California Online Colleges & Universities – Top Online Schools for 2014

AC Online: Ranking the Most Affordable Online Colleges in California

The most populous state in the nation, California furthers its reach with an abundance of online learning opportunities. These four-year online colleges are accredited and offer both degree and certification programs for distance-learning students. California prides itself in esteemed higher education, and this pride can be seen in the choices offered through their online curriculum. Ordered from lowest tuition to highest, you’ll find that online schools in California offer prospective students a great combination of affordability and flexibility.

Click here to see our methodology.

California State University-Monterey Bay

100 Campus Center, Seaside, California 93955-8001

California State University at Monterey Bay specializes in graduate-level education through its online MBA program offering. This Executive Track program was designed for experienced business executives interested in learning more about corporate leadership, entrepreneurship, global business and sharp-edged technology. The program is accredited through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.


California State University-Dominguez Hills

1000 E Victoria St, Carson, California 90747-0005

California State University at Dominguez Hills provides online college learning options through its "DominguezOnline" program. The school is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Students will find online bachelor's and master's degrees and several undergraduate certificates available.


California State University-Fullerton

800 N State College Blvd, Fullerton, California 92831-3599

California State University-Fullerton offers students two online college programs, one leading to a BA in Sociology and the other to a BA in Business Administration. The advantages of an online education include 24/7 access to course materials, participation from anywhere at any time when most convenient to your schedule, and cost savings and environmental impact in regards to commuting.


California State University-Long Beach

1250 Bellflower Blvd, Long Beach, California 90840-0115

California State University at Long Beach offers a number of e-learning opportunities to online college students wanting to advance their education. These include individual and professional certificate distance-learning programs. The school also offers a Master's of Science degree in Emergency Service Administration fully online. All advising, curriculum and student research presentations for this degree are expressly designed for the distance-learning format.


California State University-Fresno

5241 N Maple Ave, Fresno, California 93740

California State University at Fresno offers several master's degree options and teacher education courses through its distance-learning program. Online college graduate degrees include an MBA, Master's of Arts in Reading and Master's of Science in Water Resource Management. The e-learning teacher education courses run the gamut, but include several that focus on early childhood education.


California State University-Channel Islands

One University Dr, Camarillo, California 93012

California State University at the Channel Islands will offer a master's degree in computer science online through its extended university and international programs department. The online college program, intended to become available in 2015, will use up-to-date technology for various industrial and applied computer science fields, and be offered in a fully online, accelerated format.


California State University-East Bay

25800 Carlos Bee Blvd, Hayward, California 94542

California State University at East Bay provides undergraduate and graduate level learning available online. At the certificate level, online college programs are offered for academic credit or continuing education and students can also find degree programs in business, education and health care. More than a half-dozen options are available through distance learning for teachers seeking continuing education courses


California State University-San Bernardino

5500 University Pky, San Bernardino, California 92407-2397

California State University at San Bernardino offers both blended and online college degree programs to students interested in distance learning. Bachelor's and master's degrees are among its programs offered 100 percent online. Students can find e-learning in subjects such as education, liberal studies and nursing, and can also take individual classes online.

Approach to Online Learning

How would you describe your institution's approach to online learning?

We take a measured, intentional approach to online learning, utilizing best practices in instructional design to develop and deliver highly interactive online courses and programs. We provide these courses and programs to enable those who could not physically attend classes to gain the same quality education as our on-site students. Our mission to serve our region and beyond drives our commitment to online learning.

What makes your online programs so valuable to students?

The ability to gain a high quality Cal State education despite challenges of location, job commitments and family commitments makes our programs highly valuable for students. Beyond our regional accreditation, many of our programs are members of an elite group of nationally accredited programs. All of our courses are taught by experienced and world-class faculty.

Where do you see your online programs in the next five years? Beyond?

We expect to continue to expand our offerings beyond our current graduate programs in Education, Criminal Justice, Public Administration, Business, Nursing and Social Work. We anticipate adding undergraduate degree completion programs in social work, liberal studies and other disciplines in the social sciences. We anticipate significant growth in student enrollments in both graduate and undergraduate programs.


California State University-Northridge

18111 Nordhoff St, Northridge, California 91330

Each online college program has a dedicated program manager/administrator who works one-on-one with participants, from application through graduation, providing assistance – and encouragement – along the way.


California State University-Sacramento

6000 J St, Sacramento, California 95819-2694

California State University-Sacramento offers online college learning through its College of Continuing Education. Some classes are conducted in real-time. Others are accessed at your convenience or require a combination of synchronous and asynchronous classes. Students use the latest distance learning and meeting technology, WebCT 6 and Macromedia Breeze 5, to benefit from online courses and communicate with instructors and fellow students.


San Diego State University

5500 Campanile Dr, San Diego, California 92182

San Diego State University offers a number of online college options to students including certificate programs and master's degrees. Classes are either taught by SDSU faculty or industry experts and include online certificates in construction, green industry, project management, and web and mobile applications development. Master's degrees available online may include hospitality and tourism management, public administration and regulatory affairs.


California State University-Stanislaus

One University Circle, Turlock, California 95382-0299

California State University at Stanislaus provides online learning through an MBA program available to students. Its "OMBA" allows online college students to complete work at any time from any location. The program is 24 months long and requires completion of 33 units. This business school program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

California State University-Bakersfield - Online

California State University-Bakersfield

9001 Stockdale Hwy, Bakersfield, California 93311-1099

California State University at Bakersfield provides distance-learning options through its "CSUB Extended University." Students use the Blackboard course management system for instruction and can find fully online college degrees in education, environmental resource management, and administration. Instructional television is also part of the school's distance learning programming.


San Jose State University

1 Washington Sq, San Jose, California 95192-0001

San Jose State University offers online college learning opportunities through its "Spartans Online" program. The program is still growing, but offers master's degrees online in business analytics, library and information science, occupational therapy, and public health. Students can also find any number of individual courses online through the school's distance-learning program.


California State University-Chico

First and Normal Sts, Chico, California 95929-0150

California State University at Chico provides distance-learning opportunities at the bachelor's and master's degree levels. Learning is Web-based, but some of the online college courses do offer live video streaming. Additionally, the school provides a wide range of courses that can be taken online as part of any campus-based or blended learning program.


Humboldt State University

1 Harpst Street, Arcata, California 95521-8299

Humboldt State University offers online college courses and programs through its office of extended studies. Moodle is used for course management for many of its distance-learning options, and students can find professional development coursework, individual undergraduate level classes and several degrees available online. The university is accredited by the Western Association of School and Colleges.


King's University

14800 Sherman Way, Van Nuys, California 91405-2233

King University offers an extensive number of degree options to students interested in online college learning. Distance-learning programs are available at the associate, bachelor's and master's degree levels and include an RN-to-BSN nursing program, bachelor's degrees in many different fields, and an MBA program online. The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Bethesda University of California

730 N. Euclid St, Anaheim, California 92801

Bethesda University of California, a Christian-based institution, provides professional skills that can be used in building world peace and global churches. It offers a variety of individual classes to online college students including Christian ethics, church history, and other spiritual disciplines. The university is accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools.


Brandman University

16355 Laguna Canyon Road, Irvine, California 92618

Brandman University offers an extensive number of degree options to students seeking online college, distance-learning education. Undergraduate certificates, associate, bachelor's and master's degrees are among offered options, and subject areas include the arts and sciences, business and education. The school is accredited by Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Approach to Online Learning

How would you describe your institution's approach to online learning?

Brandman's approach to online education is to provide high quality, flexible, accessible, and cost efficient degree programs to adult learners. In a spectrum where for-profit universities dominate, we provide a non-profit institution that uses its revenue to better the student experience and not the stockholders.

What makes your online programs so valuable to students?

We provide high demand degrees such as a BSN or DNP in nursing and teacher credentialing. We also provide personal coaching, an advisor for each student, and student services provided by one-stop experts so that students won't need to navigate the phone system to receive the attention they need.

Where do you see your online programs in the next five years? Beyond?

We plan to be an innovative provider of competency based education programs by the start of 2015. Students can enroll in a program that measures "what you have learned" rather than credit hours or classroom seat time. This allows a student a self-paced program that could turn their work experience into a degree once they pass a set of competencies. The cost for a competency-based degree would be significantly less and so would the time it takes to complete the degree.


National University

11255 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, California 92037-1011

National University offers a wide variety of e-learning opportunities to students interested in distance education. Online associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees and certificates make use of a multimedia rich and interactive learning environment. In all, more than 70 degree programs at National University are available entirely online, and allow for online college learning 24 hours a day, every day of the week.


Life Pacific College

1100 W. Covina Blvd., San Dimas, California 91773-3298

For students seeking a Bachelor of Arts in Ministry and Leadership, Life Pacific College provides an online program you can attend from anywhere in the world. Students who have online college credits may complete their degrees in as little as eighteen months and without the need to relocate or interrupt their work, family or present ministry.


University of California-Riverside

900 University Ave, Riverside, California 92521

University of California-Riverside offers a Master in Science online for professional engineers to update or further develop their current knowledge base. The online college program is offered through the Bourns College of Engineering. For their convenience students who are working professionals can access assignments, lectures, notes and announcements online without sacrificing the quality of an on-campus education.


Southern California Seminary

2075 E. Madison Avenue, El Cajon, California 92019-1108

Southern California Seminary offers a number of online college biblical studies degrees through its "SCS Online" program for students interested in distance learning. The school is accredited through the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools. Its distance-learning options include associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees in biblical studies and a master's degree in Christian Ministry.


Patten University

2433 Coolidge Ave, Oakland, California 94601

Patten University provides online college degree choices to students at the associate, bachelor's, and master's degree levels. The school is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, and offers distance-learning degrees in subjects such as general studies, leadership, and management. An MBA program with concentrations in finance, management or healthcare is an additional distance-learning option.


John F Kennedy University

100 Ellinwood Way, Pleasant Hill, California 94523-4817

John F. Kennedy University is a non-profit, fully-accredited private university offering programs leading to bachelor’s, masters and doctorate degrees online. Choose from online college degree programs in liberal arts, business, health sciences, psychology, law and law enforcement, and more. Using a collaborative learning approach, the University seeks to prepare students to make a positive contribution to their community and profession.


Antioch University-Santa Barbara

801 Garden St, Suite 101, Santa Barbara, California 93101-1581

Earn a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies or Management through Antioch University-Santa Barbara’s online degree program. Beginning with online college courses that allow students to explore their personal and professional experiences, Antioch’s bachelor degree programs promote a global perspective and stress the core values of social justice, inclusiveness and experiential learning. Antioch is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


Pacific Oaks College

5 Westmoreland Pl, Pasadena, California 91103-3565

Pacific Oaks College offers a variety of bachelor's and master's degrees to students interested in online college learning. These are focused in early childhood education, curriculum and design, and human development. Several teacher education credentialing programs are additionally available online. The school uses Pearson eCollege for its distance-learning coursework, which allows for self-paced and flexible learning.


Palo Alto University

1791 Arastradero Rd, Palo Alto, California 94304-1337

Palo Alto University, focused on education and research in psychology and clinical training, provides students with online college learning options at the bachelors and masters levels. Students will find master's degrees in the fields of counseling and psychology that are offered online, but that also require a one-week residential stay at the university. The school is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Approach to Online Learning

How would you describe your institution's approach to online learning?

We actually have a hybrid undergraduate program, which combines two online courses per quarter with one course taught one evening per week on campus. We believe in the flexibility and convenience of online learning but also feel it's critical for students to connect with their professors and one another. This creates and solidifies their learning community. Palo Alto University's two-year-long, bachelor degree completion programs are taught using a cohort model, and so students take some 22 course together over a two year period, further enhancing their sense of community and their support for one another. 85% of our students graduate with their bachelor degree in two years. Our masters programs are offered in a hybrid format or all online.

What makes your online programs so valuable to students?

We teach our undergraduate courses online, but all of our students are local. They can meet with their professors or TAs, visit the PAU library, work with tutors, and participate in any campus activities they wish. In our graduate masters programs we have students from across the United States and often all seven continents.

Where do you see your online programs in the next five years? Beyond?

Palo Alto University's bachelor degree completion programs are taught in partnerships with local community colleges. We recruit students who have already completed their freshman and sophomore years at the community college, and they complete their junior and senior coursework with PAU. Currently, PAU has partnerships with De Anza College, Foothill College and the College of San Mateo. Over the next 5 years, PAU plans to develop other partnerships with bay area community colleges. In our masters programs we offer the counseling programs worldwide using the global advancement of counseling excellence initiative: education globally online, train locally on the ground. In PAU's science masters programs, courses are didactic in nature and are offered online to a global student body, however, students have the option to come to Palo Alto University for summer intensives or summits. A big piece of Palo Alto University’s future includes a masters program in partnership with Stanford University at a reasonable cost.

Pacific States University - Online

Pacific States University

3450 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 500, Los Angeles, California 90010

Pacific States University offers an accelerated online college degree program for students from around the world to earn a degree without attending classes on campus. Accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools and approved by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education to award certificates, bachelor’s and master’s degrees.


Simpson University

2211 College View Drive, Redding, California 96003-8606

The ASPIRE program at Simpson University provides continuing education degrees in Organizational Leadership, Psychology and Healthcare Management. Taught in five-week sessions, each course runs seven days a week. Online college classes are conducted through Moodle, the University’s online class management system, and students advance through the course together with the same classmates from start to finish.


Thomas Aquinas College

10000 N Ojai Rd, Santa Paula, California 93060

St. Thomas Aquinas College offers a fully online MBA program to students who want to advance their education through distance learning. Students access their online college coursework through a learning management system, participating in online lectures, discussion groups and group projects. The school's business programs are accredited through the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education.


California Institute of Integral Studies

1453 Mission Street, San Francisco, California 94103

Students at the California Institute of Integral Studies can pursue distance-learning opportunities through individual online college courses and graduate degree options. Upper-level degrees available through online programs include the Master of Arts in Transformative Leadership and a PhD in Transformative Studies. Students enrolling in an enroll program will be contacted by an online coordinator following registration.


San Diego Christian College

2100 Greenfield Dr, El Cajon, California 92019-1157

Students interested in business management, Christian ministries, and human development will find online college degree options available through San Diego Christian College. Its distance-learning programs provide syllabus and instructional materials online and require students to post comments at least three times each week. The school is accredited by the Senior Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.


Hope International University

2500 E Nutwood Ave, Fullerton, California 92831-3199

Hope International University, a Christian-based school, provides undergraduate and graduate degrees available completely online. These include associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees, and graduate-level certificates in areas such as the arts, education, ministry and biblical studies, and psychology. The school's online college includes video lectures, real-time chats, discussion forums and assignment drop boxes.


Fresno Pacific University

1717 S Chestnut Ave, Fresno, California 93702-4709

Fresno Pacific University offers online college to students interested in continuing education and advanced degree obtainment. Credentials and professional continuing education courses are geared toward K-12 education while master's degrees are available entirely online in subjects such as curriculum and teaching, educational technology, kinesiology, and library and information technology.


Antioch University-Los Angeles

400 Corporate Pointe, Culver City, California 90230-7615

Earn your bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies or Management online through Antioch University-Los Angeles. Antioch University has received continuous accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission since 1927. With the goal of teaching compassion through exposure to a global perspective, the online college coursework stresses Antioch’s core values and takes place in an innovative environment committed to each student’s needs.


California Baptist University

8432 Magnolia Ave, Riverside, California 92504-3297

California Baptist University provides extensive degree opportunities to students interested in distance learning with online college. The school utilizes Blackboard 9.1, Telepresence, and Webex for its e-learning environment. Bachelor's and master's degrees are available in subjects such as communications, education, political science, psychology, and sociology, and others fields. Certificate programs and professional development courses are also offered online.


La Sierra University

4500 Riverwalk Parkway, Riverside, California 92515-8247

La Sierra University, a Christian-based institution, provides several graduate degree options available online, including a master's of arts in teaching and a master's of arts in curriculum and instruction. The online college programs require no campus-based components. The university's school of education has provided graduate level distance-learning options for more than 10 years.


Concordia University-Irvine

1530 Concordia West, Irvine, California 92612-3203

Concordia University at Irvine provides students with face-to-face, hybrid and online college learning options to extend their education. These eight-week courses include a hybrid Master's in Educational Technology and an online Master's in Curriculum and Instruction, among several face-to-face options. The online master's degree provides one-year and two-year completion options, and the school has accreditation through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.


Loma Linda University

11139 Anderson Street, Loma Linda, California 92350

Loma Linda University offers distance-learning options at the graduate level through its School of Public Health. These online learning formats are available at the master's and doctoral levels in areas such as lifestyle interventions, health education and population medicine. The online college uses asynchronous learning and the Blackboard course management program for its distance learning.


Notre Dame de Namur University

1500 Ralston Ave, Belmont, California 94002-1908

Notre Dame de Namur University, a Catholic institution, provides graduate-level online education to those preferring distance learning. Its Master's of Science in Computer Information and Science and Master's of Public Administration, which offers three concentrations, promote collaboration and teamwork. The university and its online college are accredited through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.


Biola University

13800 Biola Ave, La Mirada, California 90639-0001

Biola University, offering a biblically-centered education, provides both individual courses and full online college degree programs to students interested in distance learning. Online certificates are also available. Many of the individual course offerings are undergraduate based, and degrees are available at the master's level in areas such as the arts and sciences, education and intercultural studies.


Azusa Pacific University

901 E Alosta, Azusa, California 91702-7000

Azusa Pacific University provides students with online learning options available through a Christian university. The university is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and provides associate, bachelor's and master's degrees through its distance learning programming. Several teacher education certificates and an MBA are also available completely through the online college.


California Lutheran University

60 W Olsen Rd, Thousand Oaks, California 91360-2787

California Lutheran University provides online business and education degrees to students who are interested in its distance-learning programs. Online learning options include a bachelor's in organizational leadership, an MBA that provides concentrations in areas such as entrepreneurship, finance, marketing and other focuses, and doctoral programs in K-12 and higher education leadership.


University of San Francisco

2130 Fulton St, San Francisco, California 94117-1080

The University of San Francisco offers several master's degree available to students through distance learning. These are in subject areas such as health informatics, nursing, public administration, and teaching. The university and its online college are accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and offers online degree enrollment during its spring, summer and fall semesters.


University of San Diego

5998 Alcala Park, San Diego, California 92110-2492

The University of San Diego provides distance-learning opportunities through its college of extended studies. This includes personal and professional development enrichment courses, certificate programs in fields such as contract management and marketing and media, and several master's degree programs. Its classes are either taught by SDSU faculty member or experts in the field.


Pepperdine University

24255 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, California 90263

Pepperdine University offers standards-based learning through its online graduate degree programs. Its Graduate School of Education and Psychology provides a master's degree and several doctoral degrees to students through a distance-learning format. Although based online, the programs do require extensive field and project-based work, and are designed for working professionals.


University of Southern California

University Park, Los Angeles, California 90089

Distance-learning options available through the University of Southern California's "USC Now" program provide online master's degrees in a variety of subjects and help students prepare for professional advancement. Through the online platform at USC, students can interact with students and professors in real-time learning and potentially pursue online degrees in business, communication, education, and other subjects.


Bethel Seminary San Diego

6116 Arosa St, San Diego, California 92115

The hybrid online program of Bethel Seminary San Diego, InMinistry, allows students to pursue seminary graduate degrees while remaining rooted in their home ministries. Students begin and continue through graduation with their cohort, meeting twice a year on campus for a one-week intensive. A Master of Divinity may be completed in five years or a Master of Arts in three.


Fielding Graduate University

2020 De la Vina Street, Santa Barbara, California 93105-3814

For over 30 years Fielding Graduate University has offered students with family, career and community responsibilities the opportunity to continue their studies in psychology through distance learning. Today’s online degree programs include the MA and PhD in Media Psychology, PhD in Clinical Psychology, post-doctoral certifications, as well as American Psychological Association-approved continuing education and training programs.


Naval Postgraduate School

1 University Circle, Monterey, California 93943

The Naval Postgraduate School provides students with distance-learning opportunities at the certificate, master's and doctoral degree levels. The school uses a mix of delivery methods to provide online learning beyond the scope of the traditional classroom. Programs are heavily based in business, engineering and technology, and include many master's degrees that can be completed in two to three years.


Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary

2770 Marin Ave, Berkeley, California 94708-1597

The Flexible Life M.Div online program of the Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary gives Divinity students the opportunity to complete the first year of coursework online. First-year distance studies allow students additional time to make arrangements work and family responsibilities. Second- and third-year seminary studies require residency. The fourth year consists of an internship and opportunities for intentional reflection.


Saybrook University

747 Front Street, San Francisco, California 94111-1920

Saybrook University offers a hybrid online degree program that combines an online format with residency study giving students the opportunity to enjoy in-person instruction. All degree-seeking students are required to begin their program with the residential experience to develop relationships with student and faculty. However, programs are structured so working students do not have to relocate.


Southwestern Law School

3050 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90010-1106

Pursue a Master of Laws in Entertainment and Media Law through Southwestern Law School. This accredited degree program draws upon resources from the Biederman Institute and is the first of its kind available throughout the world in a fully active online format. SLS offers the program through its Global Education Division in conjunction with Kaplan Legal Education.


The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Westwood

1145 Gayley Ave Ste 322, Los Angeles, California 90024

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Westwood offers a variety of graduate level degrees that can be found online. These include a Master's of Arts in Forensic Psychology and a Master's of Arts in Industrial and Organizational Psychology as well as many other distance-learning options. The school is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.


The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Irvine

4199 Campus Dr, Irvine, California 92612

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Irvine offers a variety of distance-learning options at the graduate level degree. The school is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Students can find online college degrees available in forensic psychology, industrial and organizational psychology and public health.


The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Los Angeles

617 W 7th St, Los Angeles, California 90017

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Los Angeles offers online degree options to students interested in child and adolescent psychology, international psychology, organizational leadership, and sports and exercise psychology. Support is provided to online college students from enrollment to graduation. The school is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.


Thomas Jefferson School of Law

1155 Island Avenue, San Diego, California 92101

The esteemed Doctor of the Science of Law (J.S.D) degree offers legal academics the opportunity for independent study and writing, considered preparatory for a serious career in academia. The Thomas Jefferson School of Law offers online college study for the J.S.D in an online format suitable for students who want to pursue their degree in a global community of fellow scholars.


University of California-San Francisco

500 Parnassus Ave, San Francisco, California 94143-0244

The University of California at San Francisco, a Jesuit-learning based institution, offers online graduate level degrees to students interested in the fields of education, health and public administration. New online college students can start these distance-learning programs in the spring, summer or fall semesters, and should discover added flexibility over the school's ground-based counterparts.

Finding an Affordable Higher Education in California

California has quite a few things going for it. The weather is beautiful, the beaches are close, and so are the mountains, deserts, and forest. You can find bustling cities and small, rural communities. It is a beautiful and densely populated state, and many of the students graduating from high school here, and those who are already out of school, wish to seek a higher education. About 80.6 percent of the students here graduate from high school, which is a bit on the low side. Of those graduates, 29.9 percent are going to go on to receive a bachelor’s degree or higher, while about 10.7 percent will pursue and achieve an advanced degree. Having affordable online colleges in California can help provide more people with the quality education they need.

Pursuing a Degree in California

Because the state is quite vast and has a large number of residents, you will find that there are a many options for higher education in the state. California boasts 213 two-year or more schools and 241 four-year or more schools. Students who are going to school in the state have private institutions to choose from as well, but the costs can be high. One of the options that many people are choosing is attending an affordable online college in California. Today’s advanced technology can make it easier than ever to get a high quality education, even if you can’t attend a traditional school. Online classes cover a wide range of topics. They can help students earn degrees ranging from associate’s to doctorates.

Benefits of Choosing Online Classes in California

Today’s busy lives can make it difficult to attend a traditional school. When people are working part-time or full-time jobs, sticking to the schedule of a regular school can be difficult. Affordable online colleges in California can make those worries vanish. When you attend an online school, you work on your own schedule, which means that have control over when you do your lessons. One of the other nice things about these schools is that you will have a number of different types of courses that you can take in many different fields. It will be possible to pursue a degree in engineering, criminal justice, psychology, information technology and more.

Saving Money with Online Education

Those who start looking at the cost of college will notice a difference between the cost of most online programs and in-state public schools. Online schooling is generally going to be more affordable. The cost of a two-year public school in the state is $1,418, while a four-year school is $9,368. This can be more than some might be able to afford, especially when looking toward getting a bachelor’s degree at a four-year school. You also have to consider that these costs do not include room and board. Going to a great school means that you will be closer to getting the job of your dreams. It is time that you started to pursue the career that you really want. Online classes are making it easier than ever before. Find a great, accredited school today and start learning soon.

Previous Rankings
AC Online: Ranking the Highest ROI Colleges in California
AC Online: Ranking the Highest ROI Colleges in California

We’ve taken the guesswork out of finding top schools in California that deliver a solid return on your educational investment. You’d expect better earnings in your field with a college education, but these schools – based on's 2013 College Earnings Report and findings from Integrated Post-Secondary Education Data System (IPEDS), the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), and the Carnegie Foundation – consistently show a payoff in the workplace.

Click here to see our methodology.
California Colleges Analyzed: 767
California Colleges Ranked: 62
# College Name City ROI Tuition Type Photo
1 Harvey Mudd College Claremont $2,113,000 $42,140 Private not-for-profit
2 California Institute of Technology (Caltech) Pasadena $1,991,000 $36,387 Private not-for-profit
3 Stanford University Stanford $1,432,000 $40,050 Private not-for-profit
4 Claremont McKenna College Claremont $1,341,000 $41,995 Private not-for-profit
5 Santa Clara University Santa Clara $1,282,000 $39,048 Private not-for-profit
6 University of California - Berkeley Berkeley $1,182,000 $11,220 Public (In-State)
7 California Polytechnic State University (CalPoly) - San Luis Obispo San Luis Obispo $1,151,000 $5,472 Public (In-State)
8 University of California - San Diego (UCSD) La Jolla $1,042,000 $11,220 Public (In-State)
9 University of the Pacific Stockton $1,029,000 $35,770 Private not-for-profit
10 San Jose State University (SJSU) San Jose $983,000 $5,472 Public (In-State)
11 University of California - Santa Barbara (UCSB) Santa Barbara $939,900 $11,220 Public (In-State)
12 University of California - Irvine (UCI) Irvine $929,300 $11,220 Public (In-State)
13 California State Polytechnic University - Pomona Pomona $917,100 $5,472 Public (In-State)
14 Saint Mary's College of California Moraga $904,300 $37,000 Private not-for-profit
15 University of California - Davis (UC Davis) Davis $897,300 $11,220 Public (In-State)
16 University of California - Los Angeles (UCLA) Los Angeles $890,700 $11,220 Public (In-State)
17 Otis College of Art and Design Los Angeles $888,300 $34,454 Private not-for-profit
18 University of Southern California (USC) Los Angeles $885,300 $42,162 Private not-for-profit
19 Menlo College Atherton $842,900 $34,476 Private not-for-profit
20 California State University - Chico Chico $798,700 $5,472 Public (In-State)
21 University of San Francisco (USF) San Francisco $795,500 $37,040 Private not-for-profit
22 Pacific Union College (PUC) Angwin $793,000 $25,740 Private not-for-profit
23 Loyola Marymount University Los Angeles $785,100 $36,912 Private not-for-profit
24 University of Redlands Redlands $779,100 $37,002 Private not-for-profit
25 California College of the Arts Oakland $767,100 $36,960 Private not-for-profit
26 University of California - Riverside (UCR) Riverside $730,200 $11,220 Public (In-State)
27 California State University - Northridge (CSUN) Northridge $722,700 $5,472 Public (In-State)
28 California State University - Long Beach (CSULB) Long Beach $721,500 $5,472 Public (In-State)
29 California State University - East Bay (CSUEB) Hayward $720,900 $5,472 Public (In-State)
30 California State University - Fullerton (CSUF) Fullerton $720,900 $5,472 Public (In-State)
31 California State University - Sacramento (CSUS) Sacramento $697,100 $5,472 Public (In-State)
32 San Diego State University (SDSU) - Main Campus San Diego $683,900 $5,472 Public (In-State)
33 California State University - Fresno (Fresno State) Fresno $669,700 $5,472 Public (In-State) FresnoState image
34 Pomona College Claremont $663,400 $39,572 Private not-for-profit
35 University of San Diego (USD) San Diego $657,100 $38,150 Private not-for-profit
36 California State University - Stanislaus Turlock $645,200 $5,472 Public (In-State)
37 Vanguard University of Southern California Costa Mesa $636,600 $27,400 Private not-for-profit
38 Pepperdine University Malibu $627,500 $40,500 Private not-for-profit
39 Westmont College Santa Barbara $617,600 $34,570 Private not-for-profit
40 San Francisco State University (SFSU) San Francisco $612,400 $5,472 Public (In-State)
41 California State University - Los Angeles (CSULA) Los Angeles $592,400 $5,472 Public (In-State)
42 California State University - San Marcos (CSUSM) San Marcos $590,100 $5,472 Public (In-State)
43 University of California - Santa Cruz (UCSC) Santa Cruz $550,200 $11,220 Public (In-State)
44 Occidental College Los Angeles $547,200 $41,860 Private not-for-profit
45 Sonoma State University Rohnert Park $546,000 $5,472 Public (In-State)
46 California Lutheran University (CLU) Thousand Oaks $537,100 $32,610 Private not-for-profit
47 Mount St. Mary's College - Los Angeles, CA Los Angeles $530,400 $30,696 Private not-for-profit
48 Chapman University Orange $512,200 $39,200 Private not-for-profit
49 California State University - Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) Carson $473,400 $5,472 Public (In-State) CSUDH
50 California State University - San Bernardino (CSUSB) San Bernardino $467,800 $5,472 Public (In-State)
51 California State University - Bakersfield (CSUB) Bakersfield $465,900 $5,472 Public (In-State)
52 University of La Verne La Verne $450,800 $31,300 Private not-for-profit
53 Notre Dame de Namur University (NDNU) Belmont $435,800 $29,610 Private not-for-profit
54 Point Loma Nazarene University San Diego $431,600 $27,700 Private not-for-profit
55 Woodbury University Burbank $419,300 $29,604 Private not-for-profit
56 Whittier College Whittier $399,600 $36,632 Private not-for-profit
57 Dominican University of California San Rafael $376,000 $36,900 Private not-for-profit
58 Azusa Pacific University Azusa $346,400 $29,100 Private not-for-profit
59 Humboldt State University Arcata $315,700 $5,472 Public (In-State)
60 Concordia University - Irvine, CA Irvine $296,900 $26,700 Private not-for-profit
61 Mills College Oakland $266,400 $38,066 Private not-for-profit
62 Biola University La Mirada $228,800 $29,908 Private not-for-profit