Oakland, California (CA) Colleges and Universities

There are roughly 20 postsecondary schools within Oakland, CA. Read about the schools with the most program variety, lowest net prices, highest graduation rates and lowest student-faculty ratios to find the school for you.

School Ranking Overview

Oakland has about 20 postsecondary schools within 5 miles of its downtown area. However, the majority of these schools are either for-profit or specialty schools. Eliminating these schools leaves about 6 colleges and universities that are 'traditional' in the sense that they offer a mixture of programs and operate as private or public non-profit enterprises. This article delves into the statistics for these 6 schools to rank the top 3 in these narrow categories:

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

Most Program Variety

All of the schools compared here offer a variety of programs, but some have a much wider range than others. Students who have yet to choose a field to study may be interested in schools that offer numerous programs. The top 3 schools in this regard offer at least 50 study options.

1 - University of California - Berkeley

More than 150 programs are available at this public university, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). In 2013, the US News and World Report (USNWR) ranked this school #21 among national universities. It also gave high rankings to several of the university's graduate programs, including those in education, engineering, business, law and public health.

The NCES reported data about UC - Berkeley's 2011-2012 graduates. The majority of degrees conferred were bachelor's degrees; 7,526 students earned bachelor's degrees, and the most popular majors were general economics, cellular and molecular biology, biology, business administration and political science. For the 2,164 master's degree graduates, business administration, civil engineering, public health and advanced legal research were the most popular fields of study. Another 1,264 students earned doctoral degrees, and law was, by far, the most pursued field. Of the 97 postgraduate certificates that were awarded, 79 were in education.

2 - Laney College

Students at this 2-year college in Oakland can choose from more than 60 programs, according the NCES. Laney College offers certificate and associate's degree programs. In 2011-2012, the NCES reported there were almost 500 graduates of associate's degree programs. The most popular field of study was social sciences. The most popular disciplines for the graduates of the 1- to less-than-2-year certificate programs were business administration, culinary arts and cosmetology. And for the 94 graduates of less-than-1-year certificate programs, heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration engineering technology; construction; and office management were the most popular study areas.

3 - College of Alameda

Also a 2-year, public college, this school offers 55 programs leading to either an undergraduate certificate or associate's degree, reported the NCES. There were close to 250 graduates of associate's degree programs in 2011-2012, and the most popular fields of study were humanities, liberal arts and business administration. Twenty-eight of the 56 students who earned 1- to less-than-2-year certificates studied automotive technology. And the most popular disciplines for the 113 graduates of the less-than-1-year certificate programs were logistics, materials and supply chain management; business administration; and autobody/collision and repair mechanics.

Lowest Net Price

If affordability is a deciding factor when choosing an Oakland-area college or university, individuals may want to consider a school's net price. The NCES determines this figure by taking the total cost of attendance for full-time, first-time, in-state or in-district students and subtracting the amount of scholarship or grant aid received. Nearly all of the nonprofit, traditional postsecondary schools in and around Oakland had 2010-2011 net prices below $20,000. To find out which of these schools had the lowest net price, read the summaries below.

1 - College of Alameda

The lowest 2010-2011 net price of $7,312 was found at this school, according to the NCES. Of all the full-time, first-time students who started in 2010-2011, 160 (or 73%) of them received grant or scholarship aid. The amount of this aid was $4,187. In 2012-2013, the NCES reported that full-time, beginning, in-state students paid about $1,144 for tuition and fees; full-time, beginning, out-of-state students paid about $5,704. Another $1,665 was estimated for books and supplies. On-campus housing isn't available here, so off-campus room and board expenses for 2012-2013 were estimated at $11,160.

2 - Laney College

At $8,951, Laney College had the second lowest net price for 2010-2011, according to the NCES. Seventy percent of the full-time, first time students who started in 2010-2011 received financial aid; close to $5,000 was the average amount of this aid. Despite the difference in net prices between Laney College and the College of Alameda, the 2012-2013 tuition and fees costs at these schools were the same ($1,144 for in-state students and $5,704 for out-of-state students). Off-campus room and board costs were also the same for the 2012-2013 school year ($11,160).

3 - Berkeley City College

BCC is a 2-year, public college with a 2010-2011 net price of $9,362, reported the NCES. Slightly more than half of the first-time, full-time students who began in 2010-2011 were awarded scholarship and/or grant aid, which averaged around $3,500. The 2012-2013 tuition and fees costs were the same here as at the previous 2 schools ($1,144 for in-state students and $5,704 for out-of-state students). Estimates for books and supplies ($1,665) and off campus room and board ($11,160) were also the same.

Highest Graduation Rate

The majority of the schools in Oakland have relatively low overall graduation rates; although, 2 schools showed very high rates. The NCES determined these rates by counting how many students completed their education programs within 150% of 'normal' time (e.g. 3 years for an associate's program or 6 years for a bachelor's program).

1 - Lincoln University

According to the NCES, all of the students who started a program in fall 2005 graduated within 150% of 'normal' time. However, 60% of those who specifically started bachelor's programs during this semester graduated within 6 years. The NCES also reported retention rates for bachelor's-seeking freshmen who started in fall 2010 and returned in fall 2011, and the school maintained almost 80% of these students.

2- University of California - Berkeley

In fall 2005, 90% of the students who began programs in fall 2005 graduated within 150% of 'normal' time, according to NCES data. For those who started bachelor's programs in fall 2005, 71% graduated within 'normal' time. High retention rates were also reported for bachelor's-seeking students who started in fall 2010 and returned in fall 2011: 96% of both full-time students and part-time students.

3 - Laney College

Even though Laney College's overall graduation rate is much lower than the previous 2 schools, it still placed third among all Oakland-area schools. The NCES reported that 22% of students who began in fall 2008 graduated within 150% of 'normal' time, and another 8% of these students transferred out. Ten percent of students who started at this time graduated within 'normal' time. The retention rates for first-time students who started in fall 2010 and returned in fall 2011 were 59% for full-time students and 30% for part-time students.

Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio

Student-faculty ratio rates can help individuals estimate how much 1-on-1 time they may be able to get from the faculty members. All of the schools in Oakland, except fort 2, have relatively high student-faculty ratios that are above 20:1. The paragraphs below show which schools around Oakland have the lowest student-faculty ratios.

1 - University of California - Berkeley

UC - Berkeley has the lowest student-faculty ratio of 17:1, along with the highest student population, according to the NCES. As of fall 2011, the student population was 36,137, and there were 4,096 faculty members working here. Of these faculty members, 2,251 worked primarily as instructors, while the remainder worked mainly in research and public service. Additionally, there were 4,486 graduate assistants; 2,707 of them worked in instruction and 1,779 worked in research and public service. Approximately 64% of the classes here have fewer than 20 students, reported the USNWR.

1 - Patten University

Tied with UC - Berkeley for the lowest student-faculty ratio of 17:1 is this Oakland-based private university, reported the NCES. However, this school had a drastically lower student population in fall 2011, at 963. And almost 70 faculty members worked here during this time.

2 - Laney College

The third lowest student-faculty ratio of 28:1 was found at Laney College, according to NCES data. In fall 2011, there were more than 12,000 students attending school here and 418 faculty members working here. All of the faculty members worked primarily as instructors, and nearly 300 of them worked part-time.

School Name Location School Type Degrees Offered Area Ranking
Berkeley City College Berkeley (4.4 miles from Oakland) 2-year, public Less-than-1-year, 1- to less-than-2-year and 2- to less-than-4-year certificates; associate's degrees Third Lowest Net Price
College of Alameda Alameda (3.4 miles from Oakland) 2-year, public Less-than-1-year and 1- to less-than-2-year certificates; associate's degrees Lowest Net Price,
Third Most Program Variety
Laney College Oakland 2-year, public Less-than-1-year and 1- to less-than-2-year certificates; associate's degrees Second Most Program Variety,
Second Lowest Net Price,
Second Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio,
Third Highest Graduation Rate
Lincoln University Oakland 4-year, private, nonprofit 1- to less-than-2-year and 2- to less-than-4-year certificates; associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees Highest Graduation Rate
Patten University Oakland 4-year, private, nonprofit Less-than-1-year, 1- to less-than-2-year and post-bachelor's certificates; associate's, bachelor's and master's degrees Lowest Student-Ratio Faculty
University of California - Berkeley Berkeley (4.6 miles from Oakland) 4-year, public Post-bachelor's and post-master's certificates; bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees Most Program Variety,
Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio,
Second Highest Graduation Rate

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