Category: Blog

Best Online Colleges in California

As the popularity of online college has increased throughout the country, so has the number of degrees and programs offered completely online. Colleges and universities across the country have shifted their focus and have been adding online degrees for their students. Online colleges in California are a great option for students and should be considered for those students seeking a degree in higher education. Don’t want to attend a school in California? We also ranked the best online colleges and universities in the United States.

With an increase in popularity, comes an increase in value for online education. Online degrees are valued and appreciated more by employers. In the past, some companies may not have considered a candidate with an online degree. With big name schools offering online degrees, students have more options when considering online education. Check out our rankings of the best online colleges in California below.

List of Best Online Colleges in California

Cal State Fullerton

  • $5,742 In-State Tuition
  • $17,622 Out-Of-State Tuition
  • 43% Acceptance Rate

Touro University

  • $14,400 In-State Tuition
  • $14,400 Out-Of-State Tuition
  • 34% Acceptance Rate

Pacific Oaks College

  • $13,478 In-State Tuition
  • $13,478 Out-Of-State Tuition
  • 31% Acceptance Rate

Cal State Chico

  • $5,742 In-State Tuition
  • $17,622 Out-Of-State Tuition
  • 65% Acceptance Rate

Our team analyzed various components when ranking the best online colleges in California. Some of the components we looked at included retention rates, graduation rates, and percentage of students that are taking online classes. While those were all important components to finding the best online colleges in California, our team looked at numerous other components throughout the ranking process.

One of the most important things for our team to keep in mind when conducting these online college rankings was the fact that most of these schools offer both a traditional experience and an online experience. We considered many factors when ranking these online colleges but tried to specifically look at the online aspect of these colleges. A good example of this is looking at the percentage of students that are actually enrolled in online courses at the schools.

Our rankings of the best online colleges in California only contains public 4-year universities or private 4-year, not-for-profit colleges. Another constraint we put on the rankings when gathering data was that these schools had to offer at least 2 completely online undergraduate degrees. Our rankings for the best online colleges in California are below.

Best Online Colleges in California

The Best of the Best

The above table is our rankings for the best online colleges in California. The list takes into account numerous academic, affordability, and online factors. All data for the list was collected from the National Center for Education. We weighted various factors differently based on their importance to an online education and online experience. If you are more concerned with academic factors or affordability factors, check out our rankings of online colleges based solely off academic factors or affordability factors.

Our rankings should be used as a resource for students considering an online education. We encourage students to conduct their own research after referencing our rankings. Some students may put more importance on some factors versus other factors. Use our list as a guide to help narrow down your search for the best online colleges in California. Read below for more information on the top 5 online colleges in California from our findings.

California State University – Fullerton

Cal State Fullerton is the largest school of the 23 campuses that make up the California state university system. The school has a total enrollment of 40280. The school is a public university and is located in Fullerton, California. Cal State Fullerton has 30% of their students currently enrolled in some sort of online course. They currently offer 2 online bachelors programs and 5 online masters programs.

Fast Facts

  • Bachelors Programs Offered – 2
  • Masters Programs Offered – 5
  • Graduation Rate – 62%
  • Retention Rate – 88%
  • % Students Receiving Financial Aid – 69%
  • % Students Admitted- 43%

Touro University Worldwide

Touro University Worldwide is a non-profit 4-year college. The school is 100% online and is accredited. They offer 4 bachelors programs and 7 masters programs. Touro University has 4 schools within their university – school of business and management, school of psychology, school of health and human services, and school of general studies. They offer degrees in business administration and management, psychology, social work, and public administration.

Fast Facts

  • Bachelors Programs Offered – 4
  • Masters Programs Offered – 7
  • Graduation Rate – 78%
  • Retention Rate – 69%
  • % Students Receiving Financial Aid – 92%
  • % Students Admitted- 34%

Pacific Oaks College

Pacific Oaks College has two main campuses located in Pasadena, California and San Jose, California. The school is a private college that focuses on Quaker principals and social justice issues. Pacific Oaks currently offers 2 online bachelors programs and 5 online masters programs. Some of the online masters programs they offer include early childhood education, human development, social work, and organizational leadership and management.

Fast Facts

  • Bachelors Programs Offered – 2
  • Masters Programs Offered – 5
  • Graduation Rate – 84%
  • Retention Rate – 74%
  • % Students Receiving Financial Aid – 82%
  • % Students Admitted- 31%

California State University – Chico

Cal State Chico is the second oldest school in the California state university system. The school was founded in 1887 and is located in Chico, California. The school is home to 17578 students. Currently, they offer 4 online bachelors programs and 2 online masters programs. Some of the online bachelors programs they offer include sociology, religious studies, and specialization studies.

Fast Facts

  • Bachelors Programs Offered – 4
  • Masters Programs Offered – 2
  • Graduation Rate – 69%
  • Retention Rate – 85%
  • % Students Receiving Financial Aid – 63%
  • % Students Admitted- 65%

John F. Kennedy University

John F. Kennedy University was founded in 1965. The school is a private, non-profit university with a focus on providing opportunities for higher education. The school is located in Pleasant Hill, California but also has a satellite campus in San Jose. They currently offer 3 online bachelors programs and 3 online masters programs. Some of the available online bachelors programs include management and psychology.

Fast Facts

  • Bachelors Programs Offered – 3
  • Masters Programs Offered – 3
  • Graduation Rate – 75%
  • Retention Rate – 74%
  • % Students Receiving Financial Aid – 77%
  • % Students Admitted- 74%

Most Affordable Online Colleges in California

After ranking the best online colleges in California we decided to do another ranking. For this ranking, we only considered affordability factors. Some of the factors we used for this ranking included in-state tuition, out-of-state tuition, and the percentage of students who received any sort of financial aid. Sort through the table below to learn more about the schools and see which online colleges are the most affordable in the state of California.

Best Academic Online Colleges in California

As colleges an universities across the country are adapting to this new age of technology, more and more schools are adding online programs to their course offerings. As this is happening, more prestigious schools are offering online programs. If academics are most important to you, check out our rankings of the best academic online colleges in California.


Our online college rankings for the state of California took a lot of different criteria into consideration. We only looked at 4-year public colleges or universities and 4-year private, not-for-profit colleges. We also only considered schools that offered at least 2 undergraduate online programs.

After compiling a list of colleges that met the above criteria, we looked at various factors that we felt were important when ranking online colleges. We looked at retention rates, graduation rates, tuition, financial aid, number of online course offerings, and other various online college factors.

Online College FAQS

What are the best online colleges?

According to our findings, the best online colleges in the United States are:

  1. University of Florida
  2. Florida International
  3. University of Central Florida
  4. Florida Atlantic University
  5. Liberty University
  6. Texas Tech University
  7. North Carolina Central University
  8. Trine University
  9. Oklahoma State University
  10. Kennesaw State University

What are the cheapest online colleges?

Online colleges can be very affordable. Some of the cheapest online colleges in California include America Evangelical University, John F. Kennedy University, Touro University Worldwide, Pacific Oaks College, and Cal State Dominguez Hills.

Does Cal State offer online degrees?

Cal State does offer online degrees. The Cal state system is made up of 23 campuses around the state of California. Some offer more online degrees when compared to others. Cal State Fullerton made our list of best online colleges in California.

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