Types of Colleges

There are three segments of public higher education in California—the California Community Colleges (CCC) system, the California State University (CSU) system, and the University of California (UC) system. In addition, there are a wide range of private independent colleges. Many offer support specifically for foster youth scholars; check them out at Find Campus Support Programs.

Career Technical Education (CTE)—sometimes referred to as vocational education—is offered through the California Community Colleges system. CTE provides training for a variety of careers such as Medical Assistant, Auto Mechanic, Early Child Development Specialist, Landscape Designer, etc. CTE can quickly provide you with the skills and tools you need to find a job in your field of choice.

Types of Public Higher Education

California Community Colleges (CCC) System

  • No tests to take or minimum GPA required to attend
  • Free tuition for most foster youth
  • 113 campuses across the state
  • Lots of different educational paths to choose from:
    • Short-term certificate programs
    • 2-year associate’s degrees
    • Opportunity to transfer to a four-year university
    • 4-year bachelor’s degrees (in certain high-demand fields, select colleges only)
    • Career Technical Education (CTE)

California State University (CSU) System

  • 4-year bachelor’s degrees
  • 23 campuses across the state
  • Students can attend as:
    • Freshman entries or
    • As transfer students from community college

University of California (UC) System

  • 4-year bachelor’s degrees
  • 10 campuses across the state
  • Students can attend as:
    • Freshman entries or
    • As transfer students from community college or CSU

BEWARE
BEWARE
Private vocational schools like those that you may have seen advertised on television also offer CTE programs, but typically at a much higher cost. Exercise extreme caution and discuss the pros and cons with an advisor, mentor or other adult whom you trust before choosing a privately based program.

This resource can guide you to evaluate colleges and decide on the right college for you: FosteringQualityEducation.org