Best Private Colleges in California

Attending the best private colleges in California can be a great opportunity for students looking for a unique learning opportunity. With traditionally smaller class sizes and campuses, private colleges can offer students a more personalized learning method. Not only can instructors offer more one-on-one teaching, but students will also be able to meet other like-minded peers more easily.

For this guide, we’ve created a list of California’s five best private colleges for students to consider. Each of these schools meets the following criteria:

  • An average annual cost of no more than $21,000
  • A median starting salary no lower than $35,000
  • Accredited programs by recognized bodies

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

5 Best Private Colleges in California

1. Humphreys University

4 Year; Stockton, CA
Average Annual Cost: $12,075
Humphreys University is a great school for students seeking a personalized learning method. Most of the school’s degree programs come in flexible formats, allowing you to study on-campus, online, or in hybrid environments. They also offer a wide variety of programs for students to consider, including:

  • Liberal Studies
  • Court Reporting
  • Business Administration
  • Teaching Credentials
  • Accounting
  • Community Studies

What makes Humphreys University unique is its offering of various degree options and diverse programs. Students can work towards earning master’s, bachelor’s, or associate degrees. They also have Juris doctor degree programs and certificate programs for working professionals.
Plenty of fascinating statistics speak to the success of Humphreys University’s curriculum. Some of the most interesting points include:

  • 52% of students are part-time
  • 57% of students go on to earn a bachelor’s degree
  • 82% of enrolled grad students are employed or continuing their education

2. United States University

4 Year; San Diego, CA
Average Annual Cost: $16,260
United States University is one of the many private colleges working to make post-secondary schooling more affordable. They have various payment plans, helping enrolled students afford to train in three primary areas. The current program categories the school offers include:

  • Business & Technology
  • Nursing & Health Sciences
  • Education

You’ll find many similarities between this school and other standard universities and colleges. For example, United States University offers both undergraduate and graduate degree programs. You can also find doctoral programs if you want to further your education even more.
Students can unlock various fascinating learning pathways and international students can find their pathways are made easier through United States University’s programs. You’ll be able to diversify your training with students from around the world. Additionally, United States University has plenty of scholarships and financial aid options, making school more attainable for all students, foreign and domestic.
Another massive benefit to this private college is its veteran education benefits. Military students are eligible to receive tuition assistance through various financial assistance programs.

3. Bethesda University

4 Year; Anaheim, CA
Average Annual Cost: $17,519
Bethesda University is a unique school to consider when searching for private colleges in California. It’s also one of the few based on Christianity, offering plenty of Christian-based programs to help students become religious leaders and professionals. With that said, standard programs are also available to help students earn certificates, undergraduate degrees, and graduate degrees.
Another interesting aspect of this school is they have an online degree program. With this program, you have full control of your schedule, making studying on your own time easier. It’s ideal for working professionals and young parents unable to make it to in-class instruction.
Bethesda University has plenty of great programs for students. Their current programs for undergraduate students include:

  • B.A. in Early Childhood Education
  • B.A. in Music
  • B.A. in Business Administration
  • B.A. in Religion
  • B.A. in Information Technology

When it comes to their graduate programs, most of the options pertain to religious studies. For example, students can continue to earn their M.A. in Biblical Studies or their Doctor of Ministry. However, there are also M.B.A. and M.A. in Music programs.

4. Pomona College

4 Year; Claremont, CA
Average Annual Cost: $17,949
Pomona College is one of the best and most affordable private colleges, with an assortment of programs. They have highly competitive undergraduate avenues of study paired with major and minor programs. Many of their educational pathways align with top-tier universities in the state.
There are at least over 50 different departments, programs, and areas of study at Pomona College. These various offerings cover the college’s approach on liberal arts education that is comprised of learning that is both broad and deep. A few of the diverse program offerings in Pomona College include:

  • Anthropology
  • Africana Studies
  • American Studies
  • Arabic
  • Art
  • Art History
  • Asian American Studies
  • Asian Studies
  • Astronomy
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Cognitive Science
  • Environmental Analysis
  • German Studies
  • History
  • Russian
  • Theatre
  • Sociology

This school is for you if you’re looking to enter a highly competitive job field, such as healthcare, law, or engineering. With the help of their pre-professional preparation courses, you can get guidance in applying for and pursuing these areas of study at other universities. This option is available because Pomona College does not offer specific majors for pre-engineering, pre-healthcare, or pre-law.
Students will love attending this college for several reasons, especially the smaller class sizes. If you want more personalized instruction, you’ll be glad to know most courses have an eight-to-one student-to-teacher ratio. Also, you can take a wide assortment of classes for your major, as the school offers over 600 classes annually.

5. Life Pacific University

4 Year; San Dimas, CA
Average Annual Cost: $20,583
Online college can often be preferred, especially in today’s day and age. With the flexibility and versatility of digital courses, Life Pacific University can be a great option for many students. Not only does it help your school fit into your schedule, but it also helps you get post-secondary schooling while continuing your current responsibilities.
That said, Life Pacific University offers a good blend of on-campus and online learning opportunities. Students can opt to enroll in the residential graduate program, the online undergraduate program, or the online graduate program. Like Bethesda University, Life Pacific University focuses on Christianity with college learning.
There is a diverse assortment of undergraduate programs students can consider, including:

  • Ministry
  • General Studies
  • Biblical Studies
  • Business Administration
  • Worship Arts & Media
  • Media and Communications
  • Organizational Management

As you move onto the graduate programs, you’ll find the offerings are less diverse. Currently, Life Pacific University offers six online master’s degree programs:

  • Leadership (Spanish)
  • Counseling
  • Strategic Leadership
  • Theological Studies
  • Divinity
  • Business Administration

If you’re simply interested in learning the fundamentals of a course without working towards a degree, consider these four certificate programs:

  • Chaplaincy
  • Academic Skills (Spanish)
  • Biblical Foundations
  • Biblical Foundations (Spanish)

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

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