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California's community colleges are an excellent choice for building success into your son's or daughter's future. Research shows that people who attend college position themselves for meaningful careers and earn more throughout their lifetimes than those having only a high school degree.

If your child's goal is to attend a four-year college, community college is an affordable way to complete the general education requirements for a four-year degree. California community colleges also offer smaller class sizes and more experienced instructors than four-year colleges for many of the classes your child is likely to take in the first two years of college.

College Is a Great Investment

As the following chart shows, a college education is probably the best investment you can make for your child's future. Students that earn degrees can expect less unemployment and higher wages than workers without degrees, even in poor economic times.

Comparative line graph showing the unemployment rate and earnings by educational attainment for 2018. The average unemployment rate is 3.2% where people with associate degrees or higher are under the unemployment rate. The median weekly earnings is $932 where people with bachelors degrees or higher make more than the median earnings.

A Valuable Degree

Salary Surfer, which can be viewed at salarysurfer.cccco.edu, displays median annual incomes for those who complete 179 of the most widely enrolled program areas and do not transfer to a four-year institution. The data show the median earnings for community college graduates two years prior to earning the award, then two years and five years after earning either a certificate or degree.

An analysis of the data contained on Salary Surfer shows that students who complete an associate degree more than double their annual pre-degree earnings after two years in the workforce and nearly triple their pre-degree earnings after five years in the workforce.

An Affordable Path to Success

California community colleges can contribute to your child's path to success in numerous ways:

  • Associate degree
  • Transfer to a four-year college or university
  • Occupational certificate
  • Job skills
  • Continuing education
  • Basic skills
  • Meeting high school requirements

In addition, California community colleges have the lowest fees in the nation.

California residents may be eligible for a California College Promise Grant, which waives the entire per-unit fee.

Financial Aid

Yes! You CAN afford to send your child to a California community college. There are several ways to get financial assistance if you need it. These include free federal financial aid, fee waivers, loans, grants, and scholarships. You can find more information and links to resources on our Financial Aid page.

Also, federal loans are available for parents to supplement their children's financial aid packages. The federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) program helps parents cover costs not covered by the student's financial aid package.

Questions Frequently Asked by Parents

Q. I can't get access to my child's student records. I pay for the classes, so why don't I have access?
A.
 Regardless of your child's age, the privacy of their community college records is protected by law. Unlike high schools, community colleges would be breaking the law and subject to severe penalties if they let you access your child's records.

Q. Can my child attend a California community college while still attending high school?
A.
 Yes. High school students may be permitted to enroll for community college courses, provided that they have your consent, have the consent of their high school administration, and meet college requirements. Consult your child's high school counselor for more information.

Q. My child was homeschooled. Will that affect his/her ability to attend a California community college?
A.
 Being homeschooled will not adversely affect your child's eligibility for attending a California community college. At the most, if your child's homeschool was not part of a public high school district, you may need to provide supporting documentation.

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Each year at our 116 colleges, 2.1 million students from all over the world build their career skills, prepare for transfer to four-year colleges and universities, or simply enrich their lives through learning.

Copyright © 2020 California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office.