California Universities, Accredited Colleges, and Degrees
The nearly 800 colleges and universities in California are maintained by the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC). This commission works to ensure that higher education in the state is affordable and accessible to residents. In ensuring financially accessible higher education in the state, the board works to ultimately provide residents with a high quality of life as well as encourage a positive state economy. In order to reach its goals, the board engages in community outreach, educating the public about higher education options, and providing reports about California’s higher education progress as a whole.
Accredited Colleges & Universities in California
There are 281 four-year universities and colleges in California. The largest of those four-year universities is the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of Southern California (USC). UCLA is a public university established in 1919. It is ranked No. 24 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report . Competing with UCLA, the University of Southern California is also ranked No. 24 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report . It was founded in 1880 and is also situated in Los Angeles.
Though both UCLA and USC are considered to be among the best colleges in California, the top universities in California are the University of California, Berkeley and Stanford University. U.S. News & World Report ranks UC Berkeley No. 21 among the best universities in the U.S. The university is publicly funded and was founded in 1868; it is known for Professor J. Robert Oppenheimer, who was the director of the atomic bomb’s development during World War II. Stanford University, however, is the most prestigious college in California. A private university, it is ranked No. 6 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report . Stanford boasts such alumni as Tiger Woods, President Herbert Hoover, and John Elway.
California is one of 15 members of the Western Interstate Commission of Higher Education (WICHE), a nonprofit organization that works to increase the availability of and better higher education. As part of this organization, California engages in several initiatives to make higher education more accessible and affordable, such as the Interstate Passport Initiative and the Knocking at the College Door program. Meanwhile, several higher education institutions have implemented online education to increase postsecondary enrollment and graduates. For instance, USC offers many online degree options at various levels to accommodate students that need a distance education.
Accredited Community Colleges in California
Of the 498 community colleges in California, East Los Angeles College (ELAC) and the City College of San Francisco (CCSF) have the highest enrollments. According to the National Center for Education Statistics. ELAC has more than 37,000 students and CCSF has nearly 35,000. In order to boost graduation and enrollment rates, CCSF and ELAC both offer online courses for those students whose schedules require more flexibility. Community colleges in general were founded in order to provide affordable high education. Some students attending community colleges enroll in certificate and associate degree programs to further their careers; others do so to earn a less costly basic education that can be transferred towards a four-year degree.
Recognizing that junior colleges are an imperative component of higher education, Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed the Student Access Act of 2012. making it law. The goal of this act is to increase the rate at which community college degrees and programs are completed in the state. To this end, the act will give precedence to new students who would ordinarily be unable to register for courses filled by students who should have already graduated. It will also require college students to meet with a counselor and establish an education plan in which they designate when they will take their required courses. Moreover, the act will require students to take an assessment exam in order to be placed in courses in which they have the ability to succeed.