Best Community Colleges in California 2022

Best Community Colleges in California 2022

The best community colleges provide an effective springboard into higher education, offering students high-quality two-year degree programs in a wide range of disciplines. The top-rated community colleges in California offer a broad selection of associate’s degrees, affordable tuition rates, and strong partnerships with public four-year schools so that students can easily transfer their credits into accredited bachelor’s degree programs.

Colleges and Universities in California

California’s higher education institutes span across the entire state, allowing students to study by the beach, in the forest, in small towns, and in large cities. There are over 30 high quality online programs that would allow you to earn a degree from literally anywhere in California, or the world.

The state’s largest university is the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). UCLA serves nearly 44,000 students and offers a tuition rate around $13,000. This isn’t the only school with a large student body though. California is home to 23 colleges and universities with student populations of over 20,000 students.

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However, more than half of the state’s schools serve smaller student populations, offering plenty of options for students who crave a more intimate campus experience. Additionally, California boasts 50 religiously affiliated schools. Many of these schools have high graduation rates. However, tuition costs can range greatly, from $8,000 at Bethesda University up to $54,000 at Pepperdine University.

Additionally, many of California’s colleges and universities boast influential faculty and alumni, including Neil Armstrong, Jerry Lewis, and Weird Al Yankovic. In addition to famous alumni and professors, California’s schools are also home to some of the country’s top degree programs, including nursing, business, religious studies, education, literature, and law. Many of these schools offer online courses and complete online programs in these same disciplines.

Though Hollywood has given us an inside look into California’s most popular landmarks and attractions, these one-of-a-kind places aren’t the only reason people flock to The Golden State. With hundreds of colleges and universities, as well as community and junior colleges, to choose from, students have countless opportunities to further their education in California.

Many of these opportunities are also accessible through online courses and online colleges. A growing number of online programs in California have received accreditation from the Western Association of Schools, which means online students have a higher level of quality assurance than ever before. It’s also worth noting that students who live in California can still get an in-state discount on their associate degree or bachelor’s degree even when completing online courses or online programs.

To learn more about earning your degree in California, check out some of the state’s top programs and career paths.


What are California’s Colleges & Universities?

California’s Best Overall

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We’ve identified 98 community colleges in California. The following list shows the best community colleges and primarily associate degree granting colleges in California.

If you’re interested in an online associate degree, visit our best online associate degrees in California page.

Best Community Colleges in California

  1. #3

    City College of San Francisco

    San Francisco , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $1K

    Graduation

    37%

    Student body

    14K

  2. #8

    Chabot College

    Hayward , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $1K

    Graduation

    34%

    Student body

    8K

    What is Chabot College known for?

    Chabot College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. #10

    Palomar College

    San Marcos , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $1K

    Graduation

    31%

    Student body

    14K

    What is Palomar College known for?

    Palomar College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. #11

    Orange Coast College

    Costa Mesa , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $1K

    Graduation

    42%

    Student body

    13K

  5. #13

    Los Angeles Pierce College

    Woodland Hills , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $1K

    Graduation

    31%

    Student body

    12K

  6. #15

    Long Beach City College

    Long Beach , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $2K

    Graduation

    21%

    Student body

    17K

  7. #17

    Santa Rosa Junior College

    Santa Rosa , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $1K

    Graduation

    37%

    Student body

    11K

  8. #18

    East Los Angeles College

    Monterey Park , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $1K

    Graduation

    33%

    Student body

    18K

  9. #19

    Los Angeles Valley College

    Valley Glen , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $1K

    Graduation

    26%

    Student body

    9K

  10. #20

    Diablo Valley College

    Pleasant Hill , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $1K

    Graduation

    48%

    Student body

    13K

    What is Diablo Valley College known for?

    Diablo Valley College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  11. #22

    San Bernardino Valley College

    San Bernardino , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $1K

    Graduation

    18%

    Student body

    9K

  12. #23

    Sierra College

    Rocklin , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $1K

    Graduation

    40%

    Student body

    12K

  13. Tuition + fees

    $1K

    Graduation

    29%

    Student body

    15K

    What is San Joaquin Delta College known for?

    San Joaquin Delta College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  14. #26

    College of the Desert

    Palm Desert , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $1K

    Graduation

    26%

    Student body

    8K

    What is College of the Desert known for?

    College of the Desert’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  15. #27

    San Diego City College

    San Diego , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $1K

    Graduation

    23%

    Student body

    7K

    What is San Diego City College known for?

    San Diego City College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  16. #29

    College of the Canyons

    Santa Clarita , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $1K

    Graduation

    42%

    Student body

    12K

    What is College of the Canyons known for?

    College of the Canyons’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

2021 Ranking Archive

Many of our 2022 undergraduate focused rankings look considerably different than 2021. That’s because we took a fundamentally different apporach. For 2021 we utiulized our Concentrated Influence algorithm, designed to take away the size advantage larger schools have when we rank their faculty and alumni’s academic influence. Concentrated influence highlights smaller schools that are proportionally as successful as larger universities at cultivating influential alumni and faculty.

  1. College of Marin
  2. Los Angeles City College
  3. Chabot College
  4. Columbia College
  5. Los Angeles Valley College
  6. De Anza College
  7. Sacramento City College
  8. City College of San Francisco
  9. West Valley College
  10. Fullerton College
  11. Merritt College
  12. Lassen Community College
  13. Cañada College
  14. Pasadena City College
  15. San Joaquin Delta College
  16. Cuesta College
  17. Los Angeles Pierce College
  18. Glendale Community College
  19. Ohlone College
  20. Berkeley City College
  21. Orange Coast College
  22. Lake Tahoe Community College
  23. Grossmont College
  24. Folsom Lake College
  25. Santa Rosa Junior College