Community Colleges in California: All 140+ Schools
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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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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- 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.
- 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.
|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|
|Baldwin Park Adult and Community Education||405||$4,318|
|Barstow Community College||2,884||$9,948|
|Berkeley City College||6,122||$13,672|
|Casa Loma College-Los Angeles||415||$14,985|
|Cerro Coso Community College||4,919||$11,826|
|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|
|Community Christian College||485||$21,403|
|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|
|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|
|Fresno City College||22,609||$5,041|
|Gemological Institute of America Carlsbad||154||$29,996|
|Glendale Community College||10,658||$8,849|
|Golden West College||10,053||$5,088|
|Hacienda La Puente Adult Education||337||$4,547|
|Hypnosis Motivation Institute||241||$42,272|
|Imperial Valley College||7,747||$4,396|
|Irvine Valley College||10,464||$5,550|
|Lake Tahoe Community College||2,519||$11,019|
|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|
|Modesto Junior College||16,224||$12,904|
|Monterey Peninsula College||6,514||$11,977|
|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|
|Orange Coast College||16,614||$6,744|
|Palo Verde College||4,639||$16,835|
|Pasadena City College||21,923||$4,420|
|Pomona Unified School District Adult and Career Education||103||$5,094|
|Poway Adult School||110||N/A|
|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|
|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|
|Solano Community College||8,426||$7,614|
|Tri-Community Adult Education||217||N/A|
|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|
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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.
|Institution Type||Avg. Tuition & Required Fees|
|Public 2-Year (In-State)||$1,285|
|Public 2-Year (Out-of-State)||$8,491|
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.