Top 10 Community Colleges In Bay Area | 2023 Ranking

Bay Area community colleges ranks among the top 20 in U.S. in a recent WalletHub study. These colleges offer a much more affordable education option for prospective students. If you are interested, let’s guide you on securing admission and link you with the colleges that will meet your career goals.

Community colleges in Bay Area have stood as a breeding ground to successfully pursuit bachelor’s degrees, high school degrees, technical degrees, and certificates with low tuition fees and admission policies. These schools have long-standing relationships with particular CSU campuses or with UC’s. Read on and choose the schools that suit your career aspirations.

What Are Community Colleges?

Community Colleges also called Junior Colleges provide a basic 2 year degrees which stands as the first step into a four-year college bachelor’s degree. This two-year degree is called an Associate degree.

They play an important role in preparing students for the continuation of their education and workforce for those who wish to practice upon graduation.

Meanwhile, the main difference between a community college and a university is that degrees at a community college only take two years to complete, while degrees take four years to complete in a university. 

Why Should I Attend a Community College?

A community college degree can allow you to quickly enter a new field or take the next step in your current career. For example, a certificate course can be used as an entry requirement for a new career.

You can earn a salary with an associate degree. Attending a community college can afford you internship opportunities and hands-on learning in some technical fields.

Academic flexibility is another reason to attend a community college. It is especially a good option for students who are not sure of their career path or struggle with academics generally.

Community colleges in Bay area provide professional certificates in different fields that can be obtained in less time.

You can be transferred to a traditional college if you wish to attend one. So, a community college doesn’t have to be your final destination.

What is the Average Tuition of Community Colleges in Bay Area?

The tuition of community colleges is cheaper than that of regular colleges. Students who attend community colleges save a substantial amount of their education funds in case they transfer to a regular college.

The average tuition for Bay Area community colleges is around $6,125 per year for in-state students and $7,667 for out-of-state students.

For private community colleges, the average yearly tuition is around $19,721 per year.

How long does it take to study at a Community College in Bay Area?

A degree or certificate from a community college should not take more than two years to complete. The longest degree available is usually the associate degree, which needs two years or four semesters to earn. Other common programs include certificate and workforce training programs, which take a year at most and sometimes even less than that.

Family emergencies, work obligations, and financial problems can all disrupt your academic goals.

In some cases, deciding to stay longer than two years in a community college is intentional. Part-time study is a major popular decision among community college students, with about 62% of all students choosing this option.

Moreover, a standard associate’s degree comprises 60-80 credits. Full-time students usually take around 15 credits per semester, which allows them to complete the program in two years.

On the other hand, part-time students take 10 credits per semester and always take even fewer than that. This implies that it could take six or seven years to finally earn the required number of credits for an associate’s degree.

What are the Best Community Colleges In Bay Area?

Below is a list of top-ranked Community Colleges In Bay Area. Our selection criteria of these schools are the accreditation, education quality, tuition, and several other relevant factors.

Each of the schools listed below has been fully approved by the Accreditation Board for Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

We got our data from reliable sources, testimonials, interviews, and also by contacting individual schools. You will have to read further to get information on the various degree programs offered, tuition info, and program options for these schools.

  • Mills College
  • Las Positas College
  • De Anza College
  • Ohlone College
  • College of San Mateo
  • Laney College
  • Los Medanos College
  • Contra Costa College
  • Diablo Valley College
  • West Valley College

#1. Mills College

Tuition: $30,877
Accreditation:  Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

According to the College Factual rankings, Mills College tops the list of best community schools in Ohio. It is a private school undergraduate women’s college and gender non-binary students offering graduate programs for students of all genders.

Admission to Mills is selective, but holistic. The admission application process is designed to allow students to share a complete picture of their experiences, passions, activities, and what they hope to achieve, in addition to their academic accomplishments.

The core curriculum consists of 10 specific knowledge and skill areas. These curricula are designed to develop student’s analytical, communication, and critical thinking skills; encourage thoughtful creativity and innovation; and create deep-seated respect for diversity, inclusion, and social justice.

Visit School

#2. Las Positas College 

Tuition: $1,164(In-state)
Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges

Las Positas College (LPC) is a fully accredited public comprehensive community college and one of the best in the Bay Area. This school offers a wide range of courses through the department of electrical engineering.

LPC offers a two-year curriculum for students seeking career preparation, transfer to a four-year college or university, or personal enrichment. 

Students seeking admission into the school can choose from 22 occupational associate degrees, 16 transfer associate degrees, and 42 certificate programs. The school has over 10,000-day and evening student enrollment.

Visit School

#3. De Anza College

Tuition: $1,561(In-state)
Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges

De Anza College is one of the most popular community colleges located in the Bay Area. This school consistently ranks #1 or #2 in the state for the total number of students who annually transfer to University of California and California State University campuses.

De Anza features a Puente Project program that helps underserved students transfer to 4-year institutions. Puente comprises three key components: English, individualized counseling, and individual mentoring. The admission required for students in High school diploma certificate or GED.

Visit School

#4. Ohlone College

Tuition: Local tuition 1,164 USD, Domestic tuition 6,828 USD
Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges

Ohlone College (OC) is a public community college with its main campus in Fremont, California, and a second campus in Newark. The school is part of the California Community College System.

Ohlone offers a wide range of program curriculum leading to associate degrees in the Arts and Sciences equivalent to completing the two-year undergraduate coursework in many subjects.

Students can choose from 61 associate degrees leading to university transfer or careers and over 100 vocational certificate programs that provide job skill training. Ohlone also offers job training programs that can be completed in less than the two-year cycle required for a degree.

Visit School

5. College of San Mateo

Tuition: Local tuition $1,344, Domestic tuition $6,300
Accreditation:  Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

College of San Mateo (CSM) is a community college in San Mateo, California. It is one of the best community schools in the Bay Area.

The college offers a wide range of associate degree majors and certificate programs. There are approximately 10,000 days, evening, and weekend students enrolled in the school.

CSM offers transfer admission guarantees with seven of the nine UC campuses, nearly all the CSU campuses, and many private colleges in California.

Visit School

6. Laney College

Tuition: $1,257(In-state)
Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

Laney College is a public community college in Oakland, California. Laney is the largest of the four Peralta Community College District colleges, serving northern Alameda County.

The college offers certificates and credits for an Associate of Arts degree and prerequisites to transfer to four-year universities. The Western Association of Schools and Colleges accredits it.

Visit School

7. Los Medanos College

Tuition: $1,312 (In-state)
Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

Established in 1974, Los Medanos is a public community college in Pittsburg, California. The school is fully accredited and listed as one of the best community colleges in the Bay area.

Los Medanos offers several degree programs including 35 associate degrees and 23 certificates of achievement are available. There are about 3,113 undergraduate students enrolled in the school.

Popular programs at Los Medanos include Fire Academy, Honors Transfer Program, MESA, AVID, and PTEC. These programs are designed to prepare students for transfer to a four-year school.

Visit School

8. Contra Costa College

Tuition: $1,312(In-state)
Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

Fully accredited and located in San Pablo, California in the San Francisco. Contra Costa is a public college, and one of the best in the Bay Area. The school has 1,921 undergraduate students enrollment. Popular majors include Natural Sciences, Liberal Arts and Humanities, and Business.

Contra Costa college campus is also home to Middle College High School, whose students take college classes besides regular high school courses. 

Visit School

9. Diablo Valley College

Tuition: Local tuition $1,312, Domestic tuition $8,564
Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

Diablo Valley College (DVC) is a public community college with campuses in Pleasant Hill and San Ramon in Contra Costa County, California.

It is a mid-size institution with an enrollment of 7,440 undergraduate students.  The school offers various academic majors, including Liberal Arts and Humanities, Business, and Health Service Preparatory Studies.

Besides the academics, DVC offers sporting activities for men and women including basketball, cross-country, swimming and diving, tennis, water polo, baseball, football, lacrosse, track and field (men) and soccer, softball, and volleyball activities.

Visit School

10. West Valley College

Tuition: Local tuition 1,484 USD, Domestic tuition 9,434 USD
Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

West Valley is a public community college in Saratoga, California. Founded in 1963.

West Valley is committed to helping students create a future for themselves to contribute to a world that needs their talents, drive and enthusiasm. They do that by providing as much one-on-one interaction with students as possible.

The school is fully accredited and offers a wide range of academic curriculum- Associate degrees in Arts and Science.

Visit School

Other community colleges in the Bay Area include

  • Chabot College
  • College of Marin
  • San Jose City College
  • Mission College
  • Evergreen Valley College
  • Berkeley City College


Getting a degree in two years as opposed to the traditional four-year degree is possible. This is achievable when you attend a community college. Take advantage of the best community colleges on our list.

We Got Our Source From

We Also Recommend

You May Also Like