Walnut Creek, California (CA) Colleges and Universities
While there are no schools in Walnut Creek, there are many schools located within a 15-mile radius. Read about the top schools in several categories, including most program variety and lowest net price, to find the school for you.
School Ranking Overview
With a willingness to venture a few miles outside of Walnut Creek, CA, students will have access to a famed state university and an assortment of private colleges and community colleges. The schools are compared and ranked for this article based on the following four areas:
- Program Variety
- Net Price
- Graduation Rate
- Student-Faculty Ratio
Most Program Variety
Students who enter college not yet knowing their major may find that selecting a school with a wide range of programs can be helpful in discovering the right field. The following schools, each with more than 70 options available, offer the most program variety within 15 miles of Walnut Creek.
1 - University of California - Berkeley
Based out of its namesake city, the University of California - Berkeley (UC - Berkeley) has the most program variety of schools in the Walnut Creek area, offering students about 151 options. Established in 1868 and serving more than 35,000 students a year, UC - Berkeley was ranked by U.S. News and World Report in 2013 at #21 among national universities and first on the list of top national public schools.
The university confers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees, as well as post-baccalaureate and post-master's certificates. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), UC - Berkeley awarded a total of 10,954 degrees to students during the 2011-2012 school year, including 7,526 bachelor's degrees. Per NCES statistics, the most popular major among graduates in 2011-2012 was cellular and molecular biology, with 446 students earning bachelor's degrees in the field. Other popular majors that year included biology (343 degrees), economics (432 degrees), business administration (356 degrees), and political science (341).
2 - Saint Mary's College of California
Moraga-based Saint Mary's College of California offers around 84 programs of study to its students, ranking second in the category. U.S. News and World Report ranked the college 15th among regional universities in the West and placed it among the top 25 schools to offer online bachelor's degree programs in the nation in 2013.
According to the NCES, Saint Mary's conferred a total of 1,165 awards in 2011-2012, including bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees; the school also features undergraduate and graduate certificates. The school's curriculum offers two distinct learning opportunities to students: the 'January Term,' which consists of a month of intensive study on a singular subject or travel destination, and the 'Collegiate Seminar,' a series of required courses that are taught in the form of an open forum between students and the professor, discussing books within guided genres. The NCES reported that business/commerce was the most common option at the bachelor's level, while business administration/management was the most popular area of study among master's degree recipients in 2011-2012.
3 - Diablo Valley College
Ranking third for most program variety in the area with approximately 75 choices is Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill. One of three community colleges that make up the Contra Costa Community College District, Diablo Valley College has the highest transfer rate to colleges and universities in the state. A total of 1,485 associate's degrees and undergraduate certificates were earned by graduates of Diablo Valley College in 2011-2012, according to the NCES. Of associate's degrees earned that year, NCES numbers indicate that some of the school's most popular programs included liberal arts and sciences (126 degrees), business administration (93 degrees), and health medical/preparation (88 degrees).
Lowest Net Price
A school's net price is determined by taking a school's total cost of attendance and subtracting the average amount of financial aid received by in-state students. Schools in the Walnut Creek area had 2011-2012 net prices that ranged from less than $4,000 to more than $33,000. The following three schools are the least expensive options among traditional, not-for-profit schools in the region, according to NCES figures from 2011-2012.
1 - College of Alameda
The College of Alameda had a net price of $6,776 for the 2011-2012 school year, causing it to rank first on this list. Established in 1970, the College of Alameda is one of four colleges that make up the Peralta Community College District. In 2011-2012, the NCES reported that 75% of full-time beginning students received some kind of financial aid, and 59% of all students were recipients of scholarship and/or grant funds. For the 2012-2013 school year, tuition and fees were approximately $1,144 for in-state students and $5,704 for out-of-state students.
2 - Berkeley City College
Berkeley City College has the second-lowest net price among qualified schools in the region, costing students an average of $6,805 per year. Of the full-time students new to Berkeley City College in 2011-2012, 60% received financial aid of some kind. The NCES also found that 50% of all students received scholarships and/or grants that same year. In 2012-2013, the NCES estimated tuition and fees at $1,144 for California residents and $5,704 for non-residents.
3 - Laney College
Oakland-based Laney College ranks third on this list with a net price of $8,498 during the 2011-2012 school year. The largest of the four schools in the Peralta Community College District, Laney College charged in-state students $1,144 for tuition and fees in 2012-2013, while out-of-state students paid around $5,704, according to the NCES. In 2011-2012, 56% of all students attending Laney College were given scholarships and/or grants. The same year, the NCES reported that 77% of full-time incoming students were awarded financial assistance of some type.
Highest Graduation Rate
The NCES has identified a school's overall graduation rate as the percentage of students who complete their programs of choice within 150% of the normal time required. Overall graduation rates at schools in the Walnut Creek region varied; one school had a rate of just seven percent, while another featured a figure of 100%. The following list profiles the three traditional, not-for-profit institutions in the area that had the highest overall graduation rates as of 2011, according to NCES figures.
1 - University of California - Berkeley
UC - Berkeley has an overall graduation rate of 90%, which causes it to rank first on this list. Of the bachelor's students who began their studies in fall 2005, 71% were able to earn their degrees within four years. Additionally, the NCES reported that one-year retention rates for those who started in fall 2010 and returned in fall 2011 were 96% for both full-time and part-time students.
2 - Saint Mary's College of California
With an overall graduation rate of 64%, Saint Mary's College of California ranks second among traditional, not-for-profit schools near Walnut Creek. The NCES noted that another 10% of students transferred to a different school within 150% of the normal time. Of students who enrolled for the first time in the fall of 2005, 50% of those pursuing bachelor's degrees graduated within four years. According to the NCES, 87% of students who began their bachelor's studies in the fall of 2010 returned the following fall to continue their studies.
3 - Mills College
Located in Oakland, Mills College comes in third with an overall graduation rate of 57%. This private liberal arts school offers its programs exclusively to women at the undergraduate level. The college was ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the best regional universities in the West (#5) and among the best value schools in the region (#11) in 2013. According to NCES figures, 51% of bachelor's degree-seeking students who began in fall 2005 were able to graduate in four years. From fall 2010 to fall 2011, the school managed to retain 78% of full-time beginning students.
Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
Low student-faculty ratios often correlate with smaller class sizes, allowing instructors to give more personal attention to individual students. Not-for-profit schools in the Walnut Creek region have student-faculty ratios ranging from 9:1 to 36:1.
1 - John F. Kennedy University
With a ratio of 9:1, John F. Kennedy University in Pleasant Hill has the lowest student-faculty ratio among mainstream, not-for-profit schools near Walnut Creek. John F. Kennedy University was established in 1964 as a private university and accredited member of the National University System. According to the NCES, a total of 1,443 students were enrolled at the school in 2011, including 1,126 graduate students. During the fall of 2012, 36 full-time and 184 part-time faculty members served the educational needs of students, per NCES numbers.
2 - California College of the Arts
One of two colleges in the area to have a student-faculty ratio of 11:1, California College of the Arts in Oakland ranks second for this category. This liberal arts college was founded in 1907 and had 1,992 students in 2011. According to the NCES, a total of 579 instructional faculty members were on staff during the fall 2012 semester, including 84 full-time teachers. U.S. News and World Report found that around 91% of classes had fewer than 20 students in 2011.
2 - Mills College
Mills College ties for second place with a student-faculty ratio of 11:1. According to the NCES, Mills College employed 100 full-time and 119 part-time instructional faculty members in fall 2012; additionally, 128 graduate students worked as instructors. In 2011, the NCES found that the school had 1,548 students, 936 of whom were undergraduates. That same year, U.S. News and World Report indicated that almost 77% of classes contained fewer than 20 enrollees.
Walnut Creek Schools at a Glance
|School Name||Location||School Type||Programs Offered||Area Ranking|
|Berkeley City College||Berkeley, CA (about 12 miles from Walnut Creek)||Two-year, public||Less than one-year, one but less than two-year, two but less than four-year certificates; associate's degrees||2nd Lowest Net Price|
|California College of the Arts||Oakland, CA (roughly 11 miles from Walnut Creek)||Four-year, private, not-for-profit||Post-baccalaureate certificates; bachelor's and master's degrees||2nd Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio (tie)|
|College of Alameda||Alameda, CA (about 15 miles from Walnut Creek)||Two-year, public||Less than one-year and one but less than two-year certificates; associate's degrees||Lowest Net Price|
|Diablo Valley College||Pleasant Hill, CA (about five miles from Walnut Creek)||Two-year, public||Less than one-year and one but less than two-year certificates; associate's degrees||3rd Most Program Variety|
|John F. Kennedy University||Pleasant Hill, CA (roughly five miles from Walnut Creek)||Four-year, private, not-for-profit||Less than one-year, one but less than two-year, post-baccalaureate and post-master's certificates; bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees||Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio|
|Laney College||Oakland, CA (about 14 miles from Walnut Creek)||Two-year, public||Less than one-year and one but less than two-year certificates; associate's degrees||3rd Lowest Net Price|
|Mills College||Oakland, CA (approximately 11 miles from Walnut Creek)||Four-year, private, not-for-profit||Two but less than four-year and post-baccalaureate certificates; bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees|| 3rd Highest Graduation Rate,|
2nd Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio (tie)
|Saint Mary's College of California||Moraga, CA (about six miles from Walnut Creek)||Four-year, private, not-for-profit||Two but less than four-year and post-baccalaureate certificates; bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees|| 2nd Most Program Variety,|
2nd Highest Graduation Rate
|University of California - Berkeley||Berkeley, CA (roughly 12 miles from Walnut Creek)||Four-year, public||Post-baccalaureate and post-master's certificates; bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees|| Most Program Variety,|
Highest Graduation Rate
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