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Learn about college/university enrollment, a list of nearby campuses, and more. 

Basic overview

There are hundreds of colleges and universities across the State of California, including

public and private schools that meet the diverse needs of each student's career path.

There are three major public college and university systems in the state: 


Each system has its own admission requirements, varying tuition costs, and in many cases specialize in particular fields of study. In addition, there are many private colleges and universities with unique admission requirements and tuition costs that also offer academic specializations for students. In general, students can expect to finish their studies at colleges within 2 years and at universities within 4 years, however, not all students finish within this time frame due to several constraints, such as the issues of impacted classes, cost of tuition, life changes, and other factors that can defer an expected graduation date. 

Funding the costs of attending a college or university is often a challenge for students, especially in light of rising tuition fees and the high cost of living across the state.


Fortunately, there are options for financing education. The most common options to finance education include: 

  • Federally subsidized student loans 

  • Private student loans 

  • California state grants 

  • University-sponsored scholarships 

  • Private scholarships 

For more information on California colleges and universities, click here

Female College Students

Applying For College 

Each public college and university has its unique application requirements and application process. Application deadlines vary, but for UC and CSU campuses, deadlines are usually in the Fall preceding the start of the new academic year. For example, if a student wants to start in

Fall 2023, the application would be due on or around Fall 2022. 

Admission requirements depend on whether an applicant is a prospective Freshman (first year student), or transfer student from a California Community College. Be sure to read your particular school's admission requirements thoroughly or speak to a local college counselor before applying to a CSU/UC. 

Note: Applying for financial aid is separate from applying to the school of your choice. Scroll down for financial aid information. 

University of California 

With nine campuses across the State of California, the University of California system allows prospective students to use one common application to apply to the university of their choice. Admission requirements at UC schools are more rigorous and competitive than the CSU and CCC requirements.


To learn how to apply to a UC school, click here

California State University 

There are 23 California State University campuses. Although the admission requirements for a CSU are less rigorous than the UC system, prospective students should still expect to meet certain academic qualifications before applying. The deadline to apply to a CSU is usually in November before the start of the new academic year. 

To learn how to apply to a CSU, click here

California Community College 

There are over 100 California Community Colleges, which admit up to 1 million students each year. California Community Colleges are a popular starting point for students who wish to explore academic interests, transfer to a CSU/UC, or obtain certifications in special skills and training. 

To learn how to register at a CCC, click here

Financial Aid 

Financing an education in California can be a daunting task for students. Luckily, each public college and university has a financial aid office that can provide students options on how to finance their education. 

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, commonly known as FAFSA, helps the federal government determine how much financial aid a student is eligible for. The FAFSA application also enables the State of California to determine eligibility for state assistance through the

Cal Grant. It is highly recommended that all students complete the FAFSA, even if they think they don't qualify to receive aid. 

All US citizens, permanent residents, and eligible non-citizens with the following status: refugees, asylum granted, indefinite parole, humanitarian parole, or Cuban-Haitian entrant are eligible to apply for FAFSA. For more information on non-citizen eligibility, click here

The FAFSA application also enables students to learn about their student loan options. While students may opt in for a private loan through a private lender, students may find lower interest rates through the government's federally subsidized loan programs. 

It is recommended that students research their scholarship and grant options. Unlike student loans, scholarships and grants are funds that do not have to be paid back and can be used to finance their education. Many scholarships require merit-based achievements, while others are unique and are awarded based on creativity. 

It is highly recommended that students visit the following scholarship websites: 

Local Colleges and Universities 

There are hundreds of colleges and universities across California, and the likelihood of one being near your home is very high.

Scroll down for a list of colleges and universities near you! 

San Francisco 

  • UC San Francisco (UCSF)

  • UC Hastings College of Law 

  • San Francisco State University (SFSU)

  • City College of San Francisco (CCSF)

  • University of San Francisco 

East Bay 

  • UC Berkeley 

  • CSU East Bay 

  • CSU Maritime Academy 

  • Berkeley City College 

  • Chabot College

  • College of Alameda 

  • Contra Costa College 

  • Laney College 

  • Merritt College

  • Ohlone College

  • Diablo Valley College

  • Las Positas College

South Bay 

  • San Jose State University 

  • De Anza College

  • Gavilan College

  • San Jose City College

  • Skyline College

  • Evergreen Valley College

  • Foothill College

  • College of San Mateo

  • Cañada College


  • UC Davis 

  • CSU Sacramento 

  • American River College

  • Sacramento City College

  • Cosumnes River College

  • Sierra College

  • Folsom Lake College

  • Yuba College

  • Woodland Community College

Central Valley 

  • UC Merced 

  • UC Bakersfield 

  • CSU Stanislaus 

  • CSU Fresno

  • San Joaquin Delta College

  • Modesto Junior College

  • Columbia College

  • Merced College

  • Fresno City College

  • Reedley College

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