Online Colleges in California
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As the most populous state in the US, California is home to a whopping 457 institutions of higher education. California State University is the largest university system in the country and prioritizes innovation in distance learning. This is evidenced by their pilot program launched in 2013 in partnership with Udacity, which was designed to create affordable options for underserved populations.
CSU s efforts are very much in-step with the California state government s dedication to online postsecondary options. The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) noted that the Governor s 13- 14 budget allotted tens of millions of dollars to expand online learning in California’s public institutions of higher education. Furthermore, six state bills were put forth that same year that all dealt with online education in an attempt to make it more accessible, efficient, and accountable. While many of these bills remain in flux, such efforts make it clear online education is a major priority for California s representatives.
Before we look at the very best online colleges in CA, let s start with the state of higher education and online education in particular in the state today.
Top Featured Schools
Walden University allows you to earn you degree fast! Undergraduate students can transfer up to 75% of required credits & master’s programs can be completed in as few as 12 months!
Capella University offers a variety of online degree programs up to the doctoral level, including healthcare, social work, business, counseling, and education.
Providing student-centered, career-focused education
Helping you achieve your goals, from enrollment through graduation and beyond
A Brief Overview of Higher Education in California
In 2013, the National Center for Education Statistics reported that California had 457 degree-granting institutions, broken down as follows: 149 public schools, 167 for-profits and 141 nonprofits. A recent report, also released by the NCES, found that California has more than 2.7 million enrolled students, the most in the nation.
in 2013, California had 457 degree-granting institutions
- 149 public
- 141 non-profit
- 167 for-profit
Tuition-wise, the College Board found that, in the 15- 16 school year, the average in-state tuition and fees for four-year public schools was $9,270, while the out-of-state average was $26,920, only increasing by 1% over the last five years.
As for the state s financial aid efforts, the National Association of State Student Grant Aid Programs (NASSGAP) reported that California awarded $1.67 billion in need-based grants and $2.38 million in non-need grants for the 13- 14 school year; combined, this makes California s grant total the largest in the nation. Grants make up 15.9% of the state s total fiscal support for higher education. As the nation s largest education hub, it is reassuring to see that California, when zoomed out, manages to have competitive tuition and generous financial aid.
The State of Online Higher Education in California
While California has made meaningful progress in offering more online courses, with at least 9% of all college courses being offered online, where the state truly shines is in its support of online community college programs. A report by the PPIC stated that by the 2011-12 school year, one fifth of community college students in the state, nearly 530,000 students, were enrolled in at least one online course ― that s more than seven times the rate a decade prior. When you hone in on specific subjects, the report found the numbers were even more astonishing: with one-third total enrollment in business and IT courses at community colleges taken online.
It s no surprise then that organizations like the California Community Colleges Online Education Initiative and the California Virtual Campus have emerged as premier facilitators of online learning in the state. Not only do these initiatives let students browse through online courses and programs found all over California, they also work to decrease the costs of online education, improve retention and graduation rates and increase the demand for online courses.
The Virtual Campus has particularly stood out, with the 2015-16 release of a new course exchange program that lets students easily enroll in courses at community colleges throughout the state, making it easier for students to fulfill courses that are either scarce or quickly fill up.