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Stanford, California (CA) Colleges and Universities

There are nearly 40 schools within the Stanford area. Read about the schools with most program variety, highest graduation rates, lowest student-faculty ratios and lowest costs to find the school for you.

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School Ranking Overview

With over 40 schools in the Stanford area, students have plenty of options to consider when choosing a college. Choices include several 2-year public colleges, 4-year private universities and technical and career schools. This article compares eight traditional schools located in and around Stanford, ranking the top three in the following areas:

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

Most Program Variety

A variety of degree programs are available in the Stanford area at both private and public institutions. The following are the top three schools in the area for academic program variety. Most of the traditional, not-for-profit schools offer roughly 100 areas of study, with the top school featuring nearly 120 options.

1 - Stanford University

Stanford University was established in 1885. In 2013, the U.S. News & World Report ranked this private institution as 6th Best National University. Nearly 120 academic programs are available through seven schools. In 2011, the five most popular majors for graduates included library science, interdisciplinary studies, engineering, biological and biomedical sciences and physical sciences.

2 - San Jose State University

San Jose State University, founding campus of the 23-member California State University system, was started in 1857 to train teachers to serve in the new frontier territories. The teacher preparation program is still popular, but today the university offers 134 bachelor's and master's degree programs. Its business, library science, art and design, journalism and engineering programs have particularly strong reputations. One of the nation's major technology centers, Silicon Valley, hires more engineering, business and science graduates from SJSU than from any other school. A total of 116 academic programs are available. In 2013, the U.S. News & World Report ranked this university in the Top 40 for Regional Universities (West).

3 - Foothill College

Located in the Los Altos Hills near Stanford University, Foothill College is an attractive campus noted for the neo-Japanese design of its buildings; in fact, the American Institute of Architects considers it to be the most beautiful community college ever. In addition to traditional college transfer majors, Foothill offers numerous cutting-edge programs, such as nanoscience and video game design. Many faculty members have been recognized with state and national teaching awards. Foothill graduates are often successful in transferring to top-ranked universities, such as Stanford and UC Berkeley. A total of 112 programs are available.

Lowest Net Price

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) determines the net price of a school by deducting the amount of financial aid in-state students receive from the total cost of attendance. The following section profiles the three traditional, not-for-profit schools with the lowest net prices in the Stanford area from 2010-2011, according to NCES figures.

1 - De Anza College

This community college in Cupertino, about 15 miles from Stanford, CA, is named after the Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza. The college's opening in 1967, along with the arrival of Apple Computer, contributed significantly to the transformation of the small town of Cupertino into a Silicon Valley city. Its annual student population of about 24,000 comes from more than 50 countries. Many De Anza graduates transfer to California State University and University of California schools; its transfer rate, in fact, is consistently first or second among California community colleges. Partly due to revenue from a monthly flea market, the De Anza Associated Student Body has a big budget with which it funds numerous student activities and programs. The net price for the 2011-2012 academic year was $5,237.

2 - Skyline College

The second-lowest net price in the Stanford area belongs to Skyline College in San Bruno with a net price of $5,738. During the 2012-2013 academic year, tuition and fees cost an estimated $1,111 for in-state and $7,471 for out-of-state students. During that same year, books and supplies cost roughly $1,638. Furthermore, 67% of full-time beginning undergraduates received about $4,316 in scholarships and grants from 2010-2011.

3 - Chabot College

Chabot College (DCC) in Hayward, CA and offers associate's degree and certificate programs in business, communication, education and public administration, among others. The net price of this school was estimated at $6,586 in 2011-2012, making it the third lowest in the area. During the 2012-2013 academic year, in-state tuition cost $1,138, while out-of-state tuition was $6,562. Books and supplies during that same year cost an estimated $1,665. Furthermore, roughly 72% of beginning undergraduate students earned some form of financial aid during the 2011-2012 academic year. The average grant or scholarship was $4,474.

Highest Graduation Rate

Graduation rates from the NCES are determined by calculating the percentage of undergraduate students who complete their degree programs within 150% of 'normal time' (e.g. three years for an associate's degree).

1 - Stanford University

The overall graduation rate for students at Stanford University who began their studies in the fall of 2005 was 96%. In addition, this university was able to retain 98% of first-time, full-time students in 2011. The fall 2011 acceptance rate was 7.1%.

2 - Santa Clara University

The second highest graduation rate in the Stanford area belongs to Santa Clara University, with an overall graduation rate of 85%. In addition, the school was able to retain 94% of full-time undergraduates who began their studies in the fall of 2010. Students can earn degrees and certificates in a variety of fields, including the biomedical sciences, engineering, mathematics and religious studies, among others.

3 - De Anza College

With a graduation rate of 60%, De Anza College has the third-highest graduation rate in the Stanford area. From fall 2010 to fall 2011, this two-year, public college retained 74% full-time and 33% part-time students. Only 12% of students who began their studies in fall 2008 transferred to different institutions.

Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio

Student-faculty ratios give students an idea of how small or large class sizes will be at a college or university, offering insight into how much personalized attention each student may receive. Traditional, not-for-profit schools in the Stanford area feature rates as low as 12:1 and as high as 32:1.

1 - Stanford University

Stanford University has a student-faculty ratio of 12:1, which is the lowest in the Stanford area. In 2011, this school enrolled nearly 20,000 students. The faculty included nearly 3,250 full-time and 2,000 part-time faculty members. Students can pursue advanced degrees at one of Stanford's highly ranked graduate schools, such as the Graduate School of Business, Law School, School of Education, School of engineering and School of Medicine. In addition, students can participate in a variety of organizations, such as the Stanford Pre-Business Association.

2 - Notre Dame de Namur University

Located in Belmont, Notre Dame de Namur University is tied with Santa Clara University for lowest student-faculty ratio at 13:1. About 2,000 students enroll at this private not-for-profit school each year. In addition, the student body is taught by nearly 60 full-time and 150 part-time instructional faculty members on the staff. Students can earn bachelor's and master's degrees at this school in a variety of fields, ranging from education and history to the performing arts, among others.

2 - Santa Clara University

The third lowest student-faculty ratio in the Stanford area is 13:1, which is tied by Notre Dame de Namur University and Santa Clara University. The student body of Santa Clara University reaches about 9,000 members each year, with nearly 500 full-time and more than 300 part-time educators on staff.

Stanford Area Schools at a Glance

School Name Location School Type Degrees Offered Area Ranking
Chabot College Hayward, CA Two-year, public Less than one-year and one but less than two-year certificates; associate's degrees 3rd Lowest Net Price
De Anza College Cupertino, CA Two-year, public Less than one-year and one but less than two-year certificates; associate's degrees Lowest Net Price,
3rd Highest Graduation Rate
Foothill College Los Altos Hills, CA Two-year, public Less than one-year and one but less than two-year certificates; associate's degrees 3rd Most Program Variety
Notre Dame de Namur University Belmont, CA Four-year, private not-for-profit Post-baccalaureate certificates; bachelor's and master's degrees Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio (tied)
San Jose State University San Jose, CA Four-year, public Bachelor's and master's degrees 2nd Most Program Variety
Santa Clara University Santa Clara, CA Four-year, private not-for-profit Post-baccalaureate and post-master's certificates; bachelor's, master's and doctor's degrees 2nd Highest Graduation Rate,
3rd Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio (tied)
Skyline College San Bruno, CA Two-year, public Less than one-year and one but less than two-year certificates; associate's degrees 2nd Lowest Net Price
Stanford University Stanford, CA Four-year, private not-for-profit Post-baccalaureate certificates; bachelor's, master's and doctor's degrees Most Program Variety,
Highest Graduation Rate,
Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
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