Learn More about the California Community Colleges

Facts and figures about the country's largest system of higher education


  • Sacramento City College building on UC Davis campusThe California Community Colleges system of 72 districts, 116 colleges and 6 continuing education centers constitutes the largest system of higher education in the United States
  • Just under 2 million students enroll each year (compared to 671,000 in the University of California and California State University systems combined).
  • This student population represents 20% of the nation’s community college student population and 1 in 10 students in American higher education.


  • The colleges’ primary mission is to provide academic and vocational instruction for students of all ages through the first two years of undergraduate education.
  • In addition, the colleges provide remedial instruction, courses in English as a second language, adult noncredit instruction, community service courses, and workforce training.


  • The student body is broadly representative of the state’s diversity, closely matching the ethnic makeup of California’s high school graduates.
  • 40% of students access some form of financial aid.
  • Three out of 10 Californians aged 18-24 are enrolled in a community college.
  • Community college students are far more likely to be part-time (70%) than their counterparts at CSU (26%) and UC (3%).


  • Nearly a third of University of California graduates and more than half of California State University graduates got their start at a community college and transferred.
  • California Community Colleges educate 70% of nurses in California and train 80% of firefighters, law enforcement personnel, and EMTs.
  • Transfer students from the California Community Colleges to the UC system currently account for 48% of UC’s bachelor’s degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

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