2020 Best Online Colleges in California

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These are the best online colleges in California. Golden Gate University is ranked #1 with an annual tuition of $20,460 and a reported alumni salary of $93,100. Ranked #2, California State University-Chico offers a tuition rate of $17,622 and has the second-highest alumni salary, at $92,700. California Baptist University offers 30 online bachelor's degrees, the most of any school on the list. Students at CBU can study business administration, psychology, cybersecurity, public health, education, and more.

Alumni salaries were provided by PayScale. View our methodology for more details or learn more about SR Education Group. To see all online schools in California, view our comprehensive list.

Rank School Annual Tuition Median Salary
#1 #1 $20,460 $93,100
#2 #2 $17,622 $92,700
#3 #3 $7,510 $90,100
#4 #4 $13,455 $90,700
#5 #5 $12,750 $90,100
#6 #6 $6,984 $88,800
#7 #7 $6,972 $86,100
#8 #8 $7,650 $86,100
#9 #9 $6,589 $85,000
#10 #10 $5,742 $83,200
#11 #11 $5,742 $81,800
#12 #12 $41,592 $85,000
#13 #13 $9,600 $79,800
#14 #14 $5,742 $78,200
#15 #15 $14,850 $79,000
#16 #16 $11,340 $78,400
#17 #17 $19,350 $78,200
#18 #18 $9,867 $76,200
#19 #19 $36,350 $77,300
#20 #20 $36,301 $75,900
#21 #21 $18,390 $68,000
#22 #22 $15,750 $65,000
#23 #23 $17,456 $62,500
#24 #24 $13,500 $55,200
#25 #25 $14,012 $52,300
Salary data provided by Payscale Logo.

2020 Online Colleges in California Ranking Details

For each school, we conducted manual research to provide prospective students with more details about the schools' online programs. Explore online degrees offered and accreditation information below.

  • Annual Tuition: $20,460
  • Median Salary: $93,100
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: San Francisco
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Golden Gate University (GGU) offers a broad range of online certificates, undergraduate, and graduate degree programs across a variety of academic areas. Programs are available in subjects such as accounting, business analytics, management, finance, financial planning, general studies, human resources, international business, IT management, law, leadership, marketing, project management, psychology, public administration, supply chain management, and taxation. Courses are delivered through the Moodle eLearning online learning platform. Distance learners access the online learning platform, transcripts, account balances, course records, and other information through GGU’s web portal, GGU4YOU.  Struggling students are encouraged to utilize free online and in-person writing and math tutoring assistance.

Online Associate Degrees (1)

Online Bachelor's Degrees (22)

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Online Master's Degrees (56)

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Online Certificate Programs (36)

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  • Annual Tuition: $17,622
  • Median Salary: $92,700
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Chico
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California State University-Chico (CSU Chico) offers eight online degrees across the academic areas of agricultural education, liberal studies, nursing, religious studies, social science, and sociology. Courses are delivered through the Blackboard Learn online learning platform. CSU-Chico hosts its own web portal that gives distance learners access to student webmail, grades, class schedules, recorded workshops, and more. Additional student support resources include academic advising, career counseling, financial planning, and technical support. CSU Chico provides a flexible learning environment, which allows students to combine distance learning with on-campus, special session, summer session, and winter session learning to meet their program requirements.

  • Annual Tuition: $7,510
  • Median Salary: $90,100
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: San Diego
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San Diego State University (SDSU) offers eight online degree programs across several academic areas, including business administration, educational leadership, hospitality and tourism, public administration, and public health. SDSU also offers online career advancement and self-enrichment courses in several areas, including accounting, management, and web design. Most classes offer free orientation programs so that students are prepared for technology requirements and class assignment schedules. Courses are delivered through the Blackboard online learning platform. Student support resources at SDSU include access to its WebPortal, where distance learners can retrieve their grades, transcripts, and registration information. 
 

  • Annual Tuition: $13,455
  • Median Salary: $90,700
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Loma Linda
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Loma Linda University (LLU) offers over 25 online certificate, graduate, and undergraduate programs across several academic areas, including health care administration, nutrition, respiratory care, nursing, public health, and therapy. Courses are delivered through the Blackboard online learning platform. LLU hosts its own dedicated web portal, which gives distance learners access to student webmail, grades, transcripts, and other materials. This Seventh-day Adventist institution bases its education model on Christian values, so programs include biblical elements and students are encouraged to view online church services. LLU has employed a task force to evaluate the school’s future digital needs and make sure their programs are able to meet expectations; meaningful adjustments are expected to be made once the six-month evaluation is complete. 

Online Bachelor's Degrees (8)

Online Master's Degrees (15)

Online Doctoral Degrees (14)

Online Certificate Programs (8)

  • Annual Tuition: $12,750
  • Median Salary: $90,100
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Sacramento
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California State University-Sacramento (CSU Sacramento) offers four online degree programs in areas such as accounting, criminal justice, and career and technical studies. Courses are delivered through the Blackboard Learn online learning platform. CSU Sacramento hosts its own web portal, My Sac State, that gives distance learners access to student webmail, grades, class schedules, and other information. Additional student support resources include academic advising and career center services. CSU Sacramento offers affordable tuition and access to job opportunities with some of the most influential public and private institutions in the U.S.  

  • Annual Tuition: $6,984
  • Median Salary: $88,800
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Hayward
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California State University-East Bay (CSU East Bay) offers over a dozen online graduate and undergraduate programs across several academic disciplines, including business administration, education, women’s studies, health care, hospitality, and human development. Their online bachelor's in business administration is available with several concentrations, including finance, operations and supply chain management. Courses are delivered through the Blackboard online learning platform. Student support resources include career counseling, financial planning, and technical support. Prospective students can take an online readiness assessment to determine if distance learning suits them. Students also have access to the on-campus Learning Commons, a study space in the Library Lower Mall with 83 desktop computers and five workstations with assistive technologies.  

Online Bachelor's Degrees (16)

Online Master's Degrees (5)

Online Certificate Programs (1)

  • Annual Tuition: $6,972
  • Median Salary: $86,100
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Northridge
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California State University-Northridge (CSUN) offers online degree programs and certificates in several academic areas, including assistive technology engineering, educational administration, humanities, communicative disorders, liberal studies, public administration, public health, nursing, social work, and speech-language pathology. The programs are designed for working adults and courses are accessed through the Canvas online learning platform. Students work in cohorts to develop a strong learning community with their peers and instructors. CSUN hosts its own web portal, myNorthridge, which gives distance learners access to student resources, like academic advising and course records.   

Online Bachelor's Degrees (3)

Online Master's Degrees (16)

Online Certificate Programs (7)

  • Annual Tuition: $7,650
  • Median Salary: $86,100
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Fullerton
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California State University-Fullerton (CSU Fullerton) offers online certificate, graduate, and undergraduate degree programs across several academic areas, including business administration, education, environmental engineering, humanities and social sciences, information technology, statistics, human resources, sociology, and software engineering. Over 10,000 courses are also offered online through Cal State Online, so students needing to fulfill a California State University general requirement will find numerous options to fit their schedule. Courses are delivered through the Blackboard online learning platform. CSUF strives to prepare a diverse student population to excel in their careers and become leaders in their communities.  

Online Bachelor's Degrees (3)

Online Master's Degrees (29)

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Online Certificate Programs (6)

  • Annual Tuition: $6,589
  • Median Salary: $85,000
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Fresno
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California State University-Fresno (CSU Fresno) offers several online certificate, undergraduate, and graduate programs in fields such as nursing, reading, and language arts instruction, liberal arts, and water resource management. Courses are delivered through the Canvas online learning platform. CSU Fresno hosts its own dedicated web portal, My Fresno State, and issues Bulldog student ID cards to its distance learners. Full-time CSU Fresno students have access to online courses at other CSU campuses through the CSU Fully Online program. Students are given an online test to determine if they're ready to begin learning at a distance, and student admission is dependent on whether or not they have had at least one academic semester spent on campus.  

  • Annual Tuition: $5,742
  • Median Salary: $83,200
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Arcata
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Humboldt State University (HSU) offers several online certificate, undergraduate, and graduate programs in fields, including leadership studies, teaching, geospatial, and social work. Courses are accessed through the Canvas online learning platform. Student support resources include access to the myHumboldt student web portal, academic technology tools, career counseling, financial planning, and tech support. Located roughly 275 miles north of San Francisco, HSU offers an affordable, high-quality education that promotes understanding of social, economic, and environmental issues.  

  • Annual Tuition: $5,742
  • Median Salary: $81,800
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Turlock
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California State University-Stanislaus offers several online graduate and undergraduate degree programs in the fields of business administration and nursing. Popular online degrees at Stanislaus State include an MBA with either a general concentration or one in finance. Courses are accessed through the Blackboard online learning platform. Stanislaus State hosts its own web portal, myStanState, which allows distance learners to create to-do lists, access their account balance, and view class schedules. Additional student support resources include access to the Academic Success Center, career services, and technical support. Distance learners also receive a Warrior student ID card. Students can take an online learning readiness assessment, which allows them to gauge how prepared they are for distance learning.  

  • Annual Tuition: $41,592
  • Median Salary: $85,000
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Los Angeles
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Mount Saint Mary's University-CA (MSMU) offers online degrees in fields such as business administration, criminology, liberal arts, pre-health science, and creative writing. The school also offers an online certificate in nursing. Courses are delivered through the Moodle online learning platform. MSMU hosts myMSMU, a Microsoft-driven web portal that gives distance learners access to student resources, like school webmail, transcripts, and class schedules. Each student is assigned a success coach that will assist them throughout their academic career with any scheduling issues or learning struggles.   

  • Annual Tuition: $9,600
  • Median Salary: $79,800
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Bakersfield
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California State University-Bakersfield (CSU Bakersfield) offers online certificate, undergraduate, and graduate degree programs in fields such as administration, communications, nursing, education, and management. Courses are delivered through the Blackboard online learning platform. Full-time CSU Bakersfield students have access to online courses at other CSU campuses through the CSU Fully Online program. Before completing registration, students must take a tutorial to learn how to use online resources. CSU Bakersfield has a low student-to-faculty ratio and is known for its cutting-edge research.  

  • Annual Tuition: $5,742
  • Median Salary: $78,200
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Camarillo
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California State University-Channel Islands offers an online bachelor's degree in business and a certificate in business administration through their online campus, Extended University. Before beginning distance learning, students must have completed at least one semester of on-campus classes at CSU Channel Islands. Courses are delivered through the Canvas online learning platform. CSU Channel Islands hosts its own web portal, myCI, that gives distance learners access to resources, like student webmail, grades, and transcripts. Community Education classes are also offered online for students that are just interested in learning “for fun.”   

Online Bachelor's Degrees (1)

Online Certificate Programs (1)

  • Annual Tuition: $14,850
  • Median Salary: $79,000
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Irvine
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Concordia University-Irvine (CUI) offers over a dozen online graduate and undergraduate degree programs and several certificates across academic areas, including business administration, healthcare management, counseling, organizational psychology, executive coaching and consultation, international studies, nursing, and theology. Courses are delivered through the Blackboard online learning platform. Student support resources include academic advising and career services. CUI's ‘real time’, synchronous learning experiences comprise a certain percentage of every online course, bringing distance learners face-to-face with faculty.

Online Bachelor's Degrees (7)

Online Master's Degrees (18)

Online Doctoral Degrees (1)

Online Certificate Programs (6)

  • Annual Tuition: $11,340
  • Median Salary: $78,400
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: San Bernardino
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California State University-San Bernardino (CSUSB) offers six online graduate and undergraduate degree programs and several certificates in academic areas, including business administration, criminal justice, education, health, public administration, and social work. Courses are delivered through the Blackboard online learning platform. CSUSB hosts its own web portal, myCoyote, which gives distance learners access to student resources, like transcripts, account balances, and course records. Additional student support resources include academic advising, a technology support center, and free software, including Microsoft 365, Portfolium, Zoom, SAS, and ESET Antivirus.  

  • Annual Tuition: $19,350
  • Median Salary: $78,200
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: La Verne
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The University of La Verne offers online graduate and undergraduate degree programs across several academic areas, including accounting, finance, business administration, management, criminology, and public administration. Courses are delivered through the Blackboard online learning platform and class sizes are kept small to allow for individualized support. The University of La Verne hosts its own web portal, MyLaVerne, which gives distance learners access to student webmail and class schedules. Additional student support resources include academic advising, career services, and technical support. An online learning readiness assessment is available for students to help determine if distance learning is right for them.  

Online Associate Degrees (1)

Online Bachelor's Degrees (6)

Online Master's Degrees (14)

  • Annual Tuition: $9,867
  • Median Salary: $76,200
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: San Marcos
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California State University-San Marcos, one of the newest and fastest-growing schools in the CSU system, offers online graduate and undergraduate degree programs dedicated to enhancing the cultural, economic, and social development of the San Diego region. Bachelor's and master's degrees are offered in the fields of education, health, cybersecurity, fire protection services, nursing, and sociology. Courses are delivered through the Moodle online learning platform. Full-time CSU San Marcos students have access to online courses at other CSU campuses through the CSU Fully Online program. All students who plan on taking online courses must complete at least one on-campus semester at CSU San Marcos before they can enroll.   

  • Annual Tuition: $36,350
  • Median Salary: $77,300
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: San Diego
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Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU) offers online undergraduate and graduate degree programs for distance learners interested in organizational management, nursing, and kinesiology. The school also offers online certificate programs in subjects such as adapted physical education, autism, and instructional design with technology. Courses are delivered through the Canvas online learning platform. A private, liberal arts school located in San Diego, PLNU provides challenging coursework, hands-on experience, and professional resources for distance learners. While all education is online, students are required to spend at least one night a week in a classroom with their peers but locations and times are flexible. 

  • Annual Tuition: $36,301
  • Median Salary: $75,900
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Belmont
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Notre Dame de Namur University (NDNU) offers online graduate and undergraduate degree programs in the areas of criminal justice, business administration, public administration, and English-language instruction. Courses are delivered through the Moodle online learning platform. NDNU hosts its own campus portal that gives distance learners access to a campus ID card, student webmail, grades, and other materials. Though it is a Catholic institution, NDNU welcomes students of all faiths. Financial aid and veteran and active military benefits are available.  

  • Annual Tuition: $18,390
  • Median Salary: $68,000
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Online
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California Baptist University (CBU) offers more than 40 online degrees across several academic areas, including business administration, public administration, accounting, Christian ministries, communication, criminal justice, cybersecurity, early childhood studies, healthcare administration and management, human services, marketing, organizational leadership, psychology, and sociology. Courses are delivered through the Blackboard online learning platform. Most classes are asynchronous, allowing students the flexibility to balance other responsibilities. CBU offers a Christ-centered education that brings spiritual and social opportunities into the student’s educational experience. Distance learners are assigned a “One-Stop” advisor who will work with them throughout their program.  

Online Bachelor's Degrees (30)

Online Master's Degrees (19)

Online Doctoral Degrees (3)

  • Annual Tuition: $15,750
  • Median Salary: $65,000
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Seaside
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California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) offers several online graduate and undergraduate degree programs in the academic areas of business administration, computer science, nursing, and instructional science and technology. Courses are accessed through the Blackboard iLearn online learning platform. Student support resources include access to the school’s library, advising, and financial planning. Students are encouraged to partake in online tutoring, which lets distance learners upload their work for review by a tutor who will record a short video with feedback. Distance learners also have access to lectures, dance, jazz, theater and film performances at the CSUMB World Theater. CSUMB boasts a low student-to-faculty ratio as well as varied educational and instructional approaches.  

  • Annual Tuition: $17,456
  • Median Salary: $62,500
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Palo Alto
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Palo Alto University (PAU) offers online undergraduate and graduate degrees that are focused on the disciplines of counseling and psychology. Bachelor's degrees in psychology are available with a focus on psychology and social action, or business psychology. A master's in counseling degree is available with an emphasis in clinical mental health, or marriage, family and child. Courses are delivered through the Canvas online learning platform. All online classes at PAU include weekly live video-conferencing to give distance learners the chance to interact with their professors and classmates. Student support resources include career counseling and technical support. Online students at PAU also have access to all residential student resources, online career fairs and orientation programs, and doctoral-level assistant instructors and teaching assistants.   

  • Annual Tuition: $13,500
  • Median Salary: $55,200
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Fullerton
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Hope International University (HIU) offers a variety of online graduate and undergraduate degree programs and certificates across several academic areas, including business administration, criminal justice, Christian ministry, teaching, and human development. Courses are delivered through the Canvas online learning platform. HIU hosts its own web portal, myHIU, which gives distance learners access to Canvas as well as student resources like student webmail and the school library. Additional student support resources include career development and technical support. Students interested in HIU's online programs are encouraged to test a course using their free portal to help determine if distance learning is a good fit for them.  

Online Associate Degrees (1)

Online Bachelor's Degrees (16)

Online Master's Degrees (56)

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Online Certificate Programs (9)

  • Annual Tuition: $14,012
  • Median Salary: $52,300
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC and TRACS
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Online
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San Diego Christian College (SDCC) offers busy students a flexible, high-quality, Christian education. Multiple online undergraduate and graduate degree programs are available in fields such as liberal studies, business management, Christian ministries, communication, human development, leadership, teaching, and psychology. Courses are accessed with a secure Microsoft login and password. SDCC hosts a Summer Online Institute, which offers complete courses during the summer months to help distance learners interested in speeding up or maintaining their graduation goals. Student support resources include career development, local and global mission trips, dedicated pastoral staff, and trained counseling services. 

Find an Online Degree:

Comprehensive List of Accredited Online Schools in California (138)

There are over 130 accredited schools in California offering online degree programs. Among these schools are non-profit public institutions, such as those in the California State University and University of California Systems, as well as multiple Christian-affiliated private schools. Students looking for a bachelor's or master's degree will find a wide variety of options at Ashford University, including programs in business, accounting, and education. California Southern University also offers an array of degree options at all levels with an 76% recommend rate from alumni.

At a Glance:

  • There are 53 affordable online schools in California with tuitions under $15,000 per year.
  • Three schools in California stand out as being military-friendly: San Diego State University, Trident International University, and the University of Southern California.
  • California has the most post-secondary educational institutions in the country, with over 600 colleges and universities.

References

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Recommendation rate refers to the percent of students who said they would recommend this school based on reviews submitted to our partner site, GradReports.com.
This indicates that a school has an annual tuition of $15,000 or less as reported to the National Center for Education Statistics or based on the school's website.