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California Private Colleges and Universities

Independent 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 schools are diverse in character, academic emphasis, and origins. Some private colleges or schools have a religious affiliation; others are secular. Private 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.

California Private Colleges and Universities

The Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU) represents 71 of approximately 300 degree-granting non public colleges and universities in the state. All member institutions of the AICCU are regionally accredited and account for 8% of the enrollment in accredited independent California institutions. AICCU advocates on behalf of its members and participates in policy and planning discussion and activities.

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