California Colleges Summary

California provides numerous higher-education opportunities to students through its public universities, colleges and community colleges located across the state. Additional choices are available through the 150-plus private nonprofit schools that provide undergraduate and graduate education opportunities for students. As a matter of fact, about 25 percent of all the students enrolled in California colleges attend these schools.

Higher Education Goals in California

Although California does not have a governing body that coordinates higher education, its legislature has worked to establish goals to help improve the current skills gap in the state as well as to improve rates of college completion and to provide more college access to more students. In fact, to close the skills gap, the state is encouraging more public and private colleges in California to award more degrees. Initiatives like the California Dream Act and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals also are expanding enrollment and have helped to provide education to 200,000-plus immigrants in recent years.

California Colleges: A Few Highlights

Among the well-known universities in California is the University of California at Berkeley. The average GPA of freshman admitted to this school if 4.41. As well, seven current faculty hold Nobel Prizes. Cal-Polytechnic State University, in San Luis Obispo, has six different colleges including one offering architecture and environmental design degrees. Of note, the school has its own solar farm, which provides about 25 percent of electricity to campus. The University of California at Santa Barbara is recognized for its advancements in the treatment of autism through its graduate school of education.

For more details on public institutions of higher education in California, see


  • About Berkeley, University of California at Berkeley, Accessed March 2018,
  • About UC Santa Barbara, University of California at Santa Barbara, Accessed March 2018
  • Cal Poly, Cal Polytechnic State University, Accessed March 2018,
  • Higher Education in California, Public Policy Institute of California, Accessed March 2018,
Education Institutes in California
Total Number of Educational Institutes
Total Enrollment in all institutes
Number of Public Educational Institutes
Number of Private For-Profit Institutes
Number of Private Non-Profit Institutes
Graduation Rate
Total Graduates With Bachelors Degree
On Campus and Online Programs in California
Number of Institutes Offering on-campus programs
Number of Institutes Offering on-line programs
Number of Institutes Offering both

Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2018-19, National Center for Education Statistics,