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California isn’t just a state with plenty of beautiful beaches and a wide array of people. Its education system is highly renowned and attracts applicants from all around the world. Students studying in California have more options for degrees than any other state. It is home to the highest number of institutions for higher education, with 448 colleges and universities. Prospective students can choose from the available 150 public schools, 148 non-profits, and 150 for-profit universities – National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).  

California has a strong focus on online education, particularly for its community colleges. With 116 colleges, the California Community College system educates 2.1 million students. 50% of them do not pay fees. Additionally, to help more young adults achieve their educational credentials, the system plans to launch an entirely online community college

Why choose California for online colleges? 

Distance education in California is favorable for both out-of-state and international students. The state offers improved tools for tutoring, counseling services, and other facilities for online education. The graduation rate is also comparatively high. Nearly two-thirds of online students complete their courses. In comparison, students completing traditional courses stayed roughly the same at 71%. 

The rate of tuition & fees is similar when compared to other states. However, California is a member of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), allowing out-of-state students to pay a flat rate for their tuition. They pay 150% of the residency tuition, which accounts for savings of approx. $9,000 per student. In addition, students attending colleges in California can take advantage of the easily accessible grants and aid options offered by the educational institutions. The state awards the largest amount, dispersing $2.2 million in student financial aids. The average spending is $1,751 per undergraduate student. 

Colleges in California offers online learning 

Below, you will find the recommended colleges & universities for distant learners. All of these institutions are accredited and known for their course offerings. Typically, you will find two types of fully online classes. The first one is the asynchronous format, which can be taken at your preferred schedule. The other one is the Live Classes. It requires regular meetings with the instructor and classmates.

Hope International University

Non Sponsored School

Fullerton, California

Hope international university is a private Christ-centered institution in Fullerton, California. Its campus size is 18-acres and has...Read More

William Jessup University

Non Sponsored School

Rocklin, California

William Jessup University is a private 4-year university and liberal arts college that was founded in 1939. The...Read More

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Biola University

Non Sponsored School

La Mirada, California

Biola University is a private Christian university located in La Mirada, California. Its campus is built on 95-acre...Read More

California State University, Northridge

Non Sponsored School

Los Angeles, California

California State University, Northridge is a public institution founded in 1958. It is also one of the largest...Read More

Fullerton College

Non Sponsored School

Fullerton, California

Loaners Program

Fullerton College is a public community college established in 1913. The campus is located on 83-acre land and...Read More

Cost of attending online colleges in California

The educational expenses of both online and in-person programs will vary widely in California. The cost can be around $7,000 or $11,000 or below at public institutions, while some private alternatives charge $30,000+ per year. A few universities even charge a higher premium that can be around $60,000 per year. Interested applicants should look into individual programs from institutions they are interested in. The cost will also vary depending on the mode (on-campus, hybrid, Online Live, and Online). Generally, online classes are far less expensive than on-campus programs. Some colleges also charge the same rate for both in-state and out-of-state students. By getting resident status, you can also apply for in-state tuitions.

California scholarships and grants

In California, various organizations provide scholarships to students of different groups. Typically, these scholarships focus on need-based and merit-based applicants. Some are recurring, and some are one-time grants. Below are a few of the recommended options that you can look into.
P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education Scholarship Amount
This is a one-time need-based financial grant available only for those women whose education was interrupted and now want to return to school.  $3,000 See Scholarship
California Association of Collectors Educational Scholarship Foundation Scholarship Amount
Eligible for currently enrolled high school juniors or seniors who will be attending an accredited university within 12 months of graduation.  $1,500 - $2,500 See Scholarship
Friends of the California State Fair Scholarship Program Scholarship Amount
Eligible for college students and graduating high school seniors with academic excellence and leadership potential.  Amount Varies See Scholarship
Ralph Hale and Martha L. Ruppert Educational Scholarship Scholarship Amount
Eligible for candidates who can demonstrate financial hardship. The applicant must have a minimum of 3.3 cumulative GPA.  $10,000 See Scholarship

Frequently asked questions

Which California schools accept the most transfer credits? 

Public colleges & universities typically accept the most number of transfer credits earned from California community colleges. So it would be ideal if you earn an associate's degree through online community colleges before transferring to a University.

Which online colleges will accept FAFSA in California?

Most colleges in California will accept FAFSA. It is possible you can receive a generous grant from a federally backed program. Typically, colleges use FAFSA to provide financial assistance to need-based applicants.

Are there any free online classes I can take from California colleges?

Institutions like the University of California, Berkeley, offer several free online courses. The courses are free but also offer optional paid upgrades.

Is California a Good State for Higher Education?

Yes, California is a good state for higher education in both quality and the cost of education. The state is home to several reputable institutions, including the California State University, which is one of the largest university systems in the U.S.

Do I need to be a resident of California to study at an online school in California?

You don’t need to be a resident of California to enroll in its online schools. However, the tuition & fees will be higher for out-of-state students. Some institutions may charge the same rate for all online students regardless of their residency status.

How long does it take to become an official resident of California for college?

Typically, you need to stay for a consecutive 12 months in California to get official residency status. Afterward, you will be eligible for in-state tuition. Colleges might require some other form of proof as well. Check with the administration of your preferred college to know the exact requirement.

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