San Fernando Valley, California (CA) Colleges and Universities

There are roughly 60 schools within a 15-mile radius of the San Fernando Valley. 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

The mainstream schools around the San Fernando Valley include 2-year and 4-year public schools in addition to private universities. Schools that are non-profit and that offer a range of departments and disciplines are considered traditional or mainstream. These traditional institutions are compared for this article in order to provide a ranking and description of the top three in each of these categories:

  • Program Variety
  • Net Price
  • Graduation Rate
  • Student-Faculty Ratio

Most Program Variety

More program options are especially helpful for those students who have yet to choose majors. Within the San Fernando Valley area, at least 8 public and not-for-profit schools each offer more than 50 academic programs. Listed below are the 3 traditional schools with the most program variety in the region.

1 - University of California - Los Angeles

The University of California - Los Angeles (UCLA) is a 4-year public school that offers approximately 287 academic programs resulting in either undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees or postgraduate certificates. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), this school offers 23 major areas of study, and the school's most popular bachelor's degree programs during 2011-2012 were general psychology, history, sociology, economics and English literature. During that same year, the NCES reported that the most popular graduate degree programs included business administration management, general education, law and medicine.

2 - Los Angeles Pierce College

Los Angeles Pierce College is a 2-year public school located in Woodland Hills, and this school offers roughly 110 academic programs in 20 major areas of study, per the NCES. At both the certificate and associate's degree levels, the NCES indicated that the largest academic program during 2011-2012 was liberal studies. During that same year, the NCES showed that other popular certificate programs included child care and automotive technology. According to the same source, some of the largest associate's degree programs in 2011-2012 were biological and physical sciences, registered nursing and child care.

3 - California State University - Northridge

This 4-year public state school in Northridge offers about 95 academic programs to undergraduate and graduate students. In 2011-2012, the NCES showed that California State University - Northridge conferred over 6,500 bachelor's degrees, nearly 2,000 master's degrees and almost 25 doctorate degrees. During that same year, some of the largest bachelor's degree programs included psychology,radio and television, business administration, liberal studies and sociology, according to the NCES. At the master's degree level, the most popular programs were public administration, educational leadership, school counseling and general education. Records from the NCES showed that all doctorate degrees awarded during this academic year were in the same field, which was educational leadership.

Lowest Net Price

The cost to attend college is an important factor to consider when choosing schools. The net price, as listed by the NCES, is determined by adding all the actual costs of going to school (including room and board, tuition, books and fees), and then subtracting the average amount of financial aid received by each student. In the San Fernando Valley area, for instance, net prices from the 2011-2012 school year ranged from about $4,500-$46,000, per the NCES. Below are the 3 San Fernando Valley public or non-profit schools with the lowest net prices.

1 - Glendale Community College

Glendale Community College, a 2-year public school, had a net price of $4,479 for the 2011-2012 school year, according to the NCES. The actual cost of tuition and fees for the 2012-2013 school year was $1,175 for residents of California and $5,519 for non-state residents, per the NCES. Records from the same source showed that the cost of books and other supplies during that same year averaged at $1,656, while off-campus room and board costs were around $11,000. Of the full-time beginning students who enrolled in fall 2011, records from the NCES showed that 71% of these students received some form of financial aid. Of those receiving aid, 70% were awarded grants or scholarships in the average amount of $4,795 per student, and only 3% of beginning students took out loans of about $5,000 per person.

2 - Los Angeles Valley College

Located in Valley Glen, Los Angeles Valley College is a 2-year public school that had a net price of $7,403 for the 2011-2012 school year, per NCES data. Information from that same source showed that 61% of all undergraduates received scholarship or grant aid during 2011-2012, and on average each student received an award of $2,625. Only 5% of all undergraduates took out loans during that year, per the NCES, and most students took out over $6,000 each. In 2012-2013, the NCES indicated that the total cost to attend this college was $18,005 for residents and $22,945 for out-of-state students. These totals included the cost of tuition and fees, which were $1,220 for in-state students and $6,160 for out-of-state students. Off-campus room and board expenses of $10,962 were also included in the total cost estimates for that year, as noted by the NCES.

3 - Los Angeles Pierce College

In 2011-2012, the NCES reported that the net price for Los Angeles Pierce College was $8,369. Tuition and fees for resident undergraduates during 2012-2013 were $1,220, and out-of-state undergraduates paid $6,160, per the NCES. This same source indicated that 55% of all undergraduates received scholarship or grant awards of $2,816 per student during 2011-2012. NCES records from that same year indicated that 69% of beginning full-time undergraduates each received $4,829 in scholarship or grant awards. The average cost of off-campus room and board was almost $11,000 for that year.

Highest Graduation Rate

The graduation rates discussed in this article are based on the percentage of students who completed their chosen academic programs within 150% of normal time, which would be six years for a bachelor's degree instead of four years, for example. Out of all schools in the San Fernando Valley area, most institutions had graduation rates above 50%. The following three schools had the highest graduation rates among traditional options in the area, according to NCES records from 2011, and these statistics reflect the graduation rates of students who started their studies in 2005.

1 - University of California - Los Angeles

Overall graduation rates at UCLA were at 90%. Of the students who began bachelor's degree programs in 2005, 68% finished in 4 years. The NCES also keeps track of school retention rates, and these numbers indicate the percentage of first-year students who start coursework in the fall of one year and then return a year later to continue their studies. At UCLA, retention rates were high for full-time students at 97% in 2011, but retention rates for part-time students were only at 50%.

2 - Woodbury University

Situated in Burbank, Woodbury University is a private not-for-profit institution that had a 52% overall graduation rate. According to the NCES, 8% of the 2005 cohort of students transferred to other schools prior to completing Woodbury programs. Information from the same source showed that the 4-year graduation rate for bachelor's degree students who started in 2005 was at 24%. In 2011, the NCES indicated that retention rates for full-time students were at 71%, but there were no rates listed for part-time students.

3 - Mount St. Mary's College

Mount St. Mary's College is a 4-year private not-for-profit school located in Los Angeles, and this college had an overall graduation rate of 48%. Twenty-eight percent of students who began their studies in 2005 transferred to other institutions. Of students from the 2005 bachelor's degree cohort, 38% finished their degrees in 4 years, per the NCES. NCES data from 2011 indicated that retention rates were at 25% for part-time students and 83% for full-time students.

Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio

The student-faculty ratio of a school may indicate how much individualized attention students can expect from professors. During 2012, student-faculty ratios in the San Fernando Valley region ranged from as low as 4:1 to as high as 45:1, per the NCES, but most schools fell within the range of 15:1-35:1. The following are the three conventional schools in the San Fernando Valley area with the lowest student-faculty ratios.

1 - Woodbury University

As of fall 2012, the student-faculty ratio at Woodbury University was 10:1, per the NCES. Information from that academic term showed that the student population was at 1,615, and records from the NCES indicated that the school employed nearly 300 faculty members to accommodate these students. Class sizes at this institution appeared fairly small in 2011, as the U.S. News & World Report showed that roughly 80% of classes each had 19 students or fewer.

2 - Mount St. Mary's College

According to the NCES, Mount St. Mary's College had a student-faculty ratio of 13:1. In fall 2012, this school employed a faculty of 359 members, the bulk of which were registered as part-time. NCES records from the same year showed that the student population was at 2,943, and nearly all of these students were undergraduates. The school's website points out that the average class sizes are kept small with maximum enrollment limits of 18-20 students per class.

3 - University of California - Los Angeles

Despite having a student population of over 39,000, UCLA maintained a low student-faculty ratio of 16:1. In fall 2012, the NCES indicated that the school had a faculty of 5,416 individuals, and almost 4,300 of these workers were considered full-time. To support faculty members, the school also employed 4,746 graduate assistants. The U.S. News & World Report stated that about 51% of classes at this school each had fewer than 20 students enrolled.

San Fernando Valley Area Schools At A Glance

School Name Location School Type Degrees Offered Area Ranking
California State University - Northridge Northridge, CA 4-year, public Bachelor's, master's and doctor's degrees. 3rd Most Program Variety
Glendale Community College Glendale, CA 2-year, public Less than 1-year and 1-2 year certificates; associate's degrees Lowest Net Price
Los Angeles Pierce College Woodland Hills, CA 2-year, public Less than 1-year and 1-2 year certificates; associate's degrees 2nd Most Program Variety,
3rd Lowest Net Price
Los Angeles Valley College Valley Glen, CA 2-year, public Less than 1-year, 1-2 year and 2-4 year certificates; associate's degrees 2nd Lowest Net Price
Mount St. Mary's College Los Angeles, CA 4-year, private not-for-profit Bachelor's, master's and doctor's degrees; post-baccalaureate and post-master's certificates 2nd Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio,
3rd Highest Graduation Rate
University of California - Los Angeles (UCLA) Los Angeles, CA 4-year, public Bachelor's, master's and doctor's degrees; post-master's certificates Most Program Variety,
Highest Graduation Rate,
3rd Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
Woodbury University Burbank, CA 4-year, private not-for-profit Bachelor's and master's degrees. Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio,
2nd Highest Graduation Rate

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