Monterey, California (CA) Colleges and Universities

While there are only 2 schools in Monterey, there are several schools located within a 25-mile radius. Read about the top schools in several categories, including lowest cost and highest graduation rate, to find the school for you.

School Ranking Overview

The schooling options in Monterey and the areas neighboring it include a 4-year public university and some 2-year public colleges. There are a limited number of options for those looking to attend school in Monterey, but this article will examine those limited options and rank them in terms of:

  • Most Program Variety
  • Lowest Net Price
  • Highest Graduation Rates
  • Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio

Most Program Variety

Of the 12 colleges and universities within 25 miles of Monterey, CA, only 3 are not-for-profit traditional schools that don't specialize in a specific field. These schools offer a broad range of programs, which may be beneficial for students who haven't yet chosen an area of study. The following summaries below show how these 3 schools compare to each in terms of most program variety.

1 - Monterey Peninsula College

This 2-year public school in Monterey has around 107 programs, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The programs are offered through 7 academic divisions, including the Business and Technology Division, Creative Arts Division, and Physical Science Division.

Students can earn certificates of training, certificates of achievement, or associate's degrees. The NCES reported graduation data from the 2011-2012 school year. There were 342 associate's degrees awarded at that time, and liberal arts and sciences was the most popular field of study. More than 100 certificates were awarded that year, with child care, liberal arts/sciences, and massage therapy being the most common areas of study.

2 - Hartnell College

Hartnell College is a 2-year public school that is located in Salinas, and it offers nearly 90 programs. The college's website reported that it has been acknowledged by organizations like NASA and the NAACP for being a top community college that promotes underrepresented students in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. The website also stated that the nursing and allied health program is one of the school's most notable options.

The school awards Associate of Science and Associate of Arts degrees, as well as certificates of proficiency. According to 2011-2012 NCES data, there were 578 associate's degrees awarded, and 283 were in liberal arts. Other popular study areas for associate's degree graduates that year were criminal justice/police science and registered nursing. There were also 257 certificates awarded that year, and 132 of them were in liberal arts. The next 2 most common areas of study for certificate recipients were criminal justice and licensed practical nursing.

3 - California State University - Monterey Bay

Seaside, California, is home to the Monterey Bay campus of this public university, and students can choose from approximately 28 programs that lead to bachelor's or master's degrees. According to the school's website, several of the programs offer concentrations, allowing students to focus on their interests within a specific field.

The majority of the degrees conferred in 2011-2012 were at the bachelor's level, and the NCES reported that 863 bachelor's degrees were awarded. The most popular majors that year were business administration/management and humanities. Among the 134 master's degrees awarded that year, business administration was by far the most pursued field, with 71 degrees awarded.

Lowest Net Price

Affordability is often a deciding factor when choosing a college or university, so individuals may wish to compare schools' net prices to find the most affordable options in the area. The net price of a school is determined by subtracting the average amount of scholarship or grant aid awarded to students from the total cost of attendance for in-state or in-district students. All 3 of the traditional, not-for-profit schools in the region had net prices below $10,000, according to figures from 2011-2012. All of the below figures are from the NCES.

1 - California State University - Monterey Bay

The lowest net price of $8,727 was found at California State University - Monterey Bay. Just over 60% of full-time beginning undergraduates in 2011-2012 received scholarship or grant aid, which averaged $10,740 per student. In-state undergraduate tuition and fees for 2012-2013 were estimated at $5,963, while out-of-state undergraduates paid $17,621. The NCES also calculated that books and materials cost $1,236 that same year. The school offers on-campus housing, and room and board costs for 2012-2013 were approximately $9,498. Off-campus room and board expenses were estimated to be $10,156 for that same year.

2 - Monterey Peninsula College

A net price of $9,288 landed Monterey Peninsula College in second place for this category. Scholarship and/or grant aid was awarded to 61% of its full-time beginning undergraduates in 2011-2012, according to the NCES, and the average award was $3,802. The NCES estimated that 2012-2013 undergraduate tuition and fees were $1,170 for in-state students and $5,466 for out-of-state students. Expenses for books and materials were about $1,665 that year, and off-campus room and board costs were around $12,249.

3 - Hartnell College

Hartnell College had only a slightly higher net price than Monterey Peninsula College, with a figure of $9,694. The NCES reported that 80% of full-time beginning undergraduates were awarded an average of in scholarship and grant aid in 2011-2012, the average amount was $4,601. In the 2012-2013 school year, tuition and fees were $1,340 for in-district learners, $1,400 for in-state students, and $5,696 for out-of-state students. Books and materials were another $1,665 in 2012-2013, and off-campus room and board costs were about $10,962.

Highest Graduation Rate

The NCES reports the overall graduation rates for colleges and universities, which can be an indicator of a student's chances for academic success. These rates present the percentage of students who complete their programs within 150% of 'normal' time (e.g. 3 years for an associate's degree or 6 years for a bachelor's degree). NCES data showed that all 3 of the traditional, not-for-profit schools in the area had relatively low graduation rates, with the highest figure only at 37%.

1 - California State University - Monterey Bay

This school had the highest overall graduation rate at 37% among qualified schools, and another 15% of students ended up transferring to a different institution within 150% of 'normal' time. For bachelor's degree-seeking students who started in fall 2006, 9% graduated within 4 years. The NCES also found that 80% of full-time students who started a bachelor's degree program in fall 2011 returned in fall 2012.

2 - Hartnell College

Hartnell College ranks second with an overall graduation rate of 22%. The NCES also reported that 10% of students transferred out within 150% of 'normal time'. Only 5% of full-time students who started in fall 2009 completed their programs in the 'normal' time. Also according to the NCES, 72% of full-time students and 35% of part-time students who began their studies in fall 2011 returned the following year to continue their studies.

3 - Monterey Peninsula College

Monterey Peninsula College's overall graduation rate was 21%, which was just slightly less than the figure from Hartnell College. According to the NCES, 6% of students who started in fall 2009 graduated within the 'normal' time. NCES figures showed that 66% of full-time students who started in fall 2011 came back in fall 2012, while 26% of part-time students returned.

Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio

A school's student-faculty ratio can be an indicator of how much 1-on-1 attention students may receive from their teachers. Lower ratios may also signify smaller class sizes. The 3 qualified Monterey-area schools had fairly high student-faculty ratios that were all above 20:1 in 2012.

1 - California State University - Monterey Bay

NCES data showed that this university had the lowest student-faculty ratio of 23:1. In fall 2012, 5,609 students attended this school. That same year, 365 faculty members were employed; about half worked full-time. U.S. News and World Report found that 17% of classes had less than 20 students in 2012, while about 5% had 50 or more learners.

2 - Monterey Peninsula College

The second-lowest student-faculty ratio of 28:1 was found at Monterey Peninsula College, according to the NCES. A total of 10,048 undergraduate students were enrolled here as of fall 2012. NCES data from that same time indicated there were 105 full-time and 250 part-time faculty members employed, all of whom focused on instruction.

3 - Hartnell College

A student-faculty ratio of 33:1 was found at this school in 2012, according to the NCES. In fall 2012, there were 8,377 undergraduate students in attendance. Fall 2012 data also showed that 92 faculty members worked full time and 193 faculty members worked part time.

Monterey Area Schools at a Glance

School Name Location School Type Degrees Offered Area Ranking
California State University - Monterey Bay Seaside, CA (2.4 miles from Monterey) 4-year, public Bachelor's and master's degrees Lowest Net Price,
Highest Graduation Rate,
Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio,
3rd Most Program Variety
Hartnell College Salinas, CA (13.2 miles from Monterey) 2-year, public 1- to less than 2-year certificates; associate's degrees 2nd Most Program Variety,
2nd Highest Graduation Rate,
3rd Lowest Net Price,
3rd Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
Monterey Peninsula College Monterey, CA 2-year, public Less-than-1-year, 1- to less than 2-year and 2- to less than 4-year certificates; associate's degrees Most Program Variety,
2nd Lowest Net Price,
2nd Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio,
3rd Highest Graduation Rate

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