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,
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Colleges and Universities in California
SchoolCityTotal EnrollmentInstitution LevelAvg. In-State Tuition & FeesNumber of Programs Offered
University of Southern CaliforniaLos Angeles47,310Four or more years$56,225600
University of California-Los AngelesLos Angeles44,537Four or more years$13,226322
University of California-BerkeleyBerkeley42,501Four or more years$14,184297
California State University-FullertonFullerton40,280Four or more years$6,886112
California State University-NorthridgeNorthridge40,212Four or more years$6,893147
University of California-DavisDavis38,167Four or more years$14,402298
University of California-San DiegoLa Jolla37,887Four or more years$14,167215
California State University-Long BeachLong Beach37,466Four or more years$6,798180
University of California-IrvineIrvine36,032Four or more years$13,700252
East Los Angeles CollegeMonterey Park35,403At least 2 but less than 4 years$1,220113
San Jose State UniversitySan Jose35,400Four or more years$7,796170
San Diego State UniversitySan Diego35,303Four or more years$7,488230
Ashford UniversitySan Diego34,710Four or more years$12,16093
California State University-SacramentoSacramento31,902Four or more years$7,310101
American River CollegeSacramento31,366At least 2 but less than 4 years$1,104183

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