Community Colleges in California: All 140+ Schools

Community colleges in California can help you earn credits for your bachelor's degree or complete your associate degree. Explore your options today.
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Updated on October 12, 2023
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Community colleges are in the spotlight now more than ever — especially since the First Lady of the United States teaches at one. And if you're living in the Golden State, it's important you know about community colleges in California.

Luckily, you'll have plenty of schools to choose from. With over 140 community colleges, California is full of opportunities for aspiring, current, and returning students.

Whether you're looking for a convenient, affordable way to start earning credits toward your bachelor's degree, planning to get an associate degree, or aiming to earn a professional certificate, community colleges in California have a lot to offer.

5 Popular Community Colleges in California

Here's an overview of some of the most popular community colleges in California. We chose these schools based on overall reputation and academic quality.

1. Irvine Valley College

  • Avg. Annual Net Price: $5,550
  • Total Student Enrollment: 10,464

Since 1985, IVC in Irvine, California, has offered a variety of courses in the arts and sciences, including associate degrees, certificate programs, and assistance for students looking to transfer their credits to a four-year institution. IVC boasts the highest four-year transfer rate in California.

At IVC, you can enjoy a robust athletics culture. The Irvine Valley Lasers are part of the Orange Empire Conference, considered the best community college sports conference in the country. And its men's soccer team has won national championships twice.

2. Las Positas College

  • Avg. Annual Net Price: $5,342
  • Total Student Enrollment: 6,724

Founded in 1963 as an extension of Chabot College, another California community college, LPC became a fully independent, accredited institution in 1988. If you want to earn an associate degree and then transfer into a bachelor's program, LPC offers a guaranteed transfer program to all University of California schools except UCLA and UC Berkeley.

The school's athletics program is particularly notable for its ultimate frisbee and water polo teams. LPC offers a wide variety of student clubs, including cultural clubs and special interest groups. Its interclub council helps you get involved and meet other students through get-togethers, barbecues, and other communal events.

3. Moorpark College

  • Avg. Annual Net Price: $3,978
  • Total Student Enrollment: 12,484

Established in 1967, Moorpark is a public community college offering associate degrees and certificate programs in science, humanities, the arts, and more. The school is known for its high levels of degree completion — among the highest in California.

Students at Moorpark walk on the wild side, with campus facilities such as the only public observatory in Ventura County and the Exotic Animal Training and Management Center, which houses over 200 animals. Thanks to this facility, Moorpark students can study veterinary sciences in hands-on settings.

You can also join unique extracurricular organizations, such as a student chapter of America's Teaching Zoo and a campus sustainability program.

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4. Pasadena City College

  • Avg. Annual Net Price: $4,420
  • Total Student Enrollment: 21,923

Founded in 1924 as Pasadena Junior College, PCC attracts students from all over the state. The school prides itself on its ethnic studies departments in fields like Chicano/a studies, Asian American studies, African American Studies, and American Indian studies. Its music program, meanwhile, houses the honor band for the Rose Parade.

This love of diversity is reflected in student life as well: Students can choose from among 80 cultural and academic societies and hunt for treasures at the PCC flea market, where over 400 vendors come to campus.

5. Santa Barbara City College

  • Avg. Annual Net Price: $14,180
  • Total Student Enrollment: 12,675

SBCC is one of the oldest community colleges in California, dating back to 1909 when it was founded by Santa Barbara High School District. Today, the school is famous for its School of Media Arts, which focuses on digital media, film production, and photography.

SBCC is also known for its automotive program, which is certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, and for offering the country's only accredited community college program in scuba diving.

Student life at SBCC is welcoming to all, with clubs and societies for people of diverse backgrounds and identities. You'll also find ample mental health support through organizations for mindfulness and a campus peer-to-peer support group.

List of All Community Colleges in California

We've created a complete list of all two-year nonprofit community colleges in California. This list includes four-year schools that primarily offer associate degrees. You can use the table below to compare data on student population, average net cost, acceptance rate, and number of applicants.

The following school data comes from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Note that community colleges that enroll fewer than 100 undergraduates were not included in this list.

All Community Colleges in California
School Total Student Enrollment Avg. Annual Net Price
ABC Adult School 193 $11,955
Allan Hancock College 10,329 $6,119
American Academy of Dramatic Arts Los Angeles 220 $40,837
American River College 27,422 $7,730
Antelope Valley Community College District 11,840 $3,917
Bakersfield College 26,873 $8,878
Baldwin Park Adult and Community Education 405 $4,318
Barstow Community College 2,884 $9,948
Berkeley City College 6,122 $13,672
Butte College 9,362 $9,634
Cabrillo College 9,149 $18,992
Canada College 5,388 $4,420
Casa Loma College-Los Angeles 415 $14,985
CBD College 1,214 $21,583
Cerritos College 19,469 $3,812
Cerro Coso Community College 4,919 $11,826
CET-El Centro 148 $18,668
CET-Salinas 157 $11,285
CET-San Diego 196 $18,597
CET-San Jose 183 $14,756
CET-Santa Maria 109 $8,754
CET-Soledad 179 $6,665
CET-Watsonville 103 $9,184
Chabot College 10,736 $8,213
Chaffey College 19,238 $14,778
Citrus College 9,975 $5,493
City College of San Francisco 16,134 $8,569
Clovis Adult Education 210 N/A
Clovis Community College 7,772 $5,005
Coastline Community College 8,077 $11,886
College of Alameda 5,673 $15,641
College of Marin 4,283 $9,564
College of San Mateo 7,512 $6,344
College of the Canyons 18,075 $6,185
College of the Desert 10,382 $13,704
College of the Redwoods 4,006 $7,634
College of the Sequoias 13,170 $2,338
College of the Siskiyous 1,204 $8,347
Columbia College 2,349 $9,276
Community Christian College 485 $21,403
Compton College 4,082 $4,877
Contra Costa College 5,832 $8,475
Copper Mountain Community College 1,402 $9,038
Cosumnes River College 13,294 $6,249
Crafton Hills College 5,113 $15,676
Cuesta College 9,908 $14,507
Cuyamaca College 8,043 $7,379
Cypress College 13,523 $7,421
De Anza College 16,335 $8,267
Diablo Valley College 16,097 $7,398
Downey Adult School 813 $11,126
East Los Angeles College 27,855 $12,537
El Camino Community College District 19,944 $6,090
Escondido Adult School 174 N/A
Evergreen Valley College 7,952 $18,374
Feather River Community College District 1,383 $10,853
Folsom Lake College 8,796 $7,695
Foothill College 12,434 $11,013
Fresno City College 22,609 $5,041
Fullerton College 18,370 $10,073
Gavilan College 4,561 $8,960
Gemological Institute of America Carlsbad 154 $29,996
Glendale Community College 10,658 $8,849
Golden West College 10,053 $5,088
Grossmont College 12,862 $6,651
Hacienda La Puente Adult Education 337 $4,547
Hartnell College 8,892 $7,279
Homestead Schools 180 $15,207
Hypnosis Motivation Institute 241 $42,272
ICOHS College 163 $40,449
Imperial Valley College 7,747 $4,396
Irvine Valley College 10,464 $5,550
Lake Tahoe Community College 2,519 $11,019
Laney College 9,653 $17,053
Las Positas College 6,724 $5,342
Lassen Community College 1,694 $10,231
Long Beach City College 22,402 $6,084
Los Angeles City College 13,199 $10,423
Los Angeles County College of Nursing and Allied Health 195 N/A
Los Angeles Harbor College 7,384 $12,757
Los Angeles Mission College 9,283 $13,089
Los Angeles Pierce College 15,372 $13,422
Los Angeles Southwest College 4,913 $9,271
Los Angeles Trade Technical College 10,377 $11,952
Los Angeles Valley College 15,037 $11,938
Los Medanos College 7,791 $7,459
Madera Community College 5,522 $6,994
Mendocino College 3,554 $12,439
Merced College 10,214 $6,934
Merritt College 6,514 $17,108
MiraCosta College 10,860 $7,281
Mission College 5,747 $8,395
Modesto Junior College 16,224 $12,904
Monterey Peninsula College 6,514 $11,977
Moorpark College 12,484 $3,978
Moreno Valley College 9,095 $6,335
Mt. San Antonio College 26,256 $5,528
Mt. San Jacinto Community College District 15,153 $7,125
Mt. Diablo Adult Education 142 $16,770
Napa Valley College 4,041 $17,548
Norco College 9,467 $5,871
Ohlone College 8,358 $14,247
Orange Coast College 16,614 $6,744
Oxnard College 6,339 $1,644
Palo Verde College 4,639 $16,835
Palomar College 17,655 $8,476
Pasadena City College 21,923 $4,420
Pomona Unified School District Adult and Career Education 103 $5,094
Porterville College 4,113 $7,268
Poway Adult School 110 N/A
Reach University 896 $15,054
Reedley College 7,086 $5,545
Rio Hondo College 16,139 $6,099
Riverside City College 19,147 $6,428
Riverside County Office of Education School of Career Education 230 $15,648
Sacramento City College 17,719 $7,199
Saddleback College 16,660 $6,940
San Bernardino Valley College 10,767 $9,493
San Diego City College 12,144 $6,933
San Diego Mesa College 18,076 $8,506
San Diego Miramar College 13,062 $8,618
San Joaquin Delta College 16,168 $3,621
San Jose City College 7,561 $20,395
Santa Ana College 23,852 $4,700
Santa Barbara City College 12,675 $14,180
Santa Monica College 22,375 $6,656
Santa Rosa Junior College 15,552 $10,261
Santiago Canyon College 11,696 $6,529
Shasta College 7,363 $8,323
Sierra College 15,766 $6,270
Skyline College 8,523 $5,161
Solano Community College 8,426 $7,614
Southwestern College 16,530 $13,362
Taft College 4,508 $7,991
Tri-Community Adult Education 217 N/A
Ventura College 10,559 $3,111
Victor Valley College 12,648 $13,390
Vista Adult School 192 N/A
West Hills College Coalinga 3,061 $9,633
West Hills College Lemoore 3,845 $12,480
West Los Angeles College 8,656 $11,800
West Valley College 6,513 $5,468
Woodland Community College 3,441 $6,687
Yuba College 5,401 $5,831
Source: NCES

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How Much Do Community Colleges in California Cost?

According to NCES, public community colleges in California cost anywhere from around $1,300-$8,500 in tuition and fees per year. In general, you'll save more money if you're a California resident attending an in-state community college.

Cost of Community Colleges in California 2021
Institution Type Avg. Tuition & Required Fees
Public 2-Year (In-State) $1,285
Public 2-Year (Out-of-State) $8,491
Source: NCES

Cost of Living in California

If you're a college student, you may be on a tight budget. It's important, therefore, to understand that the cost of living in California is high.

In fact, California has the fourth-highest cost of living of any U.S. state or territory, according to the Missouri Economic and Research Center. It falls behind only Hawaii; Washington, D.C.; and Massachusetts.

While this means you'll need to watch your expenses carefully, you can still save money overall by attending an in-state community college instead of directly enrolling in a four-year university.

California is a large state, and its cost of living can vary significantly from region to region. As a whole, housing costs in California are quite high. As a result, expect to spend more money on day-to-day living expenses in California than you would in other states.

Frequently Asked Questions About Community Colleges in California

How many community colleges are there in CA?

There are over 140 nonprofit community colleges in California. In addition, the state is home to over 200 two-year for-profit schools.

Which community college you choose to attend will ultimately depend on several factors, including your location and living situation, what you want to study, and your budget.

What is the best community college in California?

In terms of four-year transfer rates, some of the best community colleges in California include Irvine Valley College, De Anza College, Pasadena City College, and Cypress College.

Which California community college is best for you will depend on what you want to study, where you live, your budget, and what type of career you want to pursue.

What is the minimum GPA for California community colleges?

In California, community colleges don't have a minimum GPA requirement. That means you can get into any community college you apply to, regardless of your high school performance. There are also no standardized testing requirements for community colleges in California. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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