The Best Online Community Colleges in California

The best online community colleges in California allow students to earn the education they need on their own terms. More and more today, employers require that prospective applicants hold bachelor’s degrees at a minimum. Unfortunately, completing a four-year degree program at a full university can be expensive! There is a perfectly good and affordable route, however: community college. Students who choose to earn an associate degree at a community college and then transfer into a bachelor’s degree program at a university save loads of money in their total education costs. Students who do this online and in their state of residence save even more!

If you’re a Californian preparing to start your education journey, or a working adult looking to complete your education, online community colleges in California are a great place to start. Online associate degrees are available in a diverse array of fields, and many colleges offer transfer degree programs, optimized for students who plan to immediately enter a bachelor’s degree after completing their associate studies. This means you not only save money, but that it’s actually easier to get into a university and have your credits counted toward bachelor’s degree studies.

Even better: many of the colleges on this list offer free tuition for established local residents. Coupled with scholarship and grant money, this means that your costs, including books and other supplies, and maybe even cost of living, can be covered for the duration of your time in school. All of this while studying online, in the comfort of your home, and on your own schedule.

Community colleges offer lots of benefits to undergraduate students, whether traditional or non traditional. Online degrees make the experience even more flexible and affordable. If you’re a student in California planning your educational path, start with browsing the best online community colleges in California.

#1. City College of San Francisco

San Francisco, California


San Francisco, California

City College of San Francisco is a community college established in 1935. It has over 26,000 students enrolled, 6% of whom are enrolled fully online.

CCSF offers 35 fully online associate degree and certificate programs. Students interested in an associate degree may pursue AA and AS programs in areas such as business administration, computer science, network security, liberal arts, and health education. Some of its programs, such as the AA-T in business administration, are optimized for students who intend to transfer into a bachelor’s degree program at a state school immediately following earning their associate degree. Certificate options include topics such as computer programming in Java and C++, and community health worker.

For students who have established California residency and live in San Francisco, tuition at CCSF is free. 59% of students receive some form of financial aid or scholarship, averaging $5,048.

CCSF is federally recognized as an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution. It supports undocumented and non-resident documented students. It is also a military friendly school.

City College of San Francisco is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

See CCSF’s full list of online degrees!

#2. Coastline Community College

Fountain Valley, California


Fountain Valley, California

Established in 1976, Coastline Community College has over 11,000 students enrolled. The majority of its student population, 78%, are enrolled fully online.

CCC offers a huge selection of fully online associate degree and certificate program options. Students may select from AA and AS programs in areas such as art and design, business and finance, computers and technology, education and teaching, liberal arts and humanities, nursing and healthcare, psychology and counseling, and science and engineering. Many of the school’s programs are optimized as transfer programs, for students who intend to immediately transfer into a bachelor’s degree program after earning their associate degree.

Coastline Community College is federally recognized as an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution. It is also a disability friendly school.

The average annual cost of in-state undergraduate tuition at Coastline Community College is $1,104. 84% of students receive some form of financial aid or scholarship, averaging $5,196.

Coastline Community College is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

See CCC’s full list of online degrees!

#3. Allan Hancock College

Santa Maria, California


Santa Maria, California

Allan Hancock College is a community college established in 1920. It has over 11,000 students enrolled, 12% of whom are enrolled fully online.

Allan Hancock College offers 53 online associate degree and certificate programs. Its associate degree options cover a wide range of topics, including film and video production, accounting, business administration, entrepreneurship, computer science, early childhood studies, liberal arts, and Spanish. Several of its degree programs, such as its AS in computer science, are optimized for students who intend to transfer into a bachelor’s degree program after graduation. Certificate options include areas such as culinary arts and management, and business information systems. Additionally, AHC offers dual enrollment options for high school students.

AHC is federally recognized as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, and serves undocumented students and documented non-resident students. It is also a military friendly school, serving military students and their families through a Veterans Resource Center.

The average annual cost of in-state undergraduate tuition at Allan Hancock College is $1,288. 84% of students receive some form of financial aid or scholarship, averaging $4,582.

Allan Hancock College is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

See AHC’s full list of online degrees!

#4. Saddleback College

Mission Viejo, California


Mission Viejo, California

Saddleback College is a community college established in 1968. It has over 19,000 students enrolled, 25% of whom are enrolled fully online.

Saddleback College offers 43 fully online associate degree and certificate programs. Among its associate degrees, students may choose from topics including business administration, fine arts and humanities, marketing, real estate, health information technology, American sign language, health sciences, and gender and sexuality studies. Several of its associate degree programs, such as the AS in business administration, are transfer programs optimized for students who intend to transfer directly into a bachelor’s degree program following completion.

The college also offers adult and continuing education options for students from a variety of backgrounds. Additionally, it offers dual enrollment options for high school students.

Saddleback College is federally recognized as an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution, and a Hispanic-Serving Institution. It is also a military friendly school, supporting military students and their families through its Veterans Education and Transition Services.

On average, the annual cost of in-state tuition at Saddleback College is $1,288. 40% of students receive some form of financial aid or scholarship, averaging $4,150.

Saddleback College is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

See SC’s full list of online degrees!

#5. American River College

Sacramento, California


Sacramento, California

American River College was established in 1955 and enrolls over 31,000 students. 12% of its student population is enrolled fully online.

ARC offers 30 fully online associate degree and certificate programs. Students may select from programs including an AA in management, an AS in computer information systems, and an AA in language studies with six track options. The college’s AST in business administration is a transfer program, optimized for students who intend to transfer into a bachelor’s in business administration program upon completion.

In addition to degree programs, ARC offers an Internship Referral Assistance Program in which students can earn college credit through work experience classes. It also has dual enrollment options for high school students.

American River College is federally recognized as an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution. The college has an application process and resources for undocumented students. It is a military friendly school with a Veterans Resource Center, and a disability friendly school.

For established California residents, tuition at American River College is free. 73% of students receive some form of financial aid or scholarship, averaging $4,664.

American River College is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

See ARC’s full list of online degrees!

#6. Lake Tahoe Community College

South Lake Tahoe, California


South Lake Tahoe, California

Established in 1975, Lake Tahoe Community College has over 2,000 students enrolled. 35% of its student population is enrolled fully online.

LTCC offers 18 fully online associate degree and certificate programs. Students may pursue an AA in business administration with six tracks in areas such as accounting, finance, general business, marketing, management, and small business ownership, as well as degrees in anthropology, liberal arts, Spanish, and psychology. Certificate options include bookkeeping technician, and computer and information science.

Beyond its degrees, LTCC allows high school students to dual enroll for college credit. Additionally, the college offers non-degree personal enrichment courses.

LTCC is federally recognized as a Hispanic-Serving Institution. It is also a military friendly school, serving the needs of veteran students.

The average annual cost of in-state undergraduate tuition at LTCC is $1,209. 57% of students receive some form of financial aid or scholarship, averaging $4,162.

Lake Tahoe Community College is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

See LTCC’s full list of online degrees!

#7. Mendocino College

Ukiah, California


Ukiah, California

Mendocino College is a community college established in 1973. It has over 3,500 students enrolled, 16% of whom are enrolled fully online.

Mendocino College offers 26 online associate degree and certificate programs. Students may select from AA and AS degrees in areas including business accounting, business management, economics, early childhood education, ethnic studies, and psychology. Several of its programs, such as its AS-T in business administration, are optimized for students who intend to transfer directly into a bachelor’s degree program following completion. Certificate options include web development, entrepreneurship, and child development.

Additionally, Mendocino College offers dual enrollment for high school students.

Mendocino College is federally recognized as as Hispanic-Serving Institution. It is also a military friendly school, supportive of veterans.

The average annual cost of in-state undergraduate tuition at Mendocino College is $1,380. 81% of students receive some form of financial aid or scholarship, averaging $5,494.

Mendocino College is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

See MC’s full list of online degrees!

#8. Monterey Peninsula College

Monterey, California


Monterey, California

Monterey Peninsula College is a community college established in 1947. It has over 7,500 students enrolled, 9% of whom are enrolled fully online.

MPC offers 19 online associate degree and online certificate programs. Associate degree options include business administration, early childhood education, social science, history, and psychology. Several of its programs, such as its AS-T in business administration, are optimized for students who intend to transfer directly into a bachelor’s degree program following completion. Certificate options include IT help desk, and nutrition and food.

Additionally, MPC offers dual enrollment for high school students.

Monterey Peninsula College is federally recognized as a Hispanic-Serving Institution. It is disability friendly and military friendly.

The average annual cost of in-state undergraduate tuition at Monterey Peninsula College is $1,104. 66% of students receive some form of financial aid or scholarship, averaging $5,223.

Monterey Peninsula College is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

See MPC’s full list of online degrees!

#9. Palomar College

San Marcos, California


San Marcos, California

Established in 1946, Palomar College is a community college with over 23,000 students enrolled. 11% of its student population is enrolled fully online.

Palomar College offers 15 fully online associate degree and certificate programs. Students may select from four AS degree options in business information worker, computer science: video gaming, management information systems, and web design and development. Certificate program options include real estate appraisal, cybersecurity, library and information technology, and data analytics.

Outside of its degree offerings, Palomar college provides non-credit personal enrichment courses for adults. It also allows high school students to dual enroll and earn college credit.

Palomar College is federally recognized as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, and is supportive of undocumented and documented, non-resident students. It is also a military friendly school, with a Veterans Resource Center that provides resources and PTSD support services.

The average annual cost of in-state undergraduate tuition at Palomar College is $1,288. 63% of students receive some form of financial aid or scholarship, averaging $4,556.

Palomar College is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

See PC’s full list of online degrees!

#10. Sacramento City College

Sacramento, California


Sacramento, California

Sacramento City College is a community college established in 1916. It has over 21,000 students enrolled, 14% of whom are enrolled fully online.

SCC offers 14 fully online associate degree and certificate programs. Students may select from AA and AS programs in areas such as business, history, anthropology, and sociology. Several of its programs, such as its AS-T in business administration, are optimized for students who intend to transfer directly into a bachelor’s degree program after completion. Certificate options include entrepreneurship and advanced cisco networking.

Sacramento City College is federally recognized as a Hispanic-Serving Institution. Its Students in a Global Economy (SAGE) program provides support for Latinx students in their transition from high school to college. It is a military friendly school, and serves military students and their families through its Veterans Service Center.

Tuition at Sacramento City College is free for established residents. 76% of students receive some form of financial aid or scholarship, averaging $4,573.

Sacramento City College is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

See SCC’s full list of online degrees!

#11. Santa Barbara City College

Santa Barbara, California


Santa Barbara, California

Santa Barbara City College is a community college established in 1911. It has over 16,000 students enrolled, 14% of whom are enrolled fully online.

SBSC offers 24 online associate degree and certificate programs. Associate degree seekers may choose from AA and AS options in areas such as photography, marketing, computer information systems, liberal arts, health information technology, and natural history. Certificate options include web marketing, international marketing, information technology management, and technical writing.

In addition to its degree programs, SBSC supports adult students through its Extended Learning program, providing GED preparation and some courses, all free of charge.

SBSC is federally recognized as a Hispanic-Serving Institution. It is also a military friendly school, and a disability friendly school. SBSC offers support services and resources for undocumented students and military students.

The average annual cost of in-state undergraduate tuition at SBSC is $1,380. 40% of students receive some form of financial aid or scholarship, averaging $4,566.

Santa Barbara City College is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

See SBCC’s full list of online degrees!

#12. Crafton Hills College

Yucaipa, California


Yucaipa, California

Crafton Hills College is a community college established in 1972. It has over 6,000 students enrolled, 9% of whom are enrolled fully online.

CHC offers four online associate degree programs, in fine arts business administration, philosophy, and social science. Its AS-T in business administration program is designed for students who intend to transfer directly into a bachelor’s in business administration program after completion. It also offers a certificate program in cisco network certified associate.

Additionally CHC offers dual enrollment for high school students seeking college credit.

Crafton Hills College is a military friendly school with a Veterans Resource Center, offering services and resources including mental health counseling, professional development, and work study.

The average annual cost of in-state undergraduate tuition at Crafton Hills College is $1,104. 65% of students receive some form of financial aid or scholarship, averaging $4,240.

Crafton Hills College is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

See CHC’s full list of online degrees!

#13. De Anza College

Cupertino, California


De Anza College is a community college established in 1967. It has over 18,000 students enrolled, 9% of whom are enrolled fully online.

De Anza College offers an online AA in business administration, as well as an AS in business administration designed to transfer into any CSU that accepts the Transfer Model Curriculum. The college also offers three online certificate options in business administration, entrepreneurship, or network basics.

De Anza College is federally recognized as an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution. It is supportive of undocumented students, and documented, non-resident students. It is also a military friendly school and a disability friendly school.

The average cost of in-state, undergraduate tuition at De Anza College is $1,395. 44% of De Anza College students receive some form of financial aid or scholarship, averaging $4,732.

See DAC’s full list of online degrees!

#14. San Bernardino Valley College

San Bernardino, California


San Bernardino, California

San Bernardino Valley College is a community college established in 1926. It has around 14,000 students, 14% of whom are enrolled fully online.

SBVC offers nine online associate degree and certificate programs. Its offerings include an AA-T in business administration and an AA-T in philosophy, designed for students who plan to transfer directly into a bachelor’s degree program following completion. Certificate options are available in computer science and library science.

High school students may dual enroll at SBVC for college credit. Additionally, the college offers non-credit courses, such as GED prep.

SBVC is federally recognized as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, and welcomes undocumented, and documented, non-resident students. It is also a Yellow Ribbon School and supports military students and their dependents. It is also a disability friendly school

For established resident students, tuition at SBVC is free. 86% of students receive some form of financial aid or scholarship, averaging $4,778.

San Bernardino Valley College is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

See SBVC’s full list of online degrees!

#15. Cerro Coso Community College

Ridgecrest, California


Ridgecrest, California

Established in 1973, Cerro Coso Community College enrolls over 5,500 students. 42% of its student population is enrolled fully online.

CCCC offers 37 associate degree and certificate programs. Students may choose from AA and AS programs in areas including English, human services, psychology, anthropology, and early childhood education. Several of its programs, such as its AS-T in business administration, are optimized for students who intend to transfer directly into a bachelor’s degree program following completion. Certificate options include web fundamentals, and child development.

Additionally, the college offers concurrent enrollment for high school students seeking college credit.

CCCC is federally recognized as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, and welcomes undocumented and documented, non-resident students. It is also a military friendly school, supportive of military students and their families. It participates in the College Fee Waiver for Veteran Dependents Benefit, which waives mandatory system-wide tuition and fees.

The average annual cost of in-state undergraduate tuition at CCCC is $1,288. 58% of students receive some form of financial aid or scholarship, averaging $3,936.

Cerro Coso Community College is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

See CCCC’s full list of online degrees!

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