Online Schools and Colleges in California

Accredited Degree Programs, Scholarships and Resources for Top Schools

The state of California operates three public university systems: the California Community Colleges system, California State University system, and the University of California system. There are also more than 150 private non-profit institutions and 200 for-profit colleges in the state. For working students, new parents, and other busy individuals thinking about earning their college degree, finding the right fit might mean understanding which colleges offer more flexibility and freedom to learn with online programs. Learn more about how online colleges and universities in California operate and prepare students for career success, with answers to frequently asked questions on college costs and transitioning to school below.

Best Online Colleges in California 2020

Best Online Schools

The most populous state in the country, California boasts the highest number of degree-granting institutions in the United States. California's 448 degree-granting institutions offer multiple degrees in diverse areas of study, including a variety of online programs.

This guide covers important information for students considering online schools and colleges in California, including financial aid opportunities, student resources, and programs for nontraditional students.

Rank Logo School Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid Credit For Experience Placement Service Counseling Services Description & Additional Information Toggle
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1 San Joaquin Delta College Stockton, CA Tuition $1,104 # of Online Programs 52 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 31% Financial Aid - Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes
2 Coastline Community College Fountain Valley, CA Tuition $1,104 # of Online Programs 19 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 26% Financial Aid - Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes
3 Irvine Valley College Irvine, CA Tuition $1,104 # of Online Programs 26 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 44% Financial Aid - Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes
4 American River College Sacramento, CA Tuition $1,104 # of Online Programs 13 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 25% Financial Aid - Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes
5 Golden West College Huntington Beach, CA Tuition $1,104 # of Online Programs 7 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 36% Financial Aid - Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes
6 Cerro Coso Community College Ridgecrest, CA Tuition $1,288 # of Online Programs 23 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 25% Financial Aid 1% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes
7 Barstow Community College Barstow, CA Tuition $1,104 # of Online Programs 10 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 9% Financial Aid 3% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service No Counseling Services Yes
8 Mt. San Jacinto College San Jacinto, CA Tuition $1,380 # of Online Programs 5 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 22% Financial Aid 5% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service No Counseling Services Yes
9 Los Angeles Harbor College Wilmington, CA Tuition $1,220 # of Online Programs 6 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 21% Financial Aid - Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service No Counseling Services Yes
10 Cosumnes River College Sacramento, CA Tuition $1,104 # of Online Programs 12 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 25% Financial Aid 2% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes
11 San Bernardino Valley College San Bernardino, CA Tuition # of Online Programs 12 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 19% Financial Aid 45% Credit For Experience No Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes
12 Merced College Merced, CA Tuition $1,104 # of Online Programs 15 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 22% Financial Aid - Credit For Experience No Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes
13 Citrus College Glendora, CA Tuition $1,104 # of Online Programs 3 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 38% Financial Aid 1% Credit For Experience No Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes
14 Cabrillo College Aptos, CA Tuition $1,288 # of Online Programs 8 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 26% Financial Aid 5% Credit For Experience No Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes
15 De Anza College Cupertino, CA Tuition $1,395 # of Online Programs 9 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 62% Financial Aid 2% Credit For Experience No Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes
16 Diablo Valley College Pleasant Hill, CA Tuition $1,288 # of Online Programs 7 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 37% Financial Aid 1% Credit For Experience No Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes
17 Lake Tahoe Community College South Lake Tahoe, CA Tuition $1,209 # of Online Programs 13 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 35% Financial Aid - Credit For Experience No Placement Service No Counseling Services Yes
18 Canada College Redwood City, CA Tuition $1,288 # of Online Programs 7 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 16% Financial Aid 7% Credit For Experience No Placement Service No Counseling Services Yes
19 Chabot College Hayward, CA Tuition # of Online Programs 3 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 29% Financial Aid - Credit For Experience No Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes
20 Taft College Taft, CA Tuition $1,134 # of Online Programs 3 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 26% Financial Aid 31% Credit For Experience No Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes
21 City College of San Francisco San Francisco, CA Tuition # of Online Programs 5 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 32% Financial Aid - Credit For Experience No Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes
Rank Logo School Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid Credit For Experience Placement Service Counseling Services Description & Additional Information Toggle
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1 Bethesda University Anaheim, CA Tuition $7,250 # of Online Programs 6 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 92% Financial Aid 66% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service No Counseling Services Yes

Accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools and the Association for Biblical Higher Education, Bethesda University is committed to growing a faith-based learning community by serving students who wish to balance Christian values with theological education. The school offers a fully online Bachelor of Arts in Religion, which is a 4-year program requiring 126 hours of coursework. Graduates often enter into vocational ministry or use their undergraduate work to acquire a higher degree. The Master of Arts in Biblical Studies is a 2-year program involving 60 hours of work, and the Master of Divinity is a 3-year program consisting of 96 hours. These master's programs are also available 100% online, and graduates use their training to enter the workforce as pastors or enhance their professional skills and knowledge. Hybrid and online courses are also offered to supplement on-campus courses in religion, music, early childhood education and business administration.

To apply, you must submit an application and fee, official transcripts, a copy of a photo I.D. and a Christian testimonial essay. Nonreligious students are welcome to apply and must submit a personal essay in lieu of a testimonial. If you are transferring from another institution, you can fill out a credit transfer and application form in order to determine any credits that may apply to your program. Opportunities for financial aid exist in the form of loans and grants. The school's Scholarship Committee also awards 15 different annual and semester scholarships to both undergraduate and graduate students.

Admissions Requirements

Application Deadline: Aug. 10
GPA: No GPA Requirement
Standardized Test: International students must have TOEFL (PBT) score of 525




Contact Information

Phone: (714) 517-1945
Email: admissions@buc.edu

2 California State University-Chico Chico, CA Tuition $5,472 # of Online Programs 5 Acceptance Rate 65% Graduation Rate 63% Financial Aid 42% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges accredits Chico Distance & Online Education, a division of California State University, Chico. Members of the CSU faculty teach fully online programs and many courses use live video streaming and interaction. Courses begin in both fall and spring, and although they are designed to accommodate a flexible schedule, some are more structured than others. Students can complete a bachelor's degree in social science, liberal studies, religious studies or sociology. There is also an option to receive a master's degree in nursing or a certificate for career and life planning. Students interested in working toward a bachelor's degree in social work can participate in a hybrid option, which combines online work with 2 weekend campus visits per semester.

Depending on the degree of choice, you'll need to complete 2 years of curriculum at a community college or 60 units at a 4-year college, in order to qualify for online programs. The length of time to complete coursework ranges from 2-4 years, and graduation requirements vary for each program. Make sure to review state authorization statuses to ensure that your program of choice is accepted by your state. Online students are supported throughout their academic experience with the help of an advisor, as well as access to the school's library, bookstore and technical support. The school encourages students to get connected to the CSU community by watching available recordings of campus workshops, guest speakers and conferences. Scholarship and financial aid opportunities are the same for online and on-campus students.

Admissions Requirements

Application Deadline: Spring- August 1-31 (Transfer Students ); Fall- October 1-November 30
GPA: No GPA Requirement; Transfers - 2.0
Standardized Test: SAT or ACT




Contact Information

Phone: (530) 898-6322
Email: info@csuchico.edu
Social Media: Twitter; Facebook

3 San Diego State University San Diego, CA Tuition $5,472 # of Online Programs 7 Acceptance Rate 35% Graduation Rate 70% Financial Aid 23% Credit For Experience No Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Students can take a short survey, or even access a course demo, to determine if online education at San Diego State University is the right fit. The College of Extended Studies, which is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission, offers a number of hybrid and fully online courses for SDSU and non-SDSU students. Fully online options include the completion of a bachelor's degree in business administration or master's degrees in educational leadership, hospitality, public administration, public health and regulatory affairs. There is also a hybrid master's degree in rehabilitation counseling. Length of time for completion and workload is dependent on the program, as well as the amount of prior credits being transferred. For those seeking an accelerated track to employment, a series of online career training programs are available for completion in as little as 18 months.

Programs prepare students for a variety of careers, such as medical office managers, medical interpreters, certified healthcare and eldercare mediators and paralegals. There is also an abundance of professional development offerings, including certificates in grant writing, forensic psychology and human resource management. If you simply want to pick up a new skill, SDSU offers several 6-week, non-credit enrichment courses covering subjects such as photography or creative writing. Not all states recognize online degrees from SDSU, so it is important to check which coursework will be applicable in your location of residency. Students enrolled in for-credit courses have access to a number of campus resources, including the library, Blackboard Learn and financial aid opportunities.

Admissions Requirements

Application Deadline: October 1- November 30
GPA: No GPA Requirement (Eligibility Index determined by SAT/ACT test scores, GPA, and completion of A-G courses); Transfer- Dependent on major
Standardized Test: SAT or ACT




Contact Information

Phone: (855) 594-6336
Email: admissions@sdsu.edu
Social Media: Twitter; Facebook

4 Azusa Pacific University Azusa, CA Tuition $35,540 # of Online Programs 13 Acceptance Rate 61% Graduation Rate 69% Financial Aid 97% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

As a faith-based Christian university accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission, Azusa Pacific University promotes a balance of school, work and family through its diverse range of hybrid and fully online offerings. Students can pursue a master's degree in screenwriting by engaging in online courses throughout the fall and spring, and on-campus courses during the summer. Fully online programs include a teacher librarian services credential or a Master of Arts in Leadership, among other options. Certificates and degrees vary in their prerequisites, requirements for graduation and program duration. Courses are implemented through the online platforms Sakai and Canvas, which allow students to engage in real-time chats, discussion forums, videos and podcasts. Although classes will have assignments and exams with deadlines, students move at their own pace and can access work at any time of day.

There are a number of resources to support your online experience at APU, including technical support, online assistance from the writing center and access to the library, career search tools and software tutorials. For incoming freshman and transfer students, the school's admissions team looks at a student's academic records, as well as their involvement in church and the community. Transfer students can use the website Transferology to determine which coursework will qualify for APU programs. For help in paying tuition, the school grants 5 general scholarship opportunities for incoming freshman and 3 for transfer students. There are also a number of field-specific financial awards.

Admissions Requirements

Application Deadline: Fall- June 1; Spring- December 1
GPA: Freshman-3.0;Transfer-2.2
Standardized Test: SAT- 990 (Writing Excluded); ACT- 19




Contact Information

Phone: (626) 812-3016
Email: admissions@apu.edu
Social Media: Twitter; Facebook

5 California State University-Fullerton Fullerton, CA Tuition $5,472 # of Online Programs 6 Acceptance Rate 48% Graduation Rate 63% Financial Aid 38% Credit For Experience No Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Students working to complete a bachelor's degree in sociology or business administration have the option to do so in an online format at California State University, Fullerton. Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission, the school's online programs are taught by CSUF on-campus faculty. Residents outside of California will need to verify that their state acknowledges CSUF coursework. The Bachelor of Sociology degree involves 17 classes, which each last 6 weeks. This allows for the program to be completed in 3 years. Although students maintain flexibility in their day-to-day schedules, the program follows a cohort model, providing structure for when each specific class will be taken. This model encourages students to build a sense of community, and provides networking opportunities. In order for students to qualify for this program, they must have completed 60-69 units from a community college or regionally accredited learning institution with a minimum 2.5 GPA.

The Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration also follows a cohort model. However, students are able to design their class schedule and move through the program at their own pace. Students must have earned 63 units by completing an Associate Degree for Transfer in Business from a California community college or completing at least 30 approved general education units and 21 approved lower-division business units. The online advising center is available to assist students as they move through their educational experience and the career center provides online resources to help students connect with jobs in various fields such as market research and public relations.

Admissions Requirements

Application Deadline: October 1- November 30
GPA: No GPA Requirement (Eligibility Index determined by SAT/ACT test scores, GPA, geographic location)
Standardized Test: SAT or ACT




Contact Information

Phone: (657) 278-3100
Email: admissions@fullerton.edu
Social Media: Twitter; Facebook

6 University of California-Berkeley Berkeley, CA Tuition $11,220 # of Online Programs 4 Acceptance Rate 17% Graduation Rate 93% Financial Aid 53% Credit For Experience No Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

At the University of California, Berkeley, there are many options for online learning. The MOOCLab Initiative led to the development of dozens of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), which are free online classes on topics ranging from market analytics to emotional intelligence. For a small fee, students can receive a certificate upon completion. The school is also affiliated with EdX, which connects students to hundreds of verified and credible courses throughout the world. MicroMasters are fully online programs offered at a reduced rate compared to their on-campus equivalents. From supply chain management to artificial intelligence, students earn a certificate that can be transferred to the university for credit toward a master's degree.

UC Berkeley Extension also features a number of online professional certificate programs, including paralegal studies, advanced biosciences and health advocacy. Some of these courses are ongoing, allowing students to sign up for and complete their work anytime throughout the year. Other classes have a fixed schedule. Duration and requirements for completion differ for each program. Most courses use a combination of readings, podcasts, audio or video conferencing, as well as small group work, to keep students connected and engaged. For information regarding prerequisites, transfer credits or state reciprocity, visit UC Berkeley Extension. Here you can also get in contact with your field-specific representative, who can assist you in your online experience. All UC Berkeley programs are accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Admissions Requirements

Application Deadline: November 1-30
GPA: Residents - 3.0; Non-residents - 3.4; Transfer - 3.0
Standardized Test: SAT or ACT




Contact Information

Phone: (510) 642-3175
Email: https://admissions.berkeley.edu/contact-us
Social Media: Twitter; Facebook

7 National University La Jolla, CA Tuition $13,016 # of Online Programs 63 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 50% Financial Aid 4% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

The National University is a veteran-founded, nonprofit university striving to provide flexible and affordable options to military personnel and students throughout the globe. Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, NU offers over 90 fully online degree programs, in which students can earn credentials, certificates, associate, bachelor's and master's degrees. Fields of study cover education, health care, social sciences, engineering, criminal justice, arts, science and math. The 4-week courses begin every month, providing students with the convenience to enroll any time throughout the year. Classes involve lectures, readings and presentations. NU maintains an interactive format to help students feel connected to their instructors and peers. Financial aid and scholarship opportunities are available for all students. Military personnel and their families receive additional tuition discounts and veterans or active-duty students under the post 9/11 GI Bill pay little to nothing while enrolled.

Online students are linked with academic and financial aid advisors for assistance in their educational experience from start to finish. On top of this, students have access to a number of online resources, including the National University Systems Library, writing center, math center and Student Concierge Services. For military students, the Veteran Center can be reached through phone, email or live chat to assist in transitional support, networking and employment opportunities. The Career Center also features a number of online workshops, career exploration assessments and an online job portal. Some recent NU alumni are now employed as disaster relief nurses, nonprofit executive directors, game show producers and fire chiefs.

Admissions Requirements

Application Deadline: Always accepting applications
GPA: No GPA Requirement; Transfers - 2.0
Standardized Test: None




Contact Information

Phone: 1 (800) 628-8648
Email: advisor@nu.edu
Social Media: Twitter; Facebook

8 California State University-Northridge Northridge, CA Tuition $5,472 # of Online Programs 6 Acceptance Rate 48% Graduation Rate 54% Financial Aid 57% Credit For Experience No Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

California State University-Northridge has designed its online degree programs specifically for working adults - mid-career professionals who want to build upon their marketable skills, in particular. This is manifested in several ways throughout its programs. Courses are offered in a cohort format, so that each group of students works through the entire program together from beginning to end, with the goal of creating a strong learning community. The curriculum design is employs an intentional synthesis between the learning experience and the professional world to help build critical thinking skills and sophisticated professional abilities.

CSUN also emphasizes a high-touch, proactive and comprehensive approach to student support, with the use of guidance from a faculty academic lead and program support coordinator for each program. While most of the available online programs are master's degrees (e.g. engineering management, public administration and social work), there are 2 available bachelor's programs online - liberal studies and public sector management, which are upper-level degree completion programs (60 credits) that can be completed with lower-level undergraduate credits.

Admissions Requirements

Application Deadline: Nov 30 (Fall); June 30 (Winter); Aug 31 (Spring)
GPA: California State Universities utilize an eligibility index to calculate the minimum GPA in relation to ACT or SAT scores and factoring in California residency. GPA minimum requirements vary between 2.0 and 2.99 for California residents and 2.60 and 3.60 for non-residents all depending on the standardized test score.
Standardized Test: SAT or ACT




Contact Information

Phone: (818) 677-2967
Email: outreach.recruitment@csun.edu
Social Media: Twitter; Facebook

9 California State University-Dominguez Hills Carson, CA Tuition $5,472 # of Online Programs 9 Acceptance Rate 48% Graduation Rate 40% Financial Aid 70% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

For a school with more than 14,000 students comprising its student body, California State University-Dominguez Hills' small class sizes (which average 11:1) are impressive. These small classes (which include online courses) promise personal attention throughout the completion of degree programs. CSUDH offers comprehensive academic advisement for all students, and up to 70 semester units will be accepted for transfer (except for upper-division community college courses).

CSUDH touts itself as "one of the most recognized distance learning schools in the country," offering 9 degree and multiple certificate programs. Students can earn bachelor's degrees in applied studies, nursing and quality assurance; master's degrees in areas such as business administration, science nursing, and negotiation, conflict resolution and peacebuilding; or a certificate in areas such as community college teaching, sport and fitness psychology or technical writing, among other high-demand degrees.

Admissions Requirements

Application Deadline: Nov 30
GPA: California State Universities utilize an eligibility index to calculate the minimum GPA in relation to ACT or SAT scores and factoring in California residency. GPA minimum requirements vary between 2.0 and 2.99 for California residents and 2.60 and 3.60 for non-residents all depending on the standardized test score.
Standardized Test: SAT or ACT




Contact Information

Phone: (310) 243-3645
Email: admit@csudh.edu
Social Media: Twitter; Facebook

10 California Lutheran University Thousand Oaks, CA Tuition $39,310 # of Online Programs 8 Acceptance Rate 64% Graduation Rate 66% Financial Aid 96% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

California Lutheran University is committed to helping students pursue their passions and, above all, discover their purpose to ultimately help transform their communities and the world. The school prides itself on small classes (15:1); its alumni numbering about 30,000 alumni worldwide; and the 97% of students who gain employment or attend grad school upon completion of Cal Lutheran's undergrad degrees. Cal Lutheran's online offerings are primarily in the graduate school.

Most students interested in business management can pursue their degrees online in the MBA Program and the master of science in management program. Note that not all MBA degrees (including the Executive MBA) are offered completely online. Each individual program offers different formats (e.g. the Executive MBA is a hybrid program), so students should verify the format by individual program. Educational leadership students can also pursue their degrees in a hybrid format (60% on campus, 40% online) through the master of arts in educational leadership or a doctorate in higher education leadership and fully online in a doctorate in educational leadership program.

Admissions Requirements

Application Deadline: November 1 (Spring); Jan 1 (Fall)
GPA: Does not specify
Standardized Test: SAT or ACT




Contact Information

Phone: (805) 493-3135
Email: admissions@callutheran.edu
Social Media: Twitter; Facebook

11 The Master's University Santa Clarita, CA Tuition $31,550 # of Online Programs 7 Acceptance Rate 83% Graduation Rate 64% Financial Aid 91% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

The Master's University offers an online bachelor's degree completion program to students in 4 different areas of study. Students can earn an undergraduate degree in Biblical Counseling or Biblical Studies, Business Management or Christian Ministries. Courses run for 8 weeks and allow students to finish their degrees based on their own schedules. Online students will view lectures, participate in class discussions online, and complete reading and writing assignments in addition to taking quizzes. TMU accepts previous general education and elective credits from other colleges, which can allow students to complete their degree in a shorter amount of time. The college also offers a range of general education and elective classes in an online format, many of which are transferable to other colleges.

All degree programs at the college are based on Christian faith and emphasize spirituality, and TMU requires admitted students to include a statement of faith in Jesus Christ with their applications. High school juniors and seniors can participate in TMU's Dual Enrollment program, which offers online college coursework and college credit. Online students can submit FAFSA and apply for financial aid. TMU accepts federal and state aid, and provides resources for students about federal loans as well as private loans. Veterans can apply their financial aid towards an online bachelor's degree through TMU's programs, including the Post 9/11 and Montgomery GI Bills, Reserve Educational Assistance (REAP), Surviving & Dependents Assistance (DEA) and federal and state military aid. Online students can access the Student Career Center at TMU for employment programs, employer and community partnerships career advising and professional development.

Admissions Requirements

Application Deadline: Sept. 1
GPA: None
Standardized Test: High school diploma or GED




Contact Information

Phone: (661) 362-2363
Email: admissions@masters.edu

12 California Baptist University Riverside, CA Tuition $29,562 # of Online Programs 33 Acceptance Rate 64% Graduation Rate 57% Financial Aid 94% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

California Baptist University offers a wide range of online bachelor's degree programs to students who want to earn their undergraduate degree from a Christian college. Students can pursue an online bachelor's degree in one of 25 majors that include accounting, kinesiology, nursing, criminal justice, education and teaching, business administration, Christian ministries, marketing and liberal studies. CBU's online degree programs allow for full- or part-time study, and follow a self-directed format that allows students to attend classes and earn their degree based on their own availability and schedule. Most online bachelor's programs at this college can be completed in 16 months, though some require a minimum of 3 years of study to complete. Some programs may accept transfer credits for previous college classes or military experience.

Students at CBU have access to the Office of Student Success, which provides tutoring sessions and writing advising, as well as other online academic and financial resources through the college's online portal. CBU accepts federal, state and private financial aid to help online students pay for their degree program. The college also provides scholarships and grants that online students can apply for to help pay for their education; institutional scholarships are usually awarded based on merit, while CBU grants are awarded based on financial need. Veterans and children of veterans can apply their military benefits toward paying for their online bachelor's degree at CBU. Online students have access to CBU's Career Center, which offers resume and interview resources as well as employment opportunities and career advising.

Admissions Requirements

Application Deadline: Rolling
GPA: None
Standardized Test: ACT or SAT




Contact Information

Phone: (877) 228-8866
Email: admissions@calbaptist.edu

13 University of La Verne La Verne, CA Tuition $38,266 # of Online Programs 4 Acceptance Rate 48% Graduation Rate 61% Financial Aid 98% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Students interested in earning their undergraduate degree online can choose from 6 different bachelor's degree programs at the University of La Verne. The college offers an online Bachelor of Arts program in business administration or educational studies and an online Bachelor of Science program in criminal justice, information technology, public administration or organizational management. These degree programs are only available to distance learners in specific states. The programs can be completed entirely online and in an asynchronous format to suit a student's individual schedule. Students attending college at La Verne online while also working can choose to enroll in an Accelerated Undergraduate Program to complete their degree more quickly. Depending on the program's format, classes are delivered in 8-, 10- or 16-week terms.

There are multiple starts dates for La Verne's online programs and students can choose to enroll in the spring, summer, fall or winter terms. If a student needs assistance in a class, La Verne's Academic Success Center offers writing and tutoring services in an online format. La Verne's Office of Career Services and Professional Development can help students choose the academic path that will help them achieve their career goals. Active duty members of the military earning their degree at La Verne are eligible for discounted military tuition rates, and family members of active military personnel can receive this benefit as well. La Verne also allows online students to use federal and private financial aid, scholarships and grants to help pay for their degree. Full-time online students earning their undergraduate degree can apply for university scholarships as well.

Admissions Requirements

Application Deadline: Winter: early January; Spring: late March; Summer: mid June; Fall: late September
GPA: 3.0
Standardized Test: ACT or SAT




Contact Information

Phone: (909) 448-4026
Email: admission@laverne.edu

14 Stanford University Stanford, CA Tuition $47,331 # of Online Programs 14 Acceptance Rate 5% Graduation Rate 96% Financial Aid 48% Credit For Experience No Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes
15 California State University-East Bay Hayward, CA Tuition $5,472 # of Online Programs 12 Acceptance Rate 70% Graduation Rate 43% Financial Aid 52% Credit For Experience No Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

There are several online bachelor's degree programs available to students interested in completing their undergraduate degree at California State University-East Bay. The college offers 3 Bachelor of Arts degree completion programs through the Department of Human Development and Women's Studies; 2 Bachelor of Arts degrees through the Department of Ethnic Studies and 3 Bachelor of Science degrees through the Department of Hospitality, Recreation and Tourism. CSU East Bay's online undergraduate programs are not available in all states, and distance learning students outside of California should verify that their chosen degree completion program will be available where they live. Students enrolling in one of the bachelor's degree completion programs should have some lower-division course requirements completed before applying to CSU East Bay.

The college provides a range of support resources to students, including academic advising, academic writing assistance and online tutoring, technical support and career advising. CSU East Bay accepts federal and state financial aid for online students who need tuition assistance to complete their undergraduate degree. There is also a range of scholarships available to students through the institution and through private scholarship resources. The Veteran Students Services department at CSU East Bay provides academic, career and scholarship advising, offers the opportunity to network with a community of veteran students and helps veterans understand how to best use their military benefits to pursue their educational and career goals. Veterans may be able to apply previous credits towards their online undergraduate degree, including military experience and previous college coursework from public California colleges or other institutions.

Admissions Requirements

Application Deadline: Aug. 31; Nov. 30
GPA: 2.0
Standardized Test: ACT or SAT




Contact Information

Phone: (510) 885-3500
Email: admissions@csueastbay.edu

16 Simpson University Redding, CA Tuition $25,950 # of Online Programs 3 Acceptance Rate 52% Graduation Rate 55% Financial Aid 100% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Students can earn their bachelor's degree online at Simpson University, and may choose to join a cohort of students that they will continue learning with throughout the length of their degree process. There are 2 bachelor's degree programs available entirely online: a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, and a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Leadership. These programs can also be completed in a hybrid format, with students attending classes online and on-campus if they choose to. Online students do not need to be spiritual to attend SU, but the college's instruction is framed within a Christian worldview. There are multiple degree timelines and formats for students, depending on where they are in their studies and how many credits they already have to apply toward their undergraduate degree. Students who have already completed 60-72 course credits can take classes in a 5-week format at $150 per course, while students with more than 72 credits may choose to complete their degree in 12 or 16 months.

All students at SU have access to the Writing Center, which provides tutoring as well as writing and research assistance. The college is military-friendly, with community resources for veterans as well as resources to help veterans use their military benefits to help fund their education. Online students can apply financial aid to fund their degree, including federal, state, and university aid. There are also specific scholarships available to students who are completing their undergraduate degree at SU, including the INSPIRE Scholarship and the SU Partners Scholarship.

Admissions Requirements

Application Deadline: Aug. 1; Dec. 1
GPA: 3.0
Standardized Test: ACT or SAT




Contact Information

Phone: (530) 226-4606
Email: lrodgers@simpsonu.edu

17 California State University-Monterey Bay Seaside, CA Tuition $5,472 # of Online Programs 3 Acceptance Rate 35% Graduation Rate 48% Financial Aid 45% Credit For Experience No Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Founded in 1994, California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) is a relatively new, small university that emphasizes personalized attention and accessibility for underserved, low-income and first-generation college students. Its bachelor's degree offerings for online students include a fully online Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, which is a 32-credit degree-completion program concentrated on software engineering, to prepare students for jobs in mobile app development, software engineering or project management as well as an RN-to-BSN program, which is a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree for currently licensed California registered nurses. This degree can be completed in 12 to 15 months for full-time students or 18 months for part-time students. In this hybrid-format nursing program, courses meet once a week on campus, and the rest can be completed online. Incoming students interested in either of these programs must have at least 60 hours of transferable credit under their belts.

The CS online program requires prospective students to come in with GPAs of at least 2.0 and grades of "C" or better in at least 30 credits of transferable general education courses. Prospective BSN students must possess either RN licenses in California or be enrolled in associate degree programs in nursing at designated community colleges. Transcripts must show overall GPAs of at least 2.75, with GPAs in all nursing courses at 3.0 or higher. Enrolled students have access to CSUMB's Center for Advising, Career & Student Success, where they can receive career advisement, academic advisement, help with studying or time management, workshops on various student matters and online tutorials in topics such as choosing classes or schedule creation.

Admissions Requirements

Application Deadline: Fall: end of spring; Spring: end of summer
GPA: 2.0 for CS program; 2.75 for nursing
Standardized Test: None




Contact Information

Phone: (831) 582-3738
Email: admissions@csumb.edu

18 University of San Francisco San Francisco, CA Tuition $44,040 # of Online Programs 7 Acceptance Rate 71% Graduation Rate 72% Financial Aid 77% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes
19 Biola University La Mirada, CA Tuition $36,696 # of Online Programs 4 Acceptance Rate 65% Graduation Rate 70% Financial Aid 97% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Biola University offers 3 online bachelor's degrees: a BS in Applied Psychology, which can prepare students for careers in human resources, counseling, case management or corrections; a BS in Biblical Ministries for students interested in careers in ministry, Christian education or counseling; and a BS in Business Management for students interested in such fields as management, marketing, finance or accounting. All 3 programs are fully online and delivered in an accelerated 7-week-session, asynchronous format, allowing students to log on at convenient times. This accelerated format means that students may complete 1 of these 120-credit programs in 2 years.

Biblical teachings are the foundation for instruction and are woven into all courses. Upon enrolling, each student is assigned a personal success coach who works directly with the student to develop and achieve goals throughout the program. These coaches assist students with such issues as enrollment and course selection, financial aid, online learning technology, spiritual and life guidance, and career planning. Prospective students must be Christian and must make statements of faith in their required admissions essays. Additionally, along with their applications, students must submit official transcripts that show high school grade point averages of at least 3.0, or 2.5 for incoming transfer students. Up to 70 transfer credits from other institutions may be applied to students' degrees. Biola University also accepts Credit for Prior Learning, or CPL, and can offer up to 30 semester credits for military, StraighterLine or work experience.

Admissions Requirements

Application Deadline: Fall: Aug. 1; Spring: Dec. 1; Summer: April 15
GPA: 3.0 (2.5 for transfers)
Standardized Test: None




Contact Information

Phone: 800-OK-BIOLA (800-652-4652)
Email: online.admissions@biola.edu

20 Fresno Pacific University Fresno, CA Tuition $28,780 # of Online Programs 4 Acceptance Rate 68% Graduation Rate 64% Financial Aid 96% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Fresno Pacific University (FPU) is a Christian, nonprofit institution accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission. It offers online bachelor's degrees in business administration (2 programs), criminology and restorative justice, early childhood development and health care administration. These are degree-completion programs only, meaning that students must begin their programs having already earned at least 60 transferable units of credit. Students usually can complete their degrees in 18 months or less, and FPU guarantees graduation within 2 years for degree-completion students. All assignments can be completed entirely online and asynchronously so that students can access their courses and complete assignments at their own preferred times. Courses are each 6 weeks in length, and typically, students take 1 class at a time. Incoming students are placed into cohorts, or groups of students with whom they progress through each class in their programs; these groups may involve some face-to-face, synchronous interactions on a regular basis. Additionally, FPU's programs all include hands-on learning opportunities.

Students wishing to apply should submit, along with their online applications, transcripts showing a minimum of at least 2 years of successfully completed postsecondary work with GPAs of at least 2.4. If GPAs fall below this minimum, petitions, resumes, letters of recommendation and letters of explanation should also be submitted. Enrolled students gain access to career development assistance, such as resume help or interview preparation, and academic advisers who provide guidance throughout a student's chosen program. Additionally, as a Mennonite Brethren-sponsored institution, FPU offers students access to church resources and special events as well as ministry opportunities.

Admissions Requirements

Application Deadline: Rolling - students may apply any time before the start of a term
GPA: 2.4
Standardized Test: None for online




Contact Information

Phone: (888) 328-0378
Email: sfs@fresno.edu

21 San Diego Christian College Santee, CA Tuition $20,635 # of Online Programs 8 Acceptance Rate 53% Graduation Rate 44% Financial Aid 96% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

San Diego Christian College offers undergraduate degrees taught from a biblical, Christian perspective. Students can choose from 6 fully online bachelor's degrees: 4 Bachelor of Arts (BA) programs in subjects such as psychology and communication, and 2 Bachelor of Science (BS) programs in business management and leadership and justice. Students also have the ability to concentrate their studies in specific areas or to add minors to their programs. In all 6 programs, courses are 5 weeks in length each and require a total of 123 credits, allowing most students to complete their degrees in 4 years. Every bachelor's program is also available in on-campus or hybrid formats. To apply, a prospective student should submit, along with the application, a 2-paragraph essay detailing the student's reasons for wanting to attend SDCC, transcripts from high schools and any colleges attended and SAT or ACT scores. First-time students must be Christians and have minimum GPAs of 2.75 from high school; students transferring from other colleges should have GPAs of 2.5 or higher.

Among the resources available to enrolled students is career planning and development, which includes goal planning, vocational assessments, graduate school and job fairs, networking events and job boards. Also, designated library services are available for online students, including research help and the ability to have library books mailed directly to students. In line with SDCC's Christian focus, the school also offers students access to ministry teams and mission trips as well as pastoral staff and counselors. SDCC, which is accredited by the Senior Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, places an emphasis on service learning by incorporating service activities into certain courses' curricula and by hosting regularly scheduled service hours and service days in which the entire student body participates.

Admissions Requirements

Application Deadline: Rolling - students may apply any time before the start of a term
GPA: 2.75 (high school); 2.5 (college)
Standardized Test: SAT or ACT




Contact Information

Phone: (800) 676-2242
Email: info@sdcc.edu

22 Concordia University-Irvine Irvine, CA Tuition $32,130 # of Online Programs 9 Acceptance Rate 65% Graduation Rate 58% Financial Aid 98% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service No Counseling Services Yes

Concordia University Irvine is a not-for-profit university offering online bachelor's degrees in business administration and leadership, health care management, organizational psychology and nursing (through an RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing, or BSN, program). The business, health care management and organizational psychology programs are each 120 units and are offered fully online, with no requirements for coming to campus; although, students who enjoy face-to-face learning do have the option to complete certain sessions at the Irvine campus or on satellite campuses elsewhere in California. Fully online students, however, won't miss out on real-time communication with teachers and fellow students as synchronous activities, such as web conferences or live broadcast lectures, will occur throughout their courses.

Concordia's programs are offered in accelerated formats, so courses are 7 weeks long versus the standard 15- or 16-week semester. In addition, sessions run year-round, so students may be able to complete their business, health care management or organizational psychology bachelor's degrees in 18 or 19 months; students earning a BSN must finish 40 units and can usually complete the program in 12-24 months. Students who want to get a head start on their bachelor's degrees by completing general education requirements without fully committing to their majors may complete the online general education program. Here, students complete their core requirements, such as science, math, history or writing/communications, online in the accelerated format. Then, they can transfer those credits immediately to one of CUI's bachelor's programs or to other colleges or universities. Students at CUI receive access to academic advisers, career services, assistance with writing assignments and connections to CUI's Lutheran-affiliated community, which offers many student clubs and community service activities. Online students pay a slightly lower per-unit tuition than on-campus students. Those interest in applying should have GPAs from high school or associate degree programs of at least 2.4. Application packages also should include transcripts from prior institutions and statements of intent.

Admissions Requirements

Application Deadline: Revolving - year-round
GPA: 2.4
Standardized Test: None




Contact Information

Phone: (800) 229-1200 ext. 3010
Email: admissions@cui.edu

23 World Mission University Los Angeles, CA Tuition $5,520 # of Online Programs 6 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 44% Financial Aid - Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service No Counseling Services Yes

Students planning a ministry-related career can earn either a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies (BABS) or Christian Counseling (BACC) through World Mission University's Center for Online Education. Graduates are prepared for ministry-related work in a church or Christian organizational setting and can also pursue graduate work. To apply, students must have a high school diploma or GED and be of any Christian denomination. Along with the completed application, students must submit supporting documents such as testimony, a reference, official transcripts and 2 recent passport-style photos. Online students must also take the Moodle Tutorial and pass a test prior to taking any online courses, as Moodle is WMU's online course delivery system. Both programs are 4-year programs, including prerequisites, with 126 semester hours required for completion. Students can transfer in up to 84 credits with a 2.0 GPA, with a minimum of 42 credits completed at WMU.

Curriculum includes general education, major requirements and field work. The field work portion is pass/fail, and includes 8 semesters of chapel, which can be done through on-campus or online chapel, and 6 semesters of ministry participation. If transfer students have less than 6 semesters left to complete the degree, a ministry course equivalent can be taken each remaining semester. Students have the option to earn 3 credits towards the degree by completing a thesis and will be assigned a thesis advisor based on subject matter. Full-time students may be eligible for a tuition discount through several WMU scholarships, such as the Pastor's Scholarship, the Overseas Mission Scholarship and the Joo Eun Scholarship.

Admissions Requirements

Application Deadline: August 17, for Fall start
GPA: 2.0 for transfer credits
Standardized Test: None




Contact Information

Phone: (213) 388-1000
Email: admissions@wmu.edu

24 Humboldt State University Arcata, CA Tuition $5,472 # of Online Programs 4 Acceptance Rate 77% Graduation Rate 48% Financial Aid 50% Credit For Experience No Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Humboldt State University currently offers online bachelor's degrees in social work and leadership studies. Both can be completed within 2 years, and upper division courses can be completed 100% online. The Bachelor of Arts in Social Work (BASW) courses are only offered once a year, so students must apply by Jan. 31 for a fall start. A 2.0 GPA is required, along with a personal statement, and prerequisites must be completed prior to acceptance. BASW students are required to attend an August on-campus orientation, along with 3-day intensives each January. The program is geared toward students interested in working within their communities, with added emphasis on working with indigenous and rural communities. For this reason, field work placements can be done near the students' home base. The Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Leadership Studies is a degree completion program available through the College of Extended Education & Global Engagement.

As students are considered upper division transfer students, they must have at least 60 transferable undergraduate study units, for a total of 120 credits required for graduation. College transcripts are required, along with a GPA of at least 2.0. The Academic and Career Advisement Center can help students with career exploration and a degree plan prior to enrollment and will continue to work with students throughout their chosen program. Students may be eligible for in-house scholarships, plus BASW students may be able to receive financial support while completing field work, work on stipend projects and receive department support for conference participation.

Admissions Requirements

Application Deadline: BA: Spring, Nov 30; BASW: Fall, January 31
GPA: 2.0 for transfer credits
Standardized Test: None, except TOEFL for ESL students




Contact Information

Phone: (866) 850-9556
Email: hsuinfo@humboldt.edu

25 Pepperdine University Malibu, CA Tuition $49,770 # of Online Programs 3 Acceptance Rate 37% Graduation Rate 85% Financial Aid 84% Credit For Experience No Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Through the Graziadio School of Business at Pepperdine University, students interested in an online bachelor's degree can earn a Bachelor of Science in Management. Areas of study within the BSM degree include accounting, behavioral science, business law, decision sciences, finance, information systems, marketing, organizational theory and management, strategy and general business. Other degree options for BSM students include the MBA pathways program, which takes an additional year, or the joint bachelor's/MBA program, which takes 5 years. The online BSM degree is designed for working students with at least 2 years of professional work experience, and is in an accelerated, 2-year cohort model format. Curriculum is made up of 60 upper-division credits, with a total of 120 credits needed for graduation. This is a degree-completion program, with 3 pathways to admission.

Students can transfer in 60 credits of lower division courses with a "C" grade or better in specified courses, satisfy the IGETC and CSU general education requirements or complete an associate degree at an approved college with a GPA of 2.5 better, including at least 3 units of college algebra and 3 units of English composition. A $3,000 scholarship is available for students who complete their transfer admission guarantee (TAG) requirement prior to the start of courses. Graziadio Business School application requirements include transcripts, a resume, letters of recommendation, an essay and an interview. Pre-admission advisers, access to the Center for Career and Professional Development and spiritual faculty mentorship resources are available to BSM students.

Admissions Requirements

Application Deadline: Spring: October 5, October 26, November 28
GPA: 2.5 for transfer credits
Standardized Test: TOEFL, PTE, IELTS if degree is in a language besides English




Contact Information

Phone: (310) 568-5535
Email: PGBS.admission@pepperdine.edu

26 Hope International University Fullerton, CA Tuition $29,500 # of Online Programs 9 Acceptance Rate 32% Graduation Rate 55% Financial Aid 97% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service No Counseling Services Yes
27 Notre Dame de Namur University Belmont, CA Tuition $33,018 # of Online Programs 4 Acceptance Rate 97% Graduation Rate 53% Financial Aid 95% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes
28 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA Tuition $51,442 # of Online Programs 10 Acceptance Rate 17% Graduation Rate 92% Financial Aid 57% Credit For Experience No Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes
29 Mount Saint Mary's University Los Angeles, CA Tuition $36,682 # of Online Programs 4 Acceptance Rate 86% Graduation Rate 67% Financial Aid 98% Credit For Experience No Placement Service No Counseling Services Yes
30 University of San Diego San Diego, CA Tuition $45,540 # of Online Programs 5 Acceptance Rate 51% Graduation Rate 77% Financial Aid 79% Credit For Experience No Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes
31 Brandman University Irvine, CA Tuition $12,000 # of Online Programs 25 Acceptance Rate 81% Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service No Counseling Services Yes
32 Epic Bible College Sacramento, CA Tuition $8,964 # of Online Programs 4 Acceptance Rate 79% Graduation Rate 25% Financial Aid - Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service No Counseling Services Yes
33 SUM Bible College and Theological Seminary Oakland, CA Tuition $8,320 # of Online Programs 5 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 28% Financial Aid 99% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service No Counseling Services Yes
34 Horizon University San Diego, CA Tuition $9,000 # of Online Programs 3 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service No Counseling Services Yes
35 Golden Gate University San Francisco, CA Tuition $15,120 # of Online Programs 24 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience No Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes
36 Touro University Worldwide Los Alamitos, CA Tuition $14,400 # of Online Programs 12 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid 54% Credit For Experience No Placement Service No Counseling Services Yes
37 Pacific Oaks College Pasadena, CA Tuition $21,090 # of Online Programs 6 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service No Counseling Services Yes
38 The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA Tuition $12,450 # of Online Programs 6 Acceptance Rate 44% Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience No Placement Service No Counseling Services Yes
39 Southern California Seminary El Cajon, CA Tuition $13,860 # of Online Programs 5 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid 100% Credit For Experience No Placement Service No Counseling Services Yes
40 John F. Kennedy University Pleasant Hill, CA Tuition $23,052 # of Online Programs 4 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service No Counseling Services Yes
41 Palo Alto University Palo Alto, CA Tuition $17,112 # of Online Programs 4 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience No Placement Service No Counseling Services No
42 Loma Linda University Loma Linda, CA Tuition $30,240 # of Online Programs 13 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience No Placement Service No Counseling Services Yes
43 Shasta Bible College and Graduate School Redding, CA Tuition $11,200 # of Online Programs 11 Acceptance Rate 100% Graduation Rate 43% Financial Aid 80% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service No Counseling Services Yes

View a City From California

How Can I Find Which Online Colleges Offer the Degree I'm Looking for in California?

With so many schools to choose from, deciding which online California college or university to attend can feel overwhelming. Students can research prospective programs by typing their parameters into a search engine, such as "online accredited California colleges offering a psychology major." Learners can also find potential programs using the resource below.

How Much More Do College Grads in California Make?

Wages across the country tend to positively correlate with education. In other words, professionals with advanced degrees tend to make higher salaries than professionals with lower levels of educational attainment. The following table outlines average national salaries for professionals based on education level.

Less Than a High School Diploma High School Diploma Associate Degree
$28,756 $37,960 $44,824
Bachelor's Degree Master's Degree Doctoral Degree
$62,296 $74,568 $94,900

Source: BLS

Paying for Online College in California: Tuition and Financial Aid

California students enjoy lower-than-average public, in-state tuition rates. However, out-of-state students at California schools pay slightly higher tuition rates than the national average, as do private school students. The following tables compare average national and California tuition rates for public and private schools.

Average Undergraduate Tuition and Fees: Public Colleges and Universities
In-State Tuition Out-of-State Tuition National Average
$8,020 $29,173

$9,037 (In-State)

$25,657 (Out-of-State)
Average Undergraduate Tuition and Fees: Private Colleges and Universities
In-State Tuition Out-of-State Tuition National Average
$33,483 N/A $30,731

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Cost Considerations for Online Students in California

When weighing the costs of their education, students should consider additional expenses beyond tuition. We cover five common expenses for online students below.

Technology Fees: Many online programs charge technology fees to cover the cost of technology improvements and 24/7 tech support. Some schools charge a flat fee, while others follow a tiered system.
Exam Proctoring: Some online programs require students to take exams at a local authorized test center, which typically comes with a proctoring fee.
Clinical Requirement: If an online program includes an internship or clinical requirement, students may need to pay related expenses, such as transportation and evaluation fees.
Laboratory: Online courses with a lab component typically require students to come to campus for lab work, which may come with commuting and parking fees.
Graduation Fees: Online students typically must pay graduation fees even if they do not join the on-campus ceremony.

Qualifying for In-State Tuition in California

As a rule, California students under the age of 19 derive their residency status from their parents or legal guardians. However, residency requirements vary by school. For example, California State University requires students older than 19 to be physically present in the state for at least one year prior to their expected enrollment date to receive in-state tuition. Meanwhile, some programs allow all online students to pay in-state tuition rates regardless of where they live. Students should research the requirements at each prospective school.

Paying for College in California: Scholarships and Financial Aid

Attending a postsecondary institution requires a significant financial investment. However, students can take advantage of many financial aid opportunities to help offset the cost of a degree, such as scholarships, grants, and loans. Students should first look for scholarships and grants since, unlike loans, they do not require repayment. We cover several scholarship and grant opportunities for California students below.

Scholarships for California College Students

Clair A. Hill Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Junior undergraduate students who are California residents and pursuing a degree in a water resources-related field, such as environmental studies or agricultural and urban water supply, qualify for this opportunity.

Amount: $5,000

Apply For Scholarship

Horatio Alger California Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This scholarship program accepts applications from California high school seniors who have overcome significant adversity. Applicants must also demonstrate critical financial need.

Amount: $7,000

Apply For Scholarship

Krishnan-Shah Family Scholarship

Who Can Apply: First-generation graduating high school seniors residing in the greater Silicon Valley area can apply for this funding opportunity. Applicants need to be able to demonstrate financial need and a maximum cumulative GPA of 3.75.

Amount: $40,000 (paid over four years)

Apply For Scholarship

Professional Businesswomen of California Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Female California residents who plan to attend college in the state can apply for this scholarship program. Applicants must submit a personal essay, and recipients must attend the annual PBWC conference.

Amount: Up to $10,000

Apply For Scholarship

Ralph Hale and Martha L. Ruppert Educational Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Students who overcame academic difficulties early in their secondary education but showed great improvement during their final two years of high school can apply for this funding opportunity. Applicants must demonstrate financial need.

Amount: $10,000

Apply For Scholarship

Grants for California College Students

Cal Grants

Who Can Apply: California residents pursuing a vocational, training, or undergraduate degree at participating two- or four-year institutions qualify for this opportunity. The program matches every qualified applicant with the appropriate Cal Grant program.

Amount: Varies

Apply For Grant

California Chafee Grant for Foster Youth

Who Can Apply: Foster youth who were wards of the court between the ages of 16 and 18 can apply for this grant program. Recipients can use funds to cover educational costs and personal expenses, such as childcare and rent, while enrolled in school.

Amount: $5,000

Apply For Grant

California National Guard Education Assistance Award Program

Who Can Apply: Active members of the California National Guard, Naval Militia, or State Military Reserve with at least two years of service can apply for this grant program. Recipients must maintain active status throughout the term of the grant.

Amount: Varies

Apply For Grant

Golden State Teacher Grant Program

Who Can Apply: Students who plan to teach in a high-need field after earning their teaching credentials qualify for this grant. High-need fields include bilingual education, STEM subjects, special education, and multiple subject instruction.

Amount: $20,000

Apply For Grant

Law Enforcement Personnel Dependents Grant Program

Who Can Apply: Dependents and spouses of state peace officers (e.g. police officers, highway patrol, and Department of Corrections employees) who were killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty qualify for this grant.

Amount: Varies

Apply For Grant

The Importance of Accreditation for Online Colleges and Universities in California

When researching schools, students should look for accreditation status. Accreditation expands employment, education, and financial aid opportunities and indicates that a school meets high academic standards.

Regional and National Accreditation

Schools may receive regional or national accreditation. Vocational, for-profit schools typically receive national accreditation, while nonprofit, degree-granting institutions receive regional accreditation. Regional accreditation is generally considered the more prestigious of the two. The Commission for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and the U.S. Department of Education oversee accrediting bodies to ensure that they fairly apply criteria. The Western Association of Schools and Colleges accredits California schools.

Subject-Specific Accreditation

Programs within a school may also receive accreditation, such as nursing, engineering, and social work programs. Programmatic accreditation indicates that a program meets high academic standards and adequately prepares students for the workforce.

How to Know if Your School or Program is Accredited

Students can typically find a school or program's accreditation status through the school's website. They can also verify accreditation status through the CHEA directory. Additionally, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges maintains a list of regionally accredited California schools.

Online College and Adult Education in California

Nontraditional learners in California enjoy access to resources like free and affordable classes for adults, GED programs, ESL courses, and citizenship classes. The following sections cover helpful resources and programs for California students.

By the Numbers: Adult Education in California

More than 1.2 million learners enroll in adult education programs offered by the California Department of Education each year.

Adult education programs serve diverse learners, including immigrants, adults with disabilities, homeless individuals, and single parents.

Immigrants comprise only 36% of people 25 years and older, yet 71% of immigrants are in need of adult education services.

Sources: CalEdFacts, California Adult Education

Adult Education Programs for California Students

  • Programs for Adults with Disabilities: These programs are designed to assist adults with some type of disability (mental, physical, cognitive) who require a modified program of learning or need special assistance.
  • Career Technical Education: These are training programs that provide graduates with skills and knowledge that are highly in demand by area businesses and can lead to industry certification, job enhancement, or career diversification.
  • Adult Basic & Secondary Education: These programs cover fundamental elementary and secondary academic skills and knowledge areas and can lead to a high school diploma or a GED.

Online College Resources for California Students

California students can access a variety of resources to support their studies. The following list offers resources on topics like financial aid opportunities, articulation agreements, and program availability.

  • California College Pathways: This website contains information for college-bound students coming from California's foster care system, including programs to help students succeed in community colleges and four-year institutions.
  • California Colleges: Through this site, students can find information on topics such as the state of higher education in California, how to choose the right college and major, and typical college application requirements.
  • California Student Aid Commission: CCAC provides information about financial aid opportunities for incoming college students, including private and school-based scholarship programs, federal grant options, work-study programs, and student loans.
  • University of California Early Academic Outreach Program: Maintained by the University of California, this website offers information about general college options in California, the college application process, and college financial planning.
  • Assist: This website offers information on articulation agreements, transfer requirements, transferable courses, and other topics related to transferring from a community college to a four-year institution.

Search All Accredited Colleges and Universities in California

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