California (CA): Universities, Career Schools and Colleges

There are nearly 360 public and private not-for-profit schools within California. See how the state's universities stack up against each other, according to four individual categories, to find the school for you.

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With hundreds of schools throughout the state, California offers students a variety of education options; these include large universities, smaller four-year colleges, career schools and community colleges. In an effort to help students get an idea of their options, we've categorized the schools based on data from the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES).

California Schools Near Large Cities

The large state of California offers potential students the opportunity to take classes at myriad learning institutions near big cities. There are both public and private non-profit schools that provide students with the option to study in an urban setting, offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

  • Bakersfield College (Bakersfield)
  • Bethesda University (Anaheim)
  • California College of the Arts (San Francisco)
  • California College San Diego (San Diego)
  • California State University-Fresno (Fresno)

Largest Schools in California

The following schools were the largest in the state as of fall 2015. Most are 4-year public schools, and all of these institutions enroll more than 35,000 students. Schools in the California State university system and the University of California system tend to be the largest in the state.

  • University of Southern California (43,401 students)
  • University of California-Los Angeles (41,908 students)
  • California State University-Northridge (41,548 students)
  • California State University-Fullerton (38,948 students)
  • University of California-Berkeley (38,189 students)

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Agriculture
  • Architecture
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  • Business
  • Communications and Journalism
  • Computer Sciences
  • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Legal
  • Liberal Arts and Humanities
  • Mechanic and Repair Technologies
  • Medical and Health Professions
  • Physical Sciences
  • Psychology
  • Transportation and Distribution
  • Visual and Performing Arts

Lowest Net Price

Tuition, program fees, housing, textbooks - the costs associated with earning a college education add up quickly. According to 2014-2015 figures from the NCES, the following schools had the most reasonable undergraduate net prices for full-time, in-state students. The net price is based off of the average cost of attendance minus the average financial aid award for in-state students.

  • Los Angeles ORT College-Van Nuys Campus ($1,088)
  • College of the Sequoias ($1,354)
  • Grossmont College ($2,296)
  • California State University-Los Angeles ($3,160)
  • Imperial Valley College ($3,402)

Highest Graduation Rate

Researching graduation rates is an easy way to get insight into the academic quality offered by colleges and universities. Based on undergrads who entered bachelor's degree programs in fall 2009 and finished them within 150% of normal time, following institutions had the highest graduation rates for full-time undergraduates.

  • Pomona College (94% graduation rate)
  • Stanford University (94% graduation rate)
  • University of California-Berkeley (92% graduation rate)
  • Claremont McKenna College (92% graduation rate)
  • University of Southern California (92% graduation rate)

California offers a variety of public and private non-profit institutions, and we've broken them down into four categories to help you make a decision on which is most suited to your learning expectations.

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