Online Colleges in California

OnlineSchools.org

If you want to earn a college degree you can find a variety of online colleges in California, from technical schools and community colleges to four-year universities. A degree qualifies you for a wide range of job opportunities, higher salary structures, and prepares you for advanced studies. The benefits of earning an online degree in your home state include more affordable in-state tuition, valuable networking connections, and school name recognition after graduation. This guide introduces the best online colleges in California, and important resources for students in the state.

Higher Learning Initiatives in California

California High School Outreach Program Inventory

In the early 2000s, the California Postsecondary Education Commission put together a $127 million budget to fund 20 different college outreach programs to encourage high school students to attend college after graduation. Included in these outreach programs was the opportunity to enroll in online college AP classes while still in high school. These early AP courses give high school students a feel for what they could expect from an online college in California. Included in the online college program for high school students were online courses, textbooks, tutoring, and AP test preparation free of charge.

Extended University Programs

In an effort to increase post-college employment in California, the California Postsecondary Education Commission created a host of Extended University Programs that provided students with training programs and career resources to help them find jobs to jumpstart their careers. One of the most popular Extended University Programs featured online college courses, which were designed to foster key career skills for student job seekers. According to the 2005 update on this Extended University Program, the program contributed to employee growth in some of California’s biggest industries, such as business, agricultural business, communications, life sciences, computer electronic engineering, and more. According to the report, the California Postsecondary Education Commission helped achieve this feat by providing online resources that created well-educated workers in these key industries.

Full-Time/Part-Time Enrollment Ratio

One area that the California Postsecondary Education Commission focused on was providing accessible, cost-effective higher education for college students in California. In its research, the Commission discovered that there was a reduction in part-time enrollment in two-year and online colleges over the years. The Commission did further research to discover the reason was because there was a need for more part-time enrollment options in colleges, including evening classes and online classes, which allow students to have course flexibility and attend to their personal schedules in addition to school. The Commission also strongly encouraged students to consider additional college enterprises, such as National University, the University of Phoenix, and other online schools in California, as opposed to community colleges and brick-and-mortar universities, in seeking out part-time degree programs.

Popular Degree Programs in California

The third biggest state in the country, California boasts numerous major industries. It’s no surprise that the state Hollywood calls home boasts a higher than average number of film, video, and photographic arts majors. The most common major in California, business management and administration, is also the most popular degree in 34 other states.

  • Film, video, and photographic arts: Film, video, and photographic arts majors include a variety of fields. Students specialize in areas including film production, video editing, acting, screenwriting, media management, and more. California’s burgeoning film and entertainment industries make this a very attractive major for in-state students and, as a result, the state boasts many schools with strong arts programs.
  • Business management and administration: Business management and administration is the most common major in 35 states, including California. A very practical and far-ranging degree, graduates can earn a good salary and work in nearly any industry. Business management involves overseeing all aspects of running a business and can also include aspects of accounting, marketing, and finance.

Paying for College in California

When deciding which college to attend, consider price along with a variety of other factors. If you qualify for in-state tuition you pay much less than you would attending an out-of-state school. Also, attending a public two-year school can save money. Even if you want a bachelor’s degree, you can take California community college online courses to earn the first two years of credit towards your degree.

Tuition Prices

Compared to the national average, California students pay slightly less in-state tuition for public four-year schools and significantly less to attend public two-year colleges. If you want to attend an online community college, California is a good place to enroll. Keep in mind other costs are not factored into the price for tuition and fees, like books, transportation, and rent.

Average Price for In-State Tuition and Fees by Institution Type, 2017-18

  Public Two Year Public Four Year
California $1,430 $9,870
U.S. Average $4,234 $9,978

Source: College Board

Employment Outlook in California

The fifth largest economy in the world, California offers an excellent employment outlook for students and recent college graduates. California workers earn approximately 113% of what the average worker in most other states makes, and the annual mean wage for Californians of $57,190 significantly outpaces the national average of $50,620.

Unemployment rate, August 2018
California 4.2%
United States 3.8%

Source: BLS

Annual Mean Wage, May 2017
California $57,190
United States $50,620

Source: BLS

Accreditation for Colleges in California

You can find many accredited online colleges in California. Accredited schools must meet quality standards set by the larger higher education community. Independent accrediting agencies determine if schools qualify for accreditation based on a variety of criteria, including the quality of curriculum, instructors, and student services. By attending an accredited program, you increase your chances of receiving a high-quality education that will give you the skills to succeed in your chosen field.

There are two types of accreditation for schools: regional and national. Most colleges and universities hold the more prestigious and popular regional accreditation. Schools almost always accept transfer credit from regionally-accredited colleges. Regional accreditation agencies only provide accreditation to schools in designated geographic regions. Schools that focus heavily on professional and technical degrees often hold the less prestigious national accreditation. National accrediting agencies do not organize themselves based on geography. Many colleges do not accept transfer credits from nationally accredited schools.

Online colleges in California receive accreditation from the same accrediting agencies as traditional brick-and-mortar schools. When choosing an online program, look for schools with accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. You can also look for the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges if you plan to go to a community college.

Scholarships for California Online College Students

As the cost of higher education continues to rise, paying for your degree can cause stress. Thankfully, students attending online colleges in California qualify for many different kinds of financial aid, including scholarships. A variety of scholarships exist specifically to support students in California, including those listed below.

California College Pathways (CCP) Scholarships

Who Can Apply: CCP list a variety of scholarships open to current and former California foster youth going to college in the state. Eligibility requirements vary, but the maximum applicant age is typically 24.
Amount: Varies

Apply Here

The Horatio Alger California Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Students must be California residents and high school seniors. They must demonstrate financial need, hold a minimum 2.0 GPA, be a U.S.citizen, and participate in community service.
Amount: Up to $10,000

Apply Here

The California Association of Collectors Educational Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Applicants must be high school juniors or seniors planning to attend college within 12 months of the award. They must submit a 700-1,000 word essay.
Amount: $1,500 to $2,500

Apply Here

The Professional BusinessWomen of California Scholarship for Young Women

Who Can Apply: Students must demonstrate leadership, community involvement, work or academic achievements, and potential for future success. They must submit a personal essay, completed application, and three letters of recommendation.
Amount: Up to $10,000

Apply Here

Asian Pacific Fund Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Applicants must be California residents, with preference for Bay Area students. They must also be first generation college students, demonstrate financial need, hold a minimum 2.8 GPA, and be of Asian or Pacific Island descent.
Amount: $2,000 to $5,000

Apply Here

Association of California Water Agencies Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Applicants must be California residents attending a University of California or California State University school. They must be a junior pursuing a degree in a water resource-related field. They must submit a completed application, essay, two letters of recommendation, and official transcripts.
Amount: $3,500

Apply Here

The California Law Enforcement Personnel Dependents Grant

Who Can Apply: Applicants must be dependents or spouses of California law enforcement workers killed or 100% disabled while in the line of duty. They must submit a completed application, copies of their student aid report, birth certificate, proof of enrollment, and evidence of fatality or permanent disability of dependent.
Amount: $100 to $12,192

Apply Here

California Wine Grape Growers Foundation Scholarships

Who Can Apply: Students must be high school seniors whose parent or legal guardian is employed by a California wine grape grower. They must demonstrate scholastic ability, community involvement,financial need, and submit a 500-word essay.
Amount: $2,000 to $8,000

Apply Here

Jewish Family and Children's Services Scholarships

Who Can Apply: Applicants must be Jewish and be at minimum a two-year resident of one of the following California counties: Marin, San Mateo, San Francisco, Sonoma, or northern Santa Clara. They also must hold a minimum 3.0 GPA and demonstrate financial need based on the FAFSA.
Amount: $500 to $2,000

Apply Here

The Harold Johnson Law Enforcement Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Students must plan to work in corrections, police work, or another criminal justice field. The process can involve an interview with the scholarship committee. They must also hold a minimum 2.5 GPA and be a U.S. citizen. Applicants must be a high school senior or graduate from a high school in one of the following California counties: Marin, Alameda, Solano, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, Napa, Sonoma, Monterey Bay, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Mateo, and San Benito.
Amount: Up to $5,000

Apply Here

Resources for Students in California

  • California College Pathways: CPC helps current and former foster youth in California attend state colleges and universities. It offers resources and does advocacy work to help foster youth succeed academically.
  • CaliforniaColleges.edu: This website helps students make smart decisions about higher education and career goals. The site explains financial aid options, offers FAFSA assistance, help finding a suitable career, the right college, and help applying to college.
  • The Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities: The AICCU consists of 83 private, nonprofit colleges in California. Its website includes information about choosing, affording, and applying to college. It also offers a guide to the state’s private, nonprofit colleges and universities.
  • Foundation for California Community Colleges: This foundation supports the California Community College system. Its mission includes supporting California’s community colleges by encouraging collaboration and innovation. Students can find information about a variety of initiatives related to higher education and community colleges in California on its website.
  • California Student Aid Commission: The main state agency that coordinates financial aid programs for students attending college in California, the commission’s mission is making college affordable for all state residents. Its website includes a large section for students, with information on finding and applying for financial aid, a FAQ on the Cal Grant Program, student forms, and additional resources.

Online Schools in California

Antioch University-Los Angeles

Culver City, CA


  • Graduation Rate: N/A
  • Average Net Price: N/A

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Azusa Pacific University

Azusa, CA


  • Graduation Rate: 63%
  • Average Net Price: $29,466

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Biola University

La Mirada, CA


  • Graduation Rate: 62%
  • Average Net Price: $30184

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Brandman University

Irvine, CA


  • Graduation Rate: 30%
  • Average Net Price: $17,042

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Bethesda University

Anaheim, CA


  • Graduation Rate: 69%
  • Average Net Price: $9,759

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California Baptist University

Riverside, CA


  • Graduation Rate: 59%
  • Average Net Price: $28,182

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California State University-Bakersfield

Bakersfield, CA


  • Graduation Rate: 39%
  • Average Net Price: $9,047

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California State University-Chico

Chico, CA


  • Graduation Rate: 57%
  • Average Net Price: $14,931

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California State University-Dominguez Hills

Carson, CA


  • Graduation Rate: 28%
  • Average Net Price: $6,333

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California State University-East Bay

Hayward, CA


  • Graduation Rate: 41%
  • Average Net Price: $13,340

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California State University-Monterey Bay

Seaside, CA


  • Graduation Rate: 37%
  • Average Net Price: $11,802

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California State University-Northridge

Northridge, CA


  • Graduation Rate: 48%
  • Average Net Price: $12,404

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California State University-Sacramento

Sacramento, CA


  • Graduation Rate: 41%
  • Average Net Price: $11,709

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California State University-San Bernardino

San Bernardino, CA


  • Graduation Rate: 44%
  • Average Net Price: $9,441

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California State University-Stanislaus

Turlock, CA


  • Graduation Rate: 49%
  • Average Net Price: $9,417

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Concordia University-Irvine

Irvine, CA


  • Graduation Rate: 52%
  • Average Net Price: $24,143

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Fresno Pacific University

Fresno, CA


  • Graduation Rate: 59%
  • Average Net Price: $19,500

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California State University-Fullerton

Fullerton, CA


  • Graduation Rate: 51%
  • Average Net Price: $9,303

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Golden Gate University-San Francisco

San Francisco, CA


  • Graduation Rate: 40%
  • Average Net Price: $32178

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Grace Mission University

Fullerton, CA


  • Graduation Rate: N/A
  • Average Net Price: $14,961

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Hope International University

Fullerton, CA


  • Graduation Rate: 40%
  • Average Net Price: $22,000

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Homestead Schools

Torrance, CA


  • Graduation Rate: N/A
  • Average Net Price: $14,456

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Humboldt State University

Arcata, CA


  • Graduation Rate: 40%
  • Average Net Price: $15,580

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William Jessup University

Rocklin, CA


  • Graduation Rate: 39%
  • Average Net Price: $19,320

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University of La Verne

La Verne, CA


  • Graduation Rate: 59%
  • Average Net Price: $23,627

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Loma Linda University

Loma Linda, CA


  • Graduation Rate: N/A
  • Average Net Price: N/A

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The Master's University and Seminary

Santa Clarita, CA


  • Graduation Rate: 56%
  • Average Net Price: $23,100

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Mount Saint Mary's University

Los Angeles, CA


  • Graduation Rate: 61%
  • Average Net Price: $27,653

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National University

San Diego, CA


  • Graduation Rate: 23%
  • Average Net Price: $24,924

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Pacific Oaks College

Pasadena, CA


  • Graduation Rate: 40%
  • Average Net Price: $20,000

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Palo Alto University

Palo Alto, CA


  • Graduation Rate: N/A
  • Average Net Price: N/A

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San Diego Christian College

Santee, CA


  • Graduation Rate: 43%
  • Average Net Price: $27,517

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Shasta Bible College and Graduate School

Redding, CA


  • Graduation Rate: 56%
  • Average Net Price: $15,621

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Shasta College

Redding, CA


  • Graduation Rate: N/A
  • Average Net Price: N/A

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Simpson University

Redding, CA


  • Graduation Rate: 41%
  • Average Net Price: $18,142

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Southern California Seminary

El Cajon, CA


  • Graduation Rate: 0%
  • Average Net Price: $35051

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Sonoma State University

Rohnert Park, CA


  • Graduation Rate: 55%
  • Average Net Price: $16,252

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Touro University California

Los Alamitos, CA


  • Graduation Rate: N/A
  • Average Net Price: N/A

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University of California-San Diego

La Jolla, CA


  • Graduation Rate: 86%
  • Average Net Price: $15,648

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University of California-Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz, CA


  • Graduation Rate: 74%
  • Average Net Price: $18,449

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Humphreys College-Stockton and Modesto Campuses

Stockton, CA


  • Graduation Rate: 51%
  • Average Net Price: $18,719

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University of San Francisco

San Francisco, CA


  • Graduation Rate: 67%
  • Average Net Price: $29,989

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Vanguard University of Southern California

Costa Mesa, CA


  • Graduation Rate: 54%
  • Average Net Price: $23,525

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Life Pacific College

San Dimas, CA


  • Graduation Rate: 32%
  • Average Net Price: $20,142

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La Sierra University

Riverside, CA


  • Graduation Rate: 45%
  • Average Net Price: $24,546

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California State University-Channel Islands

Camarillo, CA


  • Graduation Rate: 51%
  • Average Net Price: $16,603

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California College San Diego

San Diego, CA


  • Graduation Rate: 32%
  • Average Net Price: $25,337

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San Francisco Art Institute

San Francisco, CA


  • Graduation Rate: 30%
  • Average Net Price: $38724

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Azusa Pacific University College

Glendora, CA


  • Graduation Rate: 40%
  • Average Net Price: $17,068

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