chapman University
95.23
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$51,800
14:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
84%
72% 47% 0 81 No No
32
California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo
95.21
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$60,900
22:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
26%
72% 31% 0 95 Yes No
33
Westmont College
94.86
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$48,300
12:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
92%
79% 79% 0 27 Yes No
34
Occidental College
94.82
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$50,100
10:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
68%
84% 42% 0 33 Yes No
35
National University
94.51
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$54,800
20:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
1%
23% N/A 82 137 No Yes
36
Scripps College
94.41
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$47,200
10:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
58%
90% 28% 0 48 No No
37
Art Center College of Design
94.36
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$51,700
9:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
60%
70% 81% 0 14 No Yes
38
University of California-Santa Cruz
94.15
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$44,600
18:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
69%
74% 56% 0 90 Yes No
39
Loma Linda University
94.12
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$72,800
3:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
N/A
N/A N/A 13 72 No No
40
California State University-Long Beach
94.07
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$46,900
25:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
40%
57% 35% 0 146 Yes No
41
San Diego State University
94.05
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$48,700
28:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
27%
66% 34% 2 155 Yes No
42
Mills College
93.94
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$39,000
11:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
100%
63% 76% 0 54 Yes No
43
Concordia University-Irvine
93.83
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$42,100
10:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
97%
52% 86% 2 35 No Yes
44
Whittier College
93.59
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$45,100
13:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
93%
67% 62% 0 30 Yes No
45
San Jose State University
93.56
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$54,600
27:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
34%
47% 60% 1 143 Yes No
46
Woodbury University
93.56
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$45,600
10:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
76%
59% N/A 0 23 Yes No
47
Pacific Union College
93.53
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$48,600
16:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
100%
40% 47% 0 37 No Yes
48
San Francisco State University
93.51
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$46,900
24:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
40%
47% 66% 0 141 Yes Yes
49
Pitzer College
93.44
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$45,300
12:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
35%
87% 13% 0 74 Yes No
50
California Baptist University
93.36
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$41,800
18:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
93%
59% 80% 20 86 Yes Yes

California College Search & Compare Tool

The first step to success in college is finding the right school. This is a decision that should not be taken lightly, so it’s important for prospective students to look for colleges in California that meet both their career goals and personal preferences. The search tool below can help students do this by allowing them to look for schools based on location, size, type and tuition.

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College Outreach Programs in California

California is dedicated to improving college access for undocumented, low-income and other students who need academic or financial assistance. Its education agencies have developed a variety of outreach programs to accomplish this goal, including:

California Dream Act

The California Dream Act expands state financial aid benefits to cover undocumented college students and other nonresidents who have AB540 status. The program makes undocumented students eligible for institutional scholarships from California colleges (as well as private scholarships) and state-based aid such as Cal Grants.
Additional financial assistance can be found through the California Dream Loan Program, which allows part- and full-time undocumented students attending University of California schools to borrow a maximum of $20,000. This program is particularly important, as undocumented students are not eligible for any federal aid, including loans.

California GEAR UP

The directive of California GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) is to help every middle school student in California successfully prepare for high school and college studies. Support services offered through GEAR UP include family engagement, counseling, financial education, and more. Since 1999, the program has helped 4,400 middle school students across 256 middle schools, and has given nearly $11 million in education trust awards.

California Student Opportunity and Access Program (Cal-SOAP)

Cal-SOAP is an outreach initiative that works to improve achievement rates and college access for underserved and low-income elementary and secondary students. Partnering with local community agencies and schools throughout the state, the program offers services such as college awareness workshops, financial aid advisement, test preparation, and peer mentoring. Since its inception in 1978, Cal-SOAP has made significant strides in helping increase college enrollment rates – in 2008, more than 80 percent of participating students went on to attend college.

Cost of College in California: How Does It Stack Up?

The cost of college differs from one state to the next, and what students pay depends on what type of school they attend and whether or not they are a resident of California. The following information outlines how California tuition rates compare to the national average, as well as the percent of financial aid students in the state receive.

Average California Tuition &
Fees at 4-Year Public Colleges

Source: CollegeBoard

% of California Students
Receiving Financial Aid

Source: IPEDS

Average Financial Aid Award
for California Students

Source: IPEDS

* Institutional aid represents grant and scholarship funds directly awarded by a postsecondary institution.

* Financial aid data represents 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

Most Affordable California Colleges

For many, cost is the most important consideration when it comes to choosing a college. One of best way to determine a college’s affordability is to look at its net price, which subtracts financial aid received from the total cost of attendance (tuition, room and board, books, and other fees). See the six most affordable colleges in California below, along with data comparing the average net price of all California colleges to the national average.

Average
Annual Net
Price

Cost for students awarded federal financial aid, after school and government aid is deducted. At public colleges, only applies to in-state students.

California College Net Price vs. National Average
CALIFORNIA $20,962 Average
Annual Net Price
$18,073

Source: College Scorecard
Note: Rankings/data represent 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

California Colleges With Highest Alumni Earnings

Students need to know that their degrees can command the salaries needed to pay off their student loans and build a bright financial future for themselves. The rankings below highlight California colleges which have alumni earning the highest salaries 10 years after they began school.

Annual
Median Earnings
10 Years
After Entering
College

Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.

California Alumni Salaries vs. National Average
CALIFORNIA $51,894 Annual Median Earnings
10 Years After Entering College
$42,759

Source: College Scorecard
Note: Rankings/data represent 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

Colleges in California With Least Alumni Debt

In 2015, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that California students complete college with an average of $21,382 in student loan debt – a rate that is amongst the lowest in the country. However, some California colleges rank better than others in this regard. The following is a list of colleges in the state that have graduates with the least amount of federal student loan debt after completing an undergraduate degree.

Median
Federal Student
Loan Debt After
Graduation

Only for undergraduates who completed college; does not include Parent-PLUS loans.

California College Grad Debt Vs. National Average
CALIFORNIA $21,815 Median Federal Student
Loan Debt After Graduation
$23,145

Source: College Scorecard
Note: Rankings/data represent 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

California Cost of Living: College Expenses Beyond Tuition

California is an attractive destination for many people – including college students – but those who live there often pay a hefty price for the lifestyle. While California is one of the top-ten most expensive states in the country, some locations are more affordable than others. Students interested in attending college in California should consider costs above and beyond their education expenses. The following table provides a look at the cost-of-living in five of the most populous cities in California.

area composite index housing groceries utilities transportation health care misc.
Statewide Average 132% 182% 115% 115% 128% 107% 107%
Fresno 109% 105% 105% 127% 139% 99% 101%
Los Angeles-Long Beach 141% 217% 107% 113% 135% 110% 106%
San Diego 145% 232% 109% 120% 132% 110% 103%
San Francisco 177% 319% 128% 108% 134% 119% 118%
San Jose 149% 244% 121% 125% 104% 118% 108%

Source: The Council for Community and Economic Research

Accrediting Agencies for Colleges in California

Accreditation is important because it certifies that colleges and universities are providing an education that best prepares students for the workforce. California colleges are regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. There are also accrediting agencies that provide credentials to specific types of California degree programs, such as:

Major College Cities in California

Los Angeles

With over 13 million residents from around the world, Los Angeles is a diverse, bustling city that has dozens of colleges and universities. Although the city is known for being the entertainment capital of the world, other key industries in Los Angeles include biosciences, hospitality, advanced transportation, and aerospace. In order to train for these and other careers, students have an array of college choices, from technical schools to large four-year universities. Below are some of the city's most popular institutions.

College Name School Type Annual Net Price Annual Median Earnings
10 Years After College

Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.

Los AngelesUniversity of California, Los Angeles Public $13,723 $59,200
Located in the Westwood neighborhood, the UCLA has been providing a quality education to the community since 1919. The popularity of UCLA is so great that it is the most applied to university in the country, with 92,000 prospective freshmen every year vying for a spot. Those who are fortunate enough to enroll can choose between over 125 majors and 80 minors - with some of the most popular being psychology, economics, biology, and political science. In addition to educational opportunities, UCLA also generates $12.7 billion into the economy of greater Los Angeles, providing 42,000 jobs to residents.
Los AngelesUniversity of Southern California Private not-for-profit $14,666 $39,100
USC, which is located at the Downtown Arts and Education Corridor, has over 18,000 undergraduate students - including 2,949 freshmen enrolling in the school annually. The school provides a quality education to its students through its low student to faculty ratio of 9:1, as well as its small class sizes. In fact, 57 percent of the courses that are found at USC have fewer than 20 students. Some of USC's most popular areas of study include communications, marketing, biology, and engineering.
Los AngelesCalifornia State University, Northridge Public $11,439 $44,200
Since its inception in 1958, CSUN has been dedicated to educating students on its 356 acre, urban campus. The school has 35,616 undergraduate students who can choose from 68 bachelor's degree programs. In addition, the school offers 60 types of graduate degrees. California State University, Northridge's most popular majors include psychology, broadcasting, biology, and accounting.
San Francisco

Known for both its diversity and innovation, San Francisco is home to 25 colleges and universities, as well as a number of technical schools, that attract students from the Bay Area and beyond. Thanks to schools like San Francisco State University, the San Francisco Art Institute, and University of San Francisco, about 43 percent of residents in the city have at least a bachelor's degree.

College Name School Type Annual Net Price Annual Median Earnings
10 Years After College

Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.

San FranciscoSan Francisco State University Public $14,379 $48,700
San Francisco State University was founded in 1899 with the intention of using radical teaching methods that were fitting of the progressive city. Since its inception, SFSU has used the innovative spirit it was built on to provide a quality education to its 30,500 students. Some of the school's most popular majors include business administration, psychology, criminal justice, sociology, and cinema.
San FranciscoUniversity of San Francisco Private not-for-profit $11,610 $45,900
The University of San Francisco is housed on a 55-acre campus next to Golden Gate Park. The school, which opened in 1855, has over 100 degree programs that graduates and undergraduates can choose from in areas such as arts and sciences, nursing, health professions, law, education, and management. USF has about 10,000 students and 475 full-time faculty members.
San FranciscoSan Francisco Art Institute Private not-for-profit $7,748 $34,200
Students who are interested in honing their artistic skills can enroll in the San Francisco Art Institute, which has degree programs in painting, photography, sculpture, and visual arts. The school's 611 students enjoy small class sizes that have 11:1 student to faculty ratio, as well as many courses that have less than 20 students.

Source: College Scorecard

College Resources for Students in California

There are many other places prospective students can go help them research California colleges and universities, including these key resources:

Adult Education – Specialized Programs

Includes information from the California Department of Education about adult education opportunities in the state.

Association of California Community College Administrators

The Association of California Community College Administrators is a professional organization that supports the needs of those who run community colleges.

Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities

This group is made up of 70 private colleges and universities around California, from small liberal arts colleges to multi-school universities.

Cal Humanities

Promotes humanities education in California.

California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office

Includes news and reports about the California Community College System.

California Community College Student Affairs Association

Provides professional development services for California community college students.

California Competes

This website includes information on the impact that California’s colleges have on the state’s economy.

California Postsecondary Education Commission

This government agency is involved in the planning of education at colleges and universities around the state.

Foundation for California Community Colleges

This organization supports the mission of the California Community College System. The Foundation’s website includes information on the California workforce and resources for the state’s college students.

The State of Higher Education in California

This report published by the Lumina Foundation discusses statistics about African American college students in California.