2023 Best Schools for the Money (No Aid) in California

165 Colleges
$6,570 Avg Undergrad Tuition & Fees*
$15,784 Avg Room & Board*

It's not easy to decide which school to attend when you have so many options available. At College Factual, we're committed to helping you make that decision by providing information such as that found in our Best Colleges for the Money in California ranking.

See What's Included in This Value Report:

Finding Your Best College Match

We analyzed 165 schools across California to determine which have the best value programs. To come up with this ranking of the best value schools, we look at factors that are all objective measurements. We explain more about what we look at and why we do so below.

Our Methodology

To determine the value of a school in our Best Colleges for the Money in California ranking, we first add average tuition, fees, and room and board costs (without aid) together. But, a school that excels in providing value for your money must also be a great school overall as well.

To take this into account we include a college's overall Best Colleges ranking which itself looks at a host of various factors like degree completion, educational resources, student body caliber and post-graduation earnings for the school as a whole.

We go into more detail on these factors on our best value ranking methodology page.

More Rankings to View

Keep scrolling for the top schools in this ranking or select one of the other rankings methods below.

Want to see the list of best value schools for families with specific income levels or whether or not aid is being applied? Click on one of the tiles above. You may also want to narrow this list by location to find the best value schools nearest you. Also, you may want to check out our other college rankings.

If you know what major you want to study, check out our list of the best value schools by major. If you're interested in other degree levels, you can view one of the lists below.

Best Value Schools (No Aid) in California

Learn more about these excellent schools below:

#1

United States University

San Diego, California

United States University tops this year’s ranking as the best value (no aid) school in California for overall quality. USU is located in San Diego, California and has a small student population. It is a private for-profit school.

In addition to being included on this ranking as a good value, United States University is ranked #53 for quality in the state of California. The average cost for undergraduates to attend the school if you don’t receive any aid is $12,019 a year. The average cost to attend the school for graduate students if you don’t receive any aid is $11,969 a year.

Full United States University Value Report

#2

University of California - Los Angeles

Los Angeles, California

You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend University of California - Los Angeles. It ranked #2 on our 2023 Best Colleges for the Money in California list. UCLA is a public institution located in Los Angeles, California.

Not only is University of California - Los Angeles a great value, but it is also ranked #6 in California for overall quality. The average cost without aid for the school is $30,021 a year for undergraduates. The average cost to attend the school for graduate students if you don’t receive any aid is $29,799 a year.

Full University of California - Los Angeles Value Report

#3

Foothill College

Los Altos Hills, California

The quality degree programs at Foothill College helped the school earn the #3 place on this year’s ranking of Best Colleges for the Money in California. This fairly large public school is located in Los Altos Hills, California.

Not only is Foothill College a great value, but it is also ranked #23 in California for overall quality. The average cost without aid for the school is $21,227 a year for undergraduates. The average cost to attend the school for graduate students if you don’t receive any aid is $19,662 a year.

Learn More About Value at Foothill College

#5

West Valley College

Saratoga, California

The quality degree programs at West Valley College helped the school earn the #5 place on this year’s ranking of Best Colleges for the Money in California. West Valley College is a medium-sized public school located in Saratoga, California.

In addition to being included on this ranking as a good value, West Valley College is ranked #63 for quality in the state of California. The average cost without aid for the school is $14,783 a year for undergraduates. The average cost without aid for the school is $13,293 per year for graduate students.

Full West Valley College Value Report

#6

Coastline Community College

Fountain Valley, California

With a ranking of #6, Coastline Community College did quite well on the 2023 Best Colleges for the Money in California list. Coastline Community College is a medium-sized public school located in Fountain Valley, California.

Coastline Community College has the honor of being ranked #43 in California for overall quality on top of being a good value. The average cost without aid for the school is $17,927 a year for undergraduates. The average cost without aid for the school is $16,757 per year for graduate students.

Full Coastline Community College Value Report

#7

Golden West College

Huntington Beach, California

Golden West College ranked #7 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in California list. Golden West College is a fairly large public school located in Huntington Beach, California.

In addition to being included on this ranking as a good value, Golden West College is ranked #41 for quality in the state of California. The average cost for undergraduates to attend the school if you don’t receive any aid is $18,439 a year. The average cost without aid for the school is $17,253 per year for graduate students.

Learn More About Value at Golden West College

California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo ranked #8 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in California list. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is a public institution located in San Luis Obispo, California.

In addition to being included on this ranking as a good value, California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo is ranked #16 for quality in the state of California. The average cost without aid for the school is $26,527 a year for undergraduates. The average cost to attend the school for graduate students if you don’t receive any aid is $27,961 a year.

Full California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo Value Report

University of California - Berkeley came in at #9 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for the Money in California ranking. Located in Berkeley, California, the school is a large public institution.

Not only is University of California - Berkeley a great value, but it is also ranked #3 in California for overall quality. The average cost without aid for the school is $34,462 a year for undergraduates. The average cost to attend the school for graduate students if you don’t receive any aid is $34,396 a year.

Full University of California - Berkeley Value Report

California State University - Long Beach ranked #10 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in California list. This large public school is located in Long Beach, California.

California State University - Long Beach has the honor of being ranked #33 in California for overall quality on top of being a good value. The average cost without aid for the school is $20,784 a year for undergraduates. The average cost to attend the school for graduate students if you don’t receive any aid is $22,218 a year.

Full California State University - Long Beach Value Report

University of California - San Diego came in at #11 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for the Money in California ranking. La Jolla, California is the setting for this large institution of higher learning. It is a public school.

Not only is University of California - San Diego a great value, but it is also ranked #9 in California for overall quality. The average cost for undergraduates to attend the school if you don’t receive any aid is $30,845 a year. The average cost without aid for the school is $29,709 per year for graduate students.

Learn More About Value at University of California - San Diego

California State University - Northridge did quite well in the 2023 Best Colleges for the Money in California ranking, coming in at #12. Located in Northridge, California, the school is a large public institution.

California State University - Northridge has the honor of being ranked #51 in California for overall quality on top of being a good value. The average cost without aid for the school is $18,545 a year for undergraduates. The average cost to attend the school for graduate students if you don’t receive any aid is $19,979 a year.

Learn More About Value at California State University - Northridge

#13

Santa Rosa Junior College

Santa Rosa, California

Santa Rosa Junior College came in at #13 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for the Money in California ranking. SRJC is a fairly large public school situated in Santa Rosa, California.

Not only is Santa Rosa Junior College a great value, but it is also ranked #45 in California for overall quality. The average cost without aid for the school is $19,922 a year for undergraduates. The average cost to attend the school for graduate students if you don’t receive any aid is $18,594 a year.

Read full value report on Santa Rosa Junior College

#14

Chaffey College

Rancho Cucamonga, California

Chaffey College ranked #14 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in California list. Rancho Cucamonga, California is the setting for this fairly large institution of higher learning. It is a public school.

Chaffey College has the honor of being ranked #57 in California for overall quality on top of being a good value. The average cost for undergraduates to attend the school if you don’t receive any aid is $18,436 a year. The average cost to attend the school for graduate students if you don’t receive any aid is $17,252 a year.

Full Chaffey College Value Report

#15

University of California - Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara, California

With a ranking of #15, University of California - Santa Barbara did quite well on the 2023 Best Colleges for the Money in California list. UCSB is a public institution located in Santa Barbara, California.

In addition to being included on this ranking as a good value, University of California - Santa Barbara is ranked #10 for quality in the state of California. The average cost without aid for the school is $31,116 a year for undergraduates. The average cost without aid for the school is $30,280 per year for graduate students.

Learn More About Value at University of California - Santa Barbara

#16

Saddleback College

Mission Viejo, California

With a ranking of #16, Saddleback College did quite well on the 2023 Best Colleges for the Money in California list. Saddleback College is a fairly large public school situated in Mission Viejo, California.

In addition to being included on this ranking as a good value, Saddleback College is ranked #58 for quality in the state of California. The average cost for undergraduates to attend the school if you don’t receive any aid is $18,586 a year. The average cost to attend the school for graduate students if you don’t receive any aid is $17,254 a year.

Full Saddleback College Value Report

California State University - Fresno came in at #17 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for the Money in California ranking. Located in Fresno, California, the school is a large public institution.

California State University - Fresno has the honor of being ranked #68 in California for overall quality on top of being a good value. The average cost for undergraduates to attend the school if you don’t receive any aid is $17,411 a year. The average cost without aid for the school is $18,845 per year for graduate students.

Read full value report on California State University - Fresno

#18

Pasadena City College

Pasadena, California

Pasadena City College landed the #18 spot on the 2023 Best Colleges for the Money in California ranking. Pasadena City College is a large public school located in Pasadena, California.

Not only is Pasadena City College a great value, but it is also ranked #66 in California for overall quality. The average cost without aid for the school is $17,792 a year for undergraduates. The average cost to attend the school for graduate students if you don’t receive any aid is $16,580 a year.

Full Pasadena City College Value Report

#19

Fielding Graduate University

Santa Barbara, California

Fielding Graduate University came in at #19 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for the Money in California ranking. Fielding is located in Santa Barbara, California and has a small student population. It is a private not-for-profit school.

Not only is Fielding Graduate University a great value, but it is also ranked #13 in California for overall quality. The average cost for undergraduates to attend the school if you don’t receive any aid is $11,000 a year. The average cost to attend the school for graduate students if you don’t receive any aid is $29,718 a year.

Read full value report on Fielding Graduate University

University of California - Davis landed the #20 spot on the 2023 Best Colleges for the Money in California ranking. Located in Davis, California, the school is a large public institution.

Not only is University of California - Davis a great value, but it is also ranked #11 in California for overall quality. The average cost for undergraduates to attend the school if you don’t receive any aid is $31,663 a year. The average cost without aid for the school is $30,626 per year for graduate students.

Learn More About Value at University of California - Davis

University of California - Irvine did quite well in the 2023 Best Colleges for the Money in California ranking, coming in at #21. This large public school is located in Irvine, California.

In addition to being included on this ranking as a good value, University of California - Irvine is ranked #14 for quality in the state of California. The average cost for undergraduates to attend the school if you don’t receive any aid is $30,644 a year. The average cost without aid for the school is $30,225 per year for graduate students.

Learn More About Value at University of California - Irvine

#22

Los Angeles Valley College

Valley Glen, California

Los Angeles Valley College landed the #22 spot on the 2023 Best Colleges for the Money in California ranking. LAVC is a public institution located in Valley Glen, California.

Not only is Los Angeles Valley College a great value, but it is also ranked #73 in California for overall quality. The average cost without aid for the school is $18,491 a year for undergraduates. The average cost to attend the school for graduate students if you don’t receive any aid is $17,253 a year.

Read full value report on Los Angeles Valley College

#23

Los Angeles Pierce College

Woodland Hills, California

Los Angeles Pierce College landed the #23 spot on the 2023 Best Colleges for the Money in California ranking. Located in Woodland Hills, California, the school is a fairly large public institution.

Not only is Los Angeles Pierce College a great value, but it is also ranked #74 in California for overall quality. The average cost for undergraduates to attend the school if you don’t receive any aid is $18,491 a year. The average cost to attend the school for graduate students if you don’t receive any aid is $17,253 a year.

Learn More About Value at Los Angeles Pierce College

#24

San Jose State University

San Jose, California

San Jose State University ranked #24 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in California list. San Jose State University is a large public school located in San Jose, California.

San Jose State University has the honor of being ranked #26 in California for overall quality on top of being a good value. The average cost without aid for the school is $25,212 a year for undergraduates. The average cost to attend the school for graduate students if you don’t receive any aid is $26,646 a year.

Learn More About Value at San Jose State University

#25

Santa Monica College

Santa Monica, California

Santa Monica College came in at #25 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for the Money in California ranking. Located in Santa Monica, California, the school is a large public institution.

In addition to being included on this ranking as a good value, Santa Monica College is ranked #115 for quality in the state of California. The average cost for undergraduates to attend the school if you don’t receive any aid is $12,702 a year. The average cost to attend the school for graduate students if you don’t receive any aid is $11,556 a year.

Read full value report on Santa Monica College

Best Value Schools (No Aid) in the Far Western US Region

View Best Value Schools (No Aid) Nationwide >

All Majors and Fields of Study >

Honorable Mentions

These schools also performed well in our Best Colleges for the Money in California ranking:

Rank College Location Value
26 Orange Coast College Costa Mesa, CA Value Report
27 Los Angeles Harbor College Wilmington, CA Value Report
28 Fresno City College Fresno, CA Value Report
29 San Francisco State University San Francisco, CA Value Report
30 San Joaquin Delta College Stockton, CA Value Report
31 Sacramento City College Sacramento, CA Value Report
32 University of Phoenix - California Costa Mesa, CA Value Report
33 Southwestern College Chula Vista, CA Value Report
34 California State University - San Marcos San Marcos, CA Value Report

More Rankings >

Notes and References

Footnotes

*These averages are for the top 25 schools only.

  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Information about the national average student loan default rate is from the U.S. Department of Education and refers to data about the 2016 borrower cohort tracking period for which the cohort default rate (CDR) was 10.1%.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

Find Schools Near You