San Francisco, California (CA) Colleges and Universities

There are about 25 colleges and universities in San Francisco, California. 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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Most Program Variety

Students trying to decide on a field of study or graduate students trying to choose a specialization area may be interested in the program variety a college has to offer. The San Francisco area has a few public and private, non-profit schools with traditional programs at various degree levels. The three San Francisco schools below offer the most program variety among traditional schools in the city.

1 - City College of San Francisco

Students enrolled at City College of San Francisco (CCSF) can pursue certificates or associate degrees. The college offers about 126 programs. Students can choose from various areas of study, including business, computer science, engineering, nursing, physical education and women's studies. Of the 1,850 part-time and full-time faculty members, 95% have master's degrees and around 250 have doctorates. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), City College of San Francisco awarded around 1,750 certificates and almost 1,000 associate degrees in 2011-2012.

2 - San Francisco State University

San Francisco State University (SFSU) is a 4-year public university that serves around 30,000 students and offers more than 110 academic programs. The university offers post-baccalaureate certificates, bachelor's and master's degrees and research/scholarship and professional practice doctoral degrees. For the 2011-2012 school year, San Francisco State University awarded 5,559 bachelor's degrees, 1,432 master's degrees and 19 doctoral degrees, according to the NCES. The NCES also reported that the most popular areas of study were biological sciences, business administration and management, speech communication and rhetoric, English and general psychology. U.S. News & World Report's 2013 'Best Colleges' edition ranked SFSU 50th in its Regional Universities (West) category.

3 - University of San Francisco

With around 90 academic programs available to students, University of San Francisco (USF) offers the third highest program variety in the San Francisco area. USF offers bachelor's and master's degrees, post-baccalaureate and post-master's certificates, research/scholarship doctoral degrees and professional practice doctoral degrees. In 2011, Princeton Review named USF as one of the 'Best Western Colleges'. Princeton Review and Forbes magazine both ranked USF among the top 25 entrepreneurial campuses, as of 2013. Among national universities, USF ranked eighth in undergraduate student ethnic diversity and tenth in international enrollment by U.S. News & World Report. In the U.S. News & World Report 2013 'Best Colleges' edition, USF ranked 106th among national universities.

Lowest Net Cost

Aspiring students trying to decide what college to attend may be swayed by affordable and low tuition rates. The NCES determines the net price for U.S. colleges and universities by subtracting the amount of government or financial aid that students receive from the total cost of attendance. Many schools in San Francisco had net prices over $20,000, but students can find a couple schools with net prices under $11,000. The three colleges below offer the lowest net prices for 2010-2011 among traditional schools in San Francisco, according to NCES statistics.

1 - City College of San Francisco

With a net price of $4,314, CCSF is the most affordable traditional school in San Francisco. As of 2012-2013, in-state students paid estimated yearly tuition and fees of $1,238, according to the NCES. Out-of-state students at this college paid almost triple the amount, with estimated tuition and fees of $6,270. NCES 2010-2011 statistics indicated that 41% of students received grant or scholarship aid, with an average amount of $2,797 awarded, and 5% received federal student loans in the amount of $6,522 on average.

2 - San Francisco State University

This university had a net price of $10,397, making it the second most affordable option for students looking for traditional schools in San Francisco. As of 2012-2013, the estimated yearly tuition and fees for in-state students was $6,440, while out-of-state students paid $18,098, according to the NCES. For 2010-2011, 43% of students received grant or scholarship aid at an average amount of $8,432.

3 - University of San Francisco

At USF, students saw a net price of $28,946. For the 2012-2013 school year, annual tuition and fees were $38,884, according to the NCES. In 2010-2011, 60% of students received grant or scholarship aid, with the average amount received at $22,686, the NCES reported. In addition, 54% of students were recipients of federal student loans; average loan amounts were $7,413.

Highest Graduation Rate

The graduation rates listed below are based on the percentage of full-time students who completed their studies in 150% of the normal time it takes to earn a degree. Graduation rates for traditional schools in San Francisco ranged from over 25% to 70%. The following three schools have the highest graduation rates among the traditional schools in the San Francisco area.

1 - University of San Francisco

University of San Francisco appears in the rankings again with an overall graduation rate of 70% for students who started in 2005, the highest among San Francisco traditional schools. Of the full-time students who started at USF in Fall 2010, 84% returned as sophomores in Fall 2011, according to the NCES. The Center for Academic and Student Achievement at USF has many programs to help students adjust to college life and reach their academic goals.

2 - San Francisco State University

The university has an overall graduation rate of 46% for students who started in 2005. The 4-year rate for students from that same starting year was lower, at 12%. The retention rate was 81% for full-time students who started in 2010 and 45% for part-time students, according to the NCES.

3 - City College of San Francisco

For students who started at this school in 2008, the overall graduation rate was 26% and the transfer-out rate was 14%. The retention rate at this school was 73%, also the third highest among the top three schools ranked in this category, for students who started in 2010.

Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio

Students might prefer schools with smaller class sizes because these schools offer better student-teacher interaction. The highest student-faculty ratio for traditional San Francisco schools was 24:1. The following three schools offer the lowest student-faculty ratios among traditional San Francisco colleges and universities.

1 - Golden Gate University - San Francisco

According to the NCES, Golden Gate University in San Francisco has a student-faculty ratio of 15:1. As of Fall 2011, Golden Gate University had around 264 full-time and part-time faculty members. Students attending this university can choose from short-term, post-baccalaureate and post-master's certificates, bachelor's and master's degrees, research/scholarship doctoral degrees and professional practice doctoral degrees.

2 - University of San Francisco

Offering the second lowest student-faculty ratio among traditional colleges is the University of San Francisco with a ratio of 16:1. As of Fall 2011, USF had around 406 full-time and 558 part-time faculty members.

3 - City College of San Francisco

With a ratio of 24:1, City College of San Francisco ranks third in this category among traditional schools in the city. In Fall 2011, the school had 34,558 students who received instruction from 846 full-time and 964 part-time faculty.

San Francisco, CA, Schools at a Glance

School Name Location School Type Degrees Offered Area Ranking
City College of San Francisco San Francisco, CA 2-year, public Less than 1-year certificates, 1- to 2-year certificates; associate and bachelor's degrees Most Program Variety,
Lowest Net Cost,
Third Highest Graduation Rate,
Third Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
Golden Gate University - San Francisco San Francisco, CA 4-year, private not-for-profit Less than 1-year certificates; bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees; post-master's and post-baccalaureate certificates, Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
San Francisco State University San Francisco, CA 4-year, public Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees; post-baccalaureate certificates Second Most Program Variety,
Second Lowest Net Cost,
Second Highest Graduation Rate
University of San Francisco San Francisco, CA 4-year, private not-for-profit Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees; post-baccalaureate and post-master's certificates Highest Graduation Rate,
Second Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio,
Third Most Program Variety,
Third Lowest Net Price
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