20 Best Online Colleges In California

An online degree is often way more affordable than "traditional" education. This makes the return on investment even better. And it makes the decision to earn a degree even more incentivizing.

20 Best Online Colleges In California

Are you ready to find your fit?

Looking for reasons to go to school in California, but can't actually move away? Perhaps you have a career already and need to complete a degree, or maybe you have domestic obligations that preclude you moving to another state.

If so, you should consider a digital education program from one of the best online colleges in California.

What kind of online college in California should I attend?

Some of the best online colleges are in California. With diverse program offerings from online programs at large national research universities to the parochial, private digital classrooms of Christian colleges, one can find an assortment of program offerings, from the best online MBA programs to the best online nursing programs.

How much money will you make with an online degree?

Because you can earn an array of degrees online, from nursing to engineering, fine arts to criminal justice, there's no way to determine an average salary. However, we can say this much. A degree on your resume ups the ante. Employers will see that you're committed to your education, that you have experience, and that you've developed the skills necessary to move you up the career ladder.

Plus, an online degree is often way more affordable than "traditional" education. This makes the return on investment even better. And it makes the decision to earn a degree even more incentivizing.

What can you do with an online degree?

The opportunities are as many as the state is big! With an online degree from one of these esteemed colleges in California you can find yourself in a variety of industries. Indeed, while some of the programs below are focused on professional development, others are academically oriented. It all depends on your career goals.

For example, graduates from these schools have earned degrees in:

  • Business Administration
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Nursing
  • Psychology and Sociology
  • Engineering, and so much more

Recommended Online Colleges

What are the requirements for an online degree?

The requirements for earning an online degree from one of these California universities and colleges varies depending on the program itself. For example, an environmental engineering degree will look worlds different than a degree in clinical psychology.

However, one thing you can anticipate are due dates. With distance education, you can work flexibly through your program, but you'll have to meet deadlines in order to progress. You'll also be required to connect with professors online. And you may even take virtual classes or participate in online forums.

What are the best online colleges in California?

Alongside diverse programs offerings, California schools have diverse classrooms serving multi-cultural student populations. This goes for non-traditional students who take online classes. Perhaps you're over the age of 25 or are returning to school after a significant absence or are trying to complete a degree while you support a family. All of these might make attending one of the best online colleges in California a better decision than dropping your responsibilities and enrolling in a traditional-format higher ed program.

No matter your circumstance, College Choice is committed to helping you discover the schools that best fit your needs, so take a look at our ranking of the Best Online Colleges in California to see what's right for you. Happy hunting!

Best Online Colleges in California

See our rankings methodology page.

#1

Vanguard University of Southern California

School Information
Location Costa Mesa, California
Admission Rate 49%
Graduation Rate 59%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 12% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Vanguard University of Southern California offers a premier online education, guaranteeing flexibility for students from all walks of life. The institution supports 262 distance learners across numerous learning tracks.

A leader in online education, the school boasts online bachelor's and master's programs. Students connect with faculty, peers, and staff through a virtual learning environment, where they receive support and guidance. While enrolled, degree candidates complete industry-relevant coursework, with the option to pursue internships, research projects, and other learning opportunities. Throughout their studies, learners can access career services, academic advising, and other institutional resources.

Before applying, prospective students should schedule an appointment with the admissions office to discuss application materials and degree requirements. Eligible students can apply for scholarships, fellowships, and other financial aid opportunities to offset degree costs. An average of 100% of all enrollees receive financial aid.

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#2

Mount Saint Mary's University

School Information
Location Los Angeles, California
Admission Rate 90%
Graduation Rate 65%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 35% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Mount Saint Mary's University offers a premier online education, guaranteeing flexibility for students from all walks of life. The school supports nine online programs, reaching 1,000 online students near and far.

A leader in online education, the institution boasts online bachelor's and master's programs. Students attend lectures and complete coursework through a virtual classroom environment, alongside classmates and faculty. Distance learners gain knowledge in and outside of the classroom through coursework, research projects, and internships. Degree-seekers can receive guidance throughout their studies by connecting with academic advising, career services, and other institutional resources.

Prospective applicants should meet with the admissions office to discuss application materials and admission requirements. Depending on eligibility, students can apply for scholarships, fellowships, and other financial aid awards to offset the costs of study. About 100% of all incoming enrollees receive financial aid.

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#3

Hope International University

School Information
Location Fullerton, California
Admission Rate 37%
Graduation Rate 54%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 50% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Students seeking a premier distance learning education should consider Hope International University. Presently, the institution boasts 19 online programs, reaching 564 distance learners across the globe.

The school supports three online bachelor's programs and nine online master's programs. Enrollees receive support throughout their studies, learning alongside peers in a virtual classroom environment. Degree-seekers gain industry-relevant knowledge through coursework, internships, and other learning opportunities. Students can receive guidance throughout their studies by connecting with academic advising, career services, and other institutional resources.

Prospective applicants can discuss admission requirements and degree eligibility with the Office of Admissions. At the college, 99% of all enrollees receive financial aid awards to offset educational costs. 

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#4

California State University, Fullerton

School Information
Location Fullerton, California
Admission Rate 53%
Graduation Rate 69%
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 38% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

California State University, Fullerton, a public college, supports flexible online learning opportunities for students worldwide. To date, the institution supports seven online programs, reaching 15,479 remote learners.

Undergraduate students can choose from two online bachelor's programs, and graduate students can select one of five online master's programs. Distance learners connect with fellow students, faculty, and staff through a virtual classroom environment. Students receive a well-rounded education by completing industry-relevant coursework, with the option to pursue internships, faculty-led research projects, and other experiential learning opportunities. Degree candidates can connect with career services, academic advising, and other learning resources to receive guidance during their studies.

Prospective students can discuss admission requirements and degree eligibility with the Office of Admissions. Eligible learners can benefit from scholarships, fellowships, and other forms of financial aid. Out of all students, 77% receive aid.

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#5

California State University, Chico

School Information
Location Chico, California
Admission Rate 72%
Graduation Rate 67%
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 35% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

California State University, Chico offers a variety of distance learning opportunities across numerous programs. Presently, the institution boasts five online programs, reaching 6,024 distance learners across the globe.

Undergraduates can enroll in one of three bachelor's programs, with graduate students benefiting from two online master's programs. Degree-seekers can attend lectures and complete coursework through a virtual classroom environment, alongside classmates and faculty. Enrollees benefit from a well-rounded education, completing foundational and advanced classes. Throughout their studies, learners can access career services, academic advising, and other institutional resources.

Interested applicants should meet with the admissions office to learn more about program requirements. Eligible students can apply scholarships, fellowships, and other forms of financial aid toward tuition and other educational expenses. According to the college, 76% of all incoming enrollees receive financial aid.

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#6

Fresno Pacific University

School Information
Location Fresno, California
Admission Rate 66%
Graduation Rate 67%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 40% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Degree candidates seeking flexible online study should consider Fresno Pacific University. The private institution supports several online programs from its main campus in Fresno, attracting 1,738 distance learners across the globe.

Of its online programs, three are bachelor's programs, and eight are master's programs. Distance learners connect with fellow students, faculty, and staff through a virtual classroom environment. While enrolled, degree-seekers can customize their coursework, select electives, and pursue experiential learning opportunities. Students can also benefit from personal and professional development by connecting with academic advising, career services, and other institutional resources.

Prospective enrollees can meet with the Office of Admissions to discuss admission requirements, application materials ,and other information. Enrollees can connect with the financial aid office to explore funding opportunities to make their education more affordable. Of all students, 100% benefit from financial aid.

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#7

California Baptist University

School Information
Location Riverside, California
Admission Rate 78%
Graduation Rate 63%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 55% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Distance learners seeking a flexible online education should consider California Baptist University. The institution supports 6,112 distance learners across numerous learning tracks.

Of these online programs, 24 are bachelor's programs and 13 are master's programs. Students attend remote lectures and learn alongside peers through a virtual classroom setting. Enrollees receive a well-rounded education by completing industry-relevant coursework, with the option to pursue internships, faculty-led research projects, and other experiential learning opportunities. Degree candidates also receive guidance from academic advising, career services, and other resources.

Interested applicants can meet with the Office of Admissions to discuss admission requirements and degree eligibility. At the college, 98% of all enrollees receive financial aid awards, to offset educational costs. Out of all students, 98% receive aid.

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#8

California State University, Monterey Bay

School Information
Location Seaside, California
Admission Rate 75%
Graduation Rate 63%
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 37% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

From its main campus in Seaside, California State University, Monterey Bay supports a variety of online programs. Distance learners can connect with 2,864 online students across three online programs.

A leader in online education, the college offers one online bachelor’s program and two online master’s programs. These programs connect students with classmates and faculty through a virtual classroom setting. Learners receive a well-rounded education through general and advanced coursework, with the option to pursue experiential learning opportunities such as faculty-driven research projects and internships. Enrollees also receive guidance from academic advising, career services, and other resources.

Prospective students should meet with the admissions office to discuss admission requirements. Eligible students can apply scholarships, fellowships, and federal financial aid towards their learning expenses. An average of 81% of all enrollees receive financial aid during their studies.

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#9

California State University, Sacramento

School Information
Location Sacramento, California
Admission Rate 82%
Graduation Rate 55%
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 38% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

California State University, Sacramento is a wise choice for students seeking flexible online study. Distance learners can choose from four online  programs and join its 12,301-person online learning community.

The school reaches online undergraduates and graduate students, supporting two online bachelor's programs and two online master's programs. Degree-seekers attend remote lectures and learn alongside peers through a virtual classroom setting. Distance learners gain knowledge in and outside of the classroom, through coursework, research projects, and internships. Throughout their program, students can connect with academic advising, career services, and other institutional resources to prepare them for success after college.

Prospective applicants should meet with the admissions office to discuss application materials and admission requirements. Enrollees can meet with the financial aid office to explore scholarships, fellowships, and other financial aid packages. An average of 85% of all enrollees receive financial aid.

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#10

California State University, Northridge

School Information
Location Northridge, California
Admission Rate 59%
Graduation Rate 55%
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 55% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

California State University, Northridge provides flexible online study options for learners from all walks of life. Students can choose from one of eight remote programs when beginning their studies.

Distance learners can choose from one online bachelor's program and seven online master's programs. Degree candidates attend lectures and complete coursework through a virtual classroom environment, alongside classmates and faculty. Students receive a well-rounded education through general and advanced coursework, with the option to pursue experiential learning opportunities such as faculty-driven research projects and internships. Learners can access career services, academic advising, and other institutional resources.

Prospective students can discuss admission requirements and degree eligibility with the Office of Admissions. The college makes internal and external funding opportunities available to degree-seekers, with 86% of all enrollees receiving aid. 

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#11

Concordia University-Irvine

School Information
Location Irvine, California
Admission Rate 71%
Graduation Rate 63%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 63% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

From its main campus in Irvine, Concordia University-Irvine supports a variety of online programs. Degree-seekers can choose from several remote programs when beginning their studies.

A leader in online education, the college offers five online bachelor’s programs and 11 online master’s programs. Students connect with faculty, peers, and staff through a virtual learning environment, where they receive support and guidance. Distance learners gain knowledge in and outside of the classroom, through coursework, research projects, and internships. Degree candidates benefit from learning resources, academic advising, and career services throughout their studies.

Before applying, prospective students should schedule an appointment with the admissions office to discuss application materials and degree requirements. Students can meet with the financial aid office to explore funding opportunities, such as scholarships, fellowships, and federal financial aid. According to the institution, 100% of all incoming enrollees receive some form of financial aid.

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#12

Azusa Pacific University

School Information
Location Azusa, California
Admission Rate 67%
Graduation Rate 68%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 30% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Students from all walks of life benefit from Azusa Pacific University's flexible online programs. To date, the institution supports 18 online programs, reaching 2,750 remote learners.

A leader in online education, the institution boasts online bachelor's and master's programs. Students attend lectures and complete coursework through a virtual classroom environment, alongside classmates and faculty. Degree-seekers can individualize their studies through course electives, degree minors, and experiential learning opportunities like internships. The college can connect enrollees with academic advising, career services, and other learning resources.

Learners interested in applying should meet with the admissions office to discuss application materials and admission requirements. Eligible students can apply scholarships, fellowships, and other forms of financial aid towards tuition and other educational expenses. According to the college, 98% of all incoming students receive financial aid.

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#13

California State University, Channel Islands

School Information
Location Camarillo, California
Admission Rate 86%
Graduation Rate 54%
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 44% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

California State University, Channel Islands offers a variety of distance learning opportunities across numerous programs. The college supports 3,287 distance learners across three online programs.

Students attend lectures and complete coursework through a virtual classroom environment, alongside classmates and faculty. Enrollees gain industry-relevant knowledge through coursework, internships, and other learning opportunities. Degree candidates can receive guidance throughout their studies by connecting with academic advising, career services, and other institutional resources.

Interested applicants can schedule a meeting with the Office of Admissions to discuss application materials, admission requirements, and other information. To defray the costs of education, learners can speak with the financial aid office to explore funding opportunities. The institution reports that 83% of enrollees benefit from some form of financial aid.

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#14

California State University, East Bay

School Information
Location Hayward, California
Admission Rate 76%
Graduation Rate 50%
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 58% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Students from all walks of life benefit from California State University, East Bay's flexible online programs. The public institution supports nine programs from its main campus in Hayward, attracting 9,361 distance learners across the globe.

The institution supports five remote bachelor's programs and four remote master's programs. Students connect with faculty and staff through a virtual classroom environment, while learning alongside classmates and attending remote lectures. Enrollees can customize their coursework, select electives, and pursue experiential learning opportunities. The college connects students with institutional resources geared toward student success, such as career services and academic advising.

Before applying, prospective enrollees should schedule an appointment with the admissions office to discuss application materials and degree requirements. Learners can connect with the financial aid office to explore funding opportunities to make their education more affordable. According to the institution, 86% of all incoming degree candidates receive some form of financial aid.

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#15

California State University, Dominguez Hills

School Information
Location Carson, California
Admission Rate 77%
Graduation Rate 44%
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 51% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

California State University, Dominguez Hills offers a variety of online programs suitable for different types of learners. Presently, the institution boasts eight online programs, reaching 9,243 distance learners across the globe.

Of its online programs, two are bachelor's programs, and six are master's programs. Enrollees benefit from a supportive online learning community. They can connect with classmates, faculty, and staff through a virtual classroom setting. While enrolled, students gain industry-relevant knowledge through coursework, internships, and other learning opportunities. Degree candidates can receive guidance throughout their studies by connecting with academic advising, career services, and other institutional resources.

Interested applicants should meet with the admissions office to learn more about program requirements. To offset degree costs, students can inquire about funding opportunities through the Office of Financial Aid. According to the institution, 92% of all incoming enrollees receive some form of financial aid.

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#16

Biola University

School Information
Location La Mirada, California
Admission Rate 70%
Graduation Rate 74%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 36% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Biola University provides flexible online study options for learners from all walks of life. Online enrollees can connect with 2,206 students across several online programs.

Undergraduates can enroll in one of five bachelor's programs, with graduate students benefiting from five online master's programs. Enrollees can connect with faculty, peers, and staff through a virtual learning environment, where they receive support and guidance. Degree-seekers complete foundational and advanced classes relevant to their field of interest. They can pursue experiential learning opportunities, like internships, to deepen their knowledge. Degree candidates can receive guidance throughout their studies by connecting with academic advising, career services, and other institutional resources.

Prospective applicants should connect with the financial aid office or their program of interest to learn about degree requirements, application materials, and other information. Eligible students can benefit from scholarships, fellowships, and other forms of financial aid. Of all students, 100% benefit from financial aid.

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#17

California State University, San Marcos

School Information
Location San Marcos, California
Admission Rate 62%
Graduation Rate 54%
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 33% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

From its main campus in San Marcos, California State University, San Marcos provides top-ranked online programs to 5,261 distance learners. 

A leader in online education, the college offers two online bachelor’s programs and one online master’s program. Distance learners join a supportive online learning community, connecting with fellow classmates and faculty through a virtual classroom setting. Degree-seekers can individualize their studies through course electives, degree minors, and experiential learning opportunities like internships. Enrollees can also access institutional resources such as career services and academic advising, to receive academic and career guidance.

Prospective applicants should schedule an appointment with the admissions office to discuss application materials and degree requirements. Eligible students can apply scholarships, fellowships, and federal financial aid towards their learning expenses. The college reports that 81% of learners receive some form of financial aid.

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#18

National University

School Information
Location La Jolla, California
Admission Rate 89%
Graduation Rate 29%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 53% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

La Jolla-based National University provides online degree options for distance learners worldwide. To date, the institution supports 98 online programs, reaching 8,769 remote learners.

Undergraduates can choose from one of 40 online bachelor's programs, with graduate students benefiting from 41 online master's programs. Students attend lectures and complete coursework through a virtual classroom environment, alongside classmates and faculty. Enrollees gain industry-relevant knowledge through coursework, internships, and other learning opportunities. Students can also benefit from personal and professional development by connecting with academic advising, career services, and other institutional resources.

Prospective students should meet with the admissions office to discuss admission requirements. Eligible students can benefit from scholarships, fellowships, and other forms of financial aid. An average of 33% of all enrollees receive financial aid during their studies.

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#19

Humboldt State University

School Information
Location Arcata, California
Admission Rate 92%
Graduation Rate 49%
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 29% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Arcata-based Humboldt State University guarantees flexibility through its online programs. Students near and far can join Humboldt State University's growing online learning community of 2,111 distance learners, across two remote programs.

The college supports one remote bachelor's program and one remote master's program. Distance learners join a supportive online learning community, connecting with fellow classmates and faculty through a virtual classroom setting. Degree candidates gain knowledge in and outside of the classroom through coursework, research projects, and internships. Throughout their program, distance learners can connect with academic advising, career services, and other institutional resources to prepare them for success after college.

Prospective applicants should connect with the financial aid office or their program of interest to learn about degree requirements, application materials, and other information. To defray degree costs, students can speak with the financial aid office to explore funding opportunities. The institution notes that 83% of incoming students receive financial aid awards.

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#20

Antioch University-Los Angeles

School Information
Location Culver City, California
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 6% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Antioch University-Los Angeles, located in Culver City, guarantees flexibility through its online programs.

Students connect with faculty and staff through a virtual classroom environment, while learning alongside classmates and attending remote lectures. Degree candidates complete industry-relevant coursework, with the option to pursue internships, research projects, and other learning opportunities in preparation for their future career. Students can benefit from learning resources, academic advising, and career services throughout their studies.

Applicants should consult the admissions office to discuss degree requirements and application materials. Eligible students can benefit from scholarships, fellowships, and other forms of financial aid. The percentage of admitted students who receive financial aid is unknown.

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