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California Private Colleges and Universities

Find and compare the best Private Colleges and Universities in California

In a state as large as California, it is not surprising to find colleges and universities of every shape and size. Regardless of what disciplines or degrees you want to pursue, you can rest assured that California private colleges will suit your needs. From the Mexican border all the way up to Oregon, California's numerous private schools and universities continuously lead the way in academic excellence. Just look at the medical breakthroughs, athletic achievements, and academic advances that seem to pour out of the Golden State on a daily basis.

California private colleges and universities offer a wide range of education programs with degrees and certificates up to the doctoral level, as well as professional degrees such as law and medicine. The largest being University of Southern California with 33,082 full time students. Harvey Mudd College is the most expensive with an in-state tuition of $44,159.

These California private colleges are diverse in character, academic emphasis, and origins. Some private colleges or schools have a religious affiliation; others are secular. California p\rivate colleges and universities may be profit or non-profit institutions. Typically, California independent colleges or private schools give weight to personal characteristics and activities in addition to considering GPA and test scores.

While many California private schools are considerably more expensive than comparable state institutions, they also tend to offer more generous financial aid packages. Many students have found the actual out-of-pocket cost to earn a degree from a private college in California to be less than the cost of the state schools to which they were accepted. On the one hand, California public colleges are usually less expensive, particularly for in-state residents. They get most of their money from the state or local government. Check out your state's Guide to Residency. California private colleges rely on tuition, fees, endowments, and other private sources of funding. On the other hand, California private colleges are usually smaller and can offer more personalized attention (and some believe, more prestige).

Myths about Private Nonprofit Higher Education from NAICU on Vimeo.

Myth #1: Private schools are too expensive
Reality: Since 2000, tuition costs have increased by 173% at CSU schools and 208% at UCs while AICCU tuition rates have only increased by 90%. Eighty percent (80%) of students at AICCU schools receive Institutional Grants to help pay for tuition. Overall, 86% of students at AICCU schools receive some type of aid.

Myth #2: Private schools are harder to get in to and you have to have very high grades
Reality: Most independent colleges and universities consider a number of factors other than grades. These factors can include: High School coursework, GPA, Entrance Test Scores (ACT/SAT), Essay, Activities/Community Service, Honors & Awards, Letters of Recommendation, Interviews/Auditions, etc.

Myth #3: The student populations aren’t diverse
Reality: AICCU member schools enroll students from every background and ethnicity. Minorities are the majority (57%) across AICCU schools.

Myth #4: It will take me longer to earn my degree
Reality: AICCU member colleges are very proud to have the highest graduation rates; where our students graduate at a rate of 12% higher than the UCs and 23% higher than CSU schools. In addition, class sizes are often smaller at AICCU schools leading to more direct student-faculty interaction, with the average student to faculty ration 12:1.

Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities

Founded March 3, 1955, the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU) represents over 70 California private nonprofit colleges and universities.

The core mission of AICCU members is to improve lives through higher education. AICCU members are committed to the public good and are incredibly diverse?#8364;”ranging from large to small traditional liberal arts institutions, including nationally ranked research universities; colleges offering faith-based, performing and visual arts, and ?#8364;œnon-traditional?#8364;? programs of study; as well as professional schools that specialize in business, law, medicine, and more. Accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) is required for membership, as is fulfilling a public purpose through nonprofit status. In addition to providing creative and intellectual higher education resources to assure California?#8364;™s future economic vitality, AICCU members are major contributors to the economies of the regions they serve?#8364;”as large employers and consumers of local goods and services. AICCU colleges and universities offer programs in more than 100 locations across California, contributing to the betterment of the state in many ways, especially through:

  • Providing access to quality higher education for California?#8364;™s diverse population.
  • Creating highly skilled workers to successfully compete in the global economy and assure California?#8364;™s continued leadership in it.
  • Investing over $20 billion annually in the state and employing over 88,000 Californians.
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