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We’re talking about a lot of things: bachelor’s or associate’s degrees, a certificate, or job training through an educational institution. A lot of this information can apply to advanced degrees like master's or Ph.D.s, but we don't discuss those in depth.
We’ll highlight resources from public schools (the community college, California State University, and University of California systems) because they’re the largest school networks in the state, but we’ll also spotlight what might be available at online-only schools, trade schools, and private schools in general.
Pro tip: Figure out what you want first.
There’s a lot out there.
Here’s what California has to offer, and how to pick the right place for you.
Don’t make assumptions just yet about what education you can and can’t afford.
Plus tips for claiming credit on courses you took a long time ago.
A parent? A veteran? Someone with a disability? Here are resources for all kinds of situations.
Timing, deadlines, and what you may need to submit.
Turns out there are lots of people whose job it is to help you.
Support & Credits
We had many long phone calls with higher education advocates, consultants and officials all around Southern California whose expertise informed this guide. Here are just some of the people we spoke to:
Shukry Cattan, Tiyya Foundation
Avisha Chugani, Pasadena City College
Armineh Dereghishian, Los Angeles City College
Sarah Fay, Safe Place for Youth
Rebecca Fishman, Upwardly Global
Tamar Frolichstein-Appel, Upwardly Global
Jenna Gausman, Santa Monica College
Grace Halvey, Understood
Elizabeth Hamblet, Learning Disabilities Consultant
Eric Hubbard, Jovenes, Inc.
Henan Joof, Los Angeles City College
Nancy Jodaitis, Immigrants Rising
Jina Krause-Vilmar, Upwardly Global
Jessica Ku Kim, L.A. County Economic Development Corporation
Romarilyn Ralston, Project Rebound, Cal State Fullerton
Victoria Rothman, Santa Monica College
Kelsey Torosyan, Colledge
Tatum Tricarico, YO! Disabled & Proud
Jenny Umhofer, Colledge
Rocio Veliz, Central American Resource Center (CARECEN)
Danielle Ward, Understood
Deacon John Wilson, Education & Enrichment Program, West Angeles Church of God in Christ
As part of our editing process, we shared an early draft with current, former, and prospective students to get feedback based on their experiences. Special thanks to those who shared their thoughts with us:
Writing, Editing & Production
Reporter: Brianna Lee
With Contributions From: Jill Replogle
Editors: Suzanne Levy, Tony Marcano, Ashley Alvarado
Fact Checking: Daisy Ramirez, UCLA
Copy Editing: Mike Roe
Illustrations: Alborz Kamalizad
Special Thanks To: Caitlin Hernandez, Zoe Ives, Ethan Ward