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List Of California Universities and Colleges

California is home to about 362 public and private non-profit colleges and universities. See rankings of the best and most affordable schools in California to determine which schools might be right for you.

View 21 Popular Schools »

Most Program Variety

Selecting a school that offers a wide variety of academic options can be particularly useful for students, especially those who aren't sure what they want to study. The top three schools in California all offer more than 150 programs, and they're profiled below.

1 - University of Southern California

With approximately 250 fields of study, the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles has nearly 100 more options than any other school in the state. Students can pursue bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in fields that include architecture, cinematic arts, social work and physical therapy. The university is highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report, which placed the school 24th on its list of National Universities, 11th on its list of Best Undergraduate Business Programs, 9th among its Best Graduate Engineering Schools and 1st in both physical and occupational therapy. About 26% of students pursued degree programs in business, management, marketing and related support services in 2010-2011, making it the university's most popular major, according to U.S. News & World Report.

2 - University of California - Los Angeles

At the University of California - Los Angeles (UCLA), located in the Westwood region of Los Angeles, students can select from roughly 162 academic options at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. The most popular programs are political science and government, which 8% of students pursued in 2010-2011, followed by psychology, history and economics, according to U.S. News & World Report. Other areas students can study include archaeology, classics, naval science, Islamic studies, radiologic sciences and geography. U.S. News & World Report ranked UCLA 24th on its list of National Universities, 2nd on its list of Top Public Schools and 14th on its list of Best Graduate Business Schools.

3 - University of California - Davis

U.S. News & World Report ranked the Davis campus of the University of California 38th on its list of National Universities, 8th on its list of Top Public Schools and 2nd in graduate veterinary medicine. Students have 158 academic offerings from which to choose. Undergraduate majors include animal biology, mathematics, international relations, biomedical engineering, statistics and film studies. The university reported that the top freshman major was biological sciences, and the top transfer major was economics.

Lowest Net Price

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) determines the net price for schools based on the total cost of attendance (tuition, fees, room and board, books, supplies and miscellaneous expenses), less the average amount of government and institutional financial aid that each student receives. In California, the schools with the lowest net price all cost less than $3,000 per year to attend. The following three schools has the lowest reported net prices for the 2011-2012 academic year, according to NCES.

1 - Imperial Valley College

Imperial Valley College, found in Imperial, has the lowest net price of all California schools at only $2,508 for in-state residents. This public, 2-year college raised its tuition and fees for in-state students from $1,038 to $1,326 (a 27.7% increase) between 2011 and 2012. Over that same time period, out-of-state tuition and fees decreased from $7,170 to $6,926 (a 3.4% decrease), according to NCES.

2 - California State University - Dominguez Hills

With a net price of only $2,520, California State University - Dominguez Hills in Carson is a 4-year, public school that offers an affordable option for higher education. Tuition and fees for in-state residents were $6,095, and out-of-state residents paid $17,753 for the 2012-2013 academic year, according to NCES. The organization also reported that on-campus room and board was about $10,733, as of 2012-2013. Of the roughly 11,600 undergraduate students in attendance, 59% received some form of grant or scholarship aid in 2010-2011, with an average amount of $8,068, according to NCES.

3 - Grossmont College

Grossmont College in El Cajon is one of 112 community colleges in California, and it had a net price of $2,837 per year for California residents in 2010-2011. As of the 2012-2013 academic year, in-state students paid about $1,387 in tuition and fees, and out-of-state residents paid about $6,897. According to NCES, about 49% of undergraduates received grant or scholarship aid, with an average package of about $2,217 for the 2010-2011 academic year.

Highest Graduation Rate

NCES reports schools' overall graduation rate, which is the percentage of students who completed their studies within 150% of 'normal time' (for example, six years for a bachelor's degree). The following three schools all have graduation rates above 90%.

1 - Stanford University

Stanford University in Stanford is ranked 6th on U.S. News & World Report's list of National Universities and 4th on its list of Best Value Schools. The graduation rate is 96% for students who began their studies in fall 2005. The 4-year graduation rate was 79%. The retention rate, which refers to the number of first-time students who returned the following year, was 98% for full-time students who began their studies in 2010, according to NCES.

2 - Pomona College

With a 95% graduation rate, Pomona College in Claremont has the 2nd highest graduation rate in California. The school only offers bachelor's programs and is 4th on U.S. News & World Report's list of National Liberal Arts Colleges. NCES figures show that the retention rate was 99% for full-time students who began their studies in 2010.

3 - Claremont McKenna College

Students at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont can benefit from the college's 10th place ranking on U.S. News & World Report's list of National Liberal Arts Colleges and 13th on its list of Best Value Schools. This 4-year, private non-profit college had an overall graduation rate of 91% for students who began their studies in 2005, according to NCES. The school's 4-year graduation rate was 85%, and its retention rate was 96% for full-time students who began their studies in 2010.

Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio

Schools with a low student-faculty ratio typically are able to provide students with more individualized attention. The following three California schools had nine or fewer students per faculty member in 2011-2012, based on statistics presented by NCES.

1 - Pomona College

Students at Pomona College can benefit from a student-faculty ratio of 8:1 and an average class size of 15 students. U.S. News & World Report indicates that about 70% of classes have fewer than 20 students, and only 1% enroll 50 or more students. The university has about 191 faculty members, 98% of whom have a terminal degree in their field. Graduate students don't teach classes.

2 - National University

With its main campus in La Jolla, National University has numerous campuses located throughout California and one in Nevada. It's the 2nd largest private not-for-profit institute of higher education in the state and the 12th largest in the nation. Although student enrollment on the La Jolla campus exceeded 16,500 students in 2011, the student-faculty ratio was only 9:1, according to NCES.

2 - University of Southern California

USC also has a student-faculty ratio of only 9:1. In 2011, the university enrolled about 38,000 students at the undergraduate and graduate levels. U.S. News & World Report indicates that about 61% of classes have fewer than 20 students, but about 12% of classes have more than 50 students. Many of the roughly 3,100 part-time and full-time faculty members have received awards and distinctions; three won the Nobel Prize, two won the National Medal of Arts, and five won National Medals of Science and Technology. About 91% of faculty members possess a terminal degree in their field, and graduate assistants don't teach classes, according to U.S. News & World Report.

California Schools at a Glance

School Name Location School Type Degree Levels Offered State Ranking
California State University - Dominguez Hills Carson, CA 4-year, public Bachelor's and master's degrees; post-baccalaureate and post-master's certificates 2nd Lowest Net Price
Claremont McKenna College Claremont, CA 4-year, private not-for-profit Bachelor's and master's degrees 3rd Highest Graduation Rate
Grossmont College El Cajon, CA 2-year, public < 1-year, 1-2-year and 2-4-year certificates; associate's degrees 3rd Lowest Net Price
Imperial Valley College Imperial, CA 2-year, public < 1-year and 1-2-year certificates; associate's degrees Lowest Net Price
National University La Jolla, CA 4-year, private not-for-profit Associate's, bachelor's and master's degrees; post-baccalaureate certificates 2nd Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
Pomona College Claremont, CA 4-year, private not-for-profit Bachelor's degrees Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio,
2nd Highest Graduation Rate
Stanford University Stanford, CA 4-year, private not-for-profit Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees; post-master's certificates Highest Graduation Rate
University of California - Davis Davis, CA 4-year, public Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees; post-baccalaureate and post-master's certificates 3rd Most Program Variety
University of California - Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA 4-year, public Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees; post-master's certificates 2nd Most Program Variety
University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA 4-year, private not-for-profit Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees; post-baccalaureate and post-master's certificates Most Program Variety,
2nd Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
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