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.

Best Community Colleges in California 2022

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 degrees programs that would literally allow you to study from anywhere in California, or the world. The largest university, the University of California, Los Angeles, 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, though 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.

Though Hollywood has given 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 to choose from, students have countless opportunities to further their education in California.

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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How do we determine California's best community colleges?

Methodology

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great! If you are serious about finding the best colleges and universities for a bachelor’s degree, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching and whether their graduates are themselves advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence in their fields of study.

Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Concentrated Influence provides a ranking that is freer from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

To rank the influence of schools, we first determine the influence of scholars and professionals based on the number of citations and publications they have had over the past 10 years. In addition to publications and citations, we consider the web links to and from these sources, and the page views of those sources. We then match the influential people to their alma maters and institutions of employment, so that their influence is attributed to those schools. Our machine-learning Influence Ranking algorithm produces a numerical score of academic achievements, merits, and citations across Wikipedia, wikidata, Crossref, Semantic Scholar and an ever-growing body of data. If you are interested in exploring how and why we rank by influence, explore our methodology in more depth.

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

Best Community Colleges in California

  1. #1

    Pasadena City College

    Pasadena , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $1K

    Graduation

    43%

    Student body

    19K

    What is Pasadena City College known for?

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

    • Nursing
    • Philosophy
    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Sociology
    • Communications
    • History
    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science
    • Anthropology

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. #2

    Los Angeles City College

    Los Angeles , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $1K

    Graduation

    25%

    Student body

    9K

    What is Los Angeles City College known for?

    Los Angeles City College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Communications
    • Sociology
    • Psychology
    • Physics
    • Law
    • Political Science
    • Education
    • Engineering
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. #3

    City College of San Francisco

    San Francisco , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $1K

    Graduation

    37%

    Student body

    14K

    What is City College of San Francisco known for?

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

    • Criminal Justice
    • Sociology
    • Anthropology
    • Physics
    • Literature
    • Chemistry
    • History
    • Mathematics
    • Communications
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. #4

    De Anza College

    Cupertino , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $2K

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    14K

    What is De Anza College known for?

    De Anza College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Psychology
    • Mathematics
    • Communications
    • Criminal Justice
    • History
    • Literature
    • Sociology
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. #5

    Sacramento City College

    Sacramento , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $1K

    Graduation

    26%

    Student body

    13K

    What is Sacramento City College known for?

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

    • Philosophy
    • Mathematics
    • Literature
    • Chemistry
    • Earth Sciences
    • History
    • Anthropology
    • Psychology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. #6

    Santa Barbara City College

    Santa Barbara , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $1K

    Graduation

    42%

    Student body

    10K

    What is Santa Barbara City College known for?

    Santa Barbara City College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Physics
    • Earth Sciences
    • Economics
    • History
    • Social Work
    • Philosophy
    • Psychology
    • Chemistry
    • Anthropology

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. #7

    Fullerton College

    Fullerton , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $1K

    Graduation

    33%

    Student body

    14K

    What is Fullerton College known for?

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

    • Chemistry
    • Law
    • History
    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Psychology
    • Engineering
    • Criminal Justice
    • Political Science
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. #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:

    • Nursing
    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Economics
    • Communications
    • Mathematics
    • Education
    • Literature
    • History
    • Anthropology

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. #9

    American River College

    Sacramento , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $1K

    Graduation

    31%

    Student body

    17K

    What is American River College known for?

    American River College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Sociology
    • Earth Sciences
    • Mathematics
    • Communications
    • Criminal Justice
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • Philosophy
    • Anthropology

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. #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:

    • Anthropology
    • Education
    • Social Work
    • Law
    • Medical
    • Sociology
    • Chemistry
    • Mathematics
    • Political Science
    • Nursing

    Most Influential Alumni

  11. #11

    Orange Coast College

    Costa Mesa , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $1K

    Graduation

    42%

    Student body

    13K

    What is Orange Coast College known for?

    Orange Coast College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Anthropology
    • Biology
    • Communications
    • Psychology
    • Medical
    • Education
    • Literature
    • Social Work
    • Economics
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. #12

    Merritt College

    Oakland , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $1K

    Graduation

    21%

    Student body

    4K

    What is Merritt College known for?

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

    • Social Work
    • Computer Science
    • Sociology
    • Nursing
    • Psychology
    • Communications
    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Business
    • Criminal Justice

    Most Influential Alumni

  13. #13

    Los Angeles Pierce College

    Woodland Hills , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $1K

    Graduation

    31%

    Student body

    12K

    What is Los Angeles Pierce College known for?

    Los Angeles Pierce College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science
    • Sociology
    • Physics
    • Communications
    • Mathematics
    • Political Science
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  14. #14

    Saddleback College

    Mission Viejo , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $1K

    Graduation

    44%

    Student body

    13K

    What is Saddleback College known for?

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

    • Nursing
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
    • Earth Sciences
    • Computer Science
    • Communications
    • Political Science
    • Mathematics
    • Criminal Justice
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  15. #15

    Long Beach City College

    Long Beach , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $2K

    Graduation

    21%

    Student body

    17K

    What is Long Beach City College known for?

    Long Beach City College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Earth Sciences
    • Nursing
    • Mathematics
    • Psychology
    • Sociology
    • Biology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Business
    • Physics
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  16. #16

    Cabrillo College

    Aptos , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $1K

    Graduation

    30%

    Student body

    7K

    What is Cabrillo College known for?

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

    • Physics
    • Anthropology
    • Mathematics
    • Psychology
    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Earth Sciences
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  17. #17

    Santa Rosa Junior College

    Santa Rosa , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $1K

    Graduation

    37%

    Student body

    11K

    What is Santa Rosa Junior College known for?

    Santa Rosa Junior College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Anthropology
    • Chemistry
    • Biology
    • Computer Science
    • Criminal Justice
    • Social Work
    • Mathematics
    • Literature
    • Psychology
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  18. #18

    East Los Angeles College

    Monterey Park , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $1K

    Graduation

    33%

    Student body

    18K

    What is East Los Angeles College known for?

    East Los Angeles College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Mathematics
    • Nursing
    • History
    • Business
    • Communications
    • Political Science
    • Literature
    • Philosophy
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

  19. #19

    Los Angeles Valley College

    Valley Glen , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $1K

    Graduation

    26%

    Student body

    9K

    What is Los Angeles Valley College known for?

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

    • Communications
    • History
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • Anthropology
    • Psychology
    • Sociology
    • Medical
    • Engineering
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  20. #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:

    • Social Work
    • Mathematics
    • Anthropology
    • Communications
    • Literature
    • Sociology
    • History
    • Philosophy
    • Chemistry
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

  21. #21

    El Camino College

    Torrance , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $1K

    Graduation

    37%

    Student body

    15K

    What is El Camino College known for?

    El Camino College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Anthropology
    • Communications
    • Physics
    • Sociology
    • Philosophy
    • Criminal Justice
    • Mathematics
    • Engineering
    • Literature
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  22. #22

    San Bernardino Valley College

    San Bernardino , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $1K

    Graduation

    18%

    Student body

    9K

    What is San Bernardino Valley College known for?

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

    • Biology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Sociology
    • Chemistry
    • Mathematics
    • Political Science
    • Anthropology
    • Philosophy
    • Computer Science
    • Earth Sciences

    Most Influential Alumni

  23. #23

    Sierra College

    Rocklin , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $1K

    Graduation

    40%

    Student body

    12K

    What is Sierra College known for?

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

    • Earth Sciences
    • History
    • Criminal Justice
    • Mathematics
    • Business
    • Chemistry
    • Biology
    • Anthropology
    • Political Science
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  24. #24

    Mt. San Antonio College

    Walnut , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $1K

    Graduation

    36%

    Student body

    21K

    What is Mt. San Antonio College known for?

    Mt. San Antonio College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Mathematics
    • Sociology
    • History
    • Criminal Justice
    • Psychology
    • Communications
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • Literature
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

  25. #25

    San Joaquin Delta College

    Stockton , CA

    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:

    • Mathematics
    • Criminal Justice
    • Sociology
    • Psychology
    • Medical
    • Communications
    • Business
    • Biology
    • History
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  26. #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:

    • Sociology
    • Earth Sciences
    • Criminal Justice
    • Social Work
    • Business
    • Anthropology
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • History
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

  27. #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:

    • Communications
    • Engineering
    • Mathematics
    • History
    • Computer Science
    • Sociology
    • Political Science
    • Social Work
    • Psychology
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  28. #28

    Fresno City College

    Fresno , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $1K

    Graduation

    23%

    Student body

    15K

    What is Fresno City College known for?

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

    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Sociology
    • Criminal Justice
    • History
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Earth Sciences
    • Anthropology
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

  29. #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:

    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Sociology
    • Political Science
    • Earth Sciences
    • Medical
    • History
    • Criminal Justice
    • Anthropology
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  30. #30

    Cerritos College

    Norwalk , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $1K

    Graduation

    30%

    Student body

    14K

    What is Cerritos College known for?

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

    • Anthropology
    • Medical
    • Mathematics
    • History
    • Criminal Justice
    • Economics
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • Chemistry
    • Computer Science

    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

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