Colleges in California

Post-secondary schools in California offer hundreds of degree programs that a student may choose. The intent of these programs is to help students with their specific career goals. By fostering knowledge and skills, they enable graduates to expand their knowledge and gain employment in relevant industries.

How To Choose A School 
The basic criteria when deciding upon a school should remain your interest, career goals, and values. Once this is clear, you should review different schools to find the one that is right for you. In California, a wide variety of engineering schools, medical schools, law schools, and nursing schools offer two-year, undergraduate, and graduate programs. These programs are offered in traditional classroom setting as well as in an online format. Online programs may offer more flexibility and convenience as they are self-paced. The quality of education received remains the same as in a traditional on-campus setting. The choices of where a student may study at in California consist of the following:

  • Community Colleges
    Educating around 2.4 million students through 112 colleges, this higher education system is the nation's largest. These colleges offer individual courses, training and certificate programs, as well as degree programs. Students may graduate in a wide variety of academic and technical fields. The credits earned could be transferred to four-year institutions.
  • Independent Colleges
    There are 76 private, non-profit schools located in different parts of California. Catering to the educational needs of over 240,000 students, these independent colleges possess unique identities. They are internationally renowned for their extensive academic focus. Over 350 degrees are offered to the student community in areas related to research and technology, liberal arts, healthcare, and performing arts.
  • State Universities
    Offering the most diverse and affordable educational system in the state, the state approved universities offer world class education and research opportunities. The campuses are spread throughout the state and educate more than 430,000 students. They have a huge economic impact, and influence and mold policy issues, political developments, and future workforce.

Admission Criteria
State universities take into consideration high school coursework, grades, extra-curricular activities, and standardized test scores (SAT or ACT). Independent colleges, on the other hand, evaluate each applicant individually. You will be assessed on the basis of your future success potential and past achievement. If you do not have a high school diploma, you should consider California community colleges if you are at least 18 years of age. 

Financial Aid
For many students, it all boils down to this: how much does it cost to attend a school in California? Unfortunately there is no exact figure; your total expenditure will depend upon your enrollment status, the number of credit hours taken, and enrollment fee. The California State Legislature may also mandate an occasional change in tuition. The good news is that financial aid opportunities are abundant. These include scholarships, fee waivers, grants, work study programs, and student loans. In addition to the Federal student aid, the state of California offers the following:

  • Cal Grant 
  • Child Development Grant Program
  • California Chafee Grant Program
  • Law Enforcement Personnel Dependents Grant Program (LEPD)
  • National Guard Education Assistance Award Program
  • Direct Loan Program
  • John R. Justice Grant Program


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