Comprised of 72 districts and 114 colleges, the California Community Colleges make up the largest higher education system in the nation—providing a gateway to higher education for over 2 million students per year. Community Colleges offer associate's degrees, prepare students for transfer to four-year institutions, provide opportunities for lifelong learning, and train the workforce that sustains California’s economy.
The largest system of higher education in the country
- California Community Colleges have the highest rate of public attendance of all community college systems in the nation.
- One in five of all community college students nationwide are enrolled in a California Community College.
- Three out of every ten Californians age 18-24 are currently enrolled in a California Community College.
The primary gateway to higher education, serving all Californians
- Over 67 percent of California Community College students are people of diverse ethnic backgrounds and roughly 53 percent are female.
- Nearly 42 percent of California veterans receiving GI Bill educational benefits attend a California Community College.
- Over 40 percent of California Community College students are age 25 or older and are already working adults.
California's largest workforce training provider
- Serving over 2 million students annually, California Community Colleges offer associate degrees and short-term job training certificates in more than 175 fields.
- More than 100,000 individuals are trained each year in industry-specific workforce skills.
- California Community Colleges train 80 percent of all California firefighters, law enforcement personnel, and emergency medical technicians.
- Seventy percent of California nurses received their education at a California Community College.
A pathway to four-year universities
- Almost 51 percent of graduates of the California State University system and 29 percent of the University of California system transferred from a California Community College.
- California Community Colleges are a cost-effective alternative for students who cannot afford to go to a four-year university all four years.
- Transfer students from the California Community Colleges to the University of California system currently account for 48 percent of UC bachelor’s degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
A good investment
- For every dollar California invests to get students in and through college, the state's economy receives a $4.50 net return on investment.
- The California Community College system is the state’s most cost-effective system of education – the revenue needed to support one full-time student is slightly more than $5,000 per year.
- Students receiving a degree or certificate from a California Community College nearly double their earnings within three years.
- The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that occupations that require an associate degree will grow by 18 percent through 2020 – faster than the new job growth for those with a bachelor’s degree.