If you’re considering applying to colleges in California, you might be pleasantly surprised to know that many schools in the state waive application fees for certain students.
For many students, the cost of applying to college can add up quickly, with fees ranging from $50 to over $100 per application. Fortunately, several California colleges have taken steps to make the application process more accessible by waiving fees for eligible applicants.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the top colleges in California that don’t charge an application fee, as well as eligibility requirements and other important details to keep in mind as you navigate the college application process. Whether you’re a California resident or an out-of-state student, finding a college with no application fee can help make the college application process more affordable and accessible.
List of the Best Colleges in California With No Application Fee
- Azusa Pacific University
- Barstow Community College
- California State University
- Dominican University of California
- Laguna College of Art and Design
- Lake Tahoe Community College
- Pasadena City College
- Thomas Aquinas College
- West Valley College
- Westmont College
Azusa Pacific University
Azusa Pacific University (APU) is a private, Christian university located in Azusa, California, United States. The university offers a wide range of undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs across various fields of study, including arts, humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, education, nursing, and business. APU is renowned for its strong commitment to academic excellence, personalized learning experiences, and Christian values.
APU’s admission requirements vary depending on the program and level of study. Generally, undergraduate applicants are required to submit their high school transcripts, SAT/ACT scores, and an essay, while graduate applicants may need to submit their undergraduate transcripts, test scores, letters of recommendation, and personal statement. International students are also required to demonstrate English proficiency through standardized tests like TOEFL or IELTS.
What makes APU unique is its emphasis on fostering a holistic approach to education that combines academic rigor with spiritual formation. The university encourages students to integrate their faith into every aspect of their academic and personal lives, which helps to create a supportive and inclusive campus community. APU also offers various opportunities for students to get involved in service learning, internships, research, and other experiential learning activities that enhance their academic and professional development.
Barstow Community College
- Barstow Community College Admission requirements page
- Barstow Community College Tuition details page
Barstow Community College is a public community college located in Barstow, California, United States. The college offers a wide range of educational programs, including associate degrees, transfer programs, career and technical education, and community education courses. Some of the popular programs offered by the college include nursing, business administration, criminal justice, automotive technology, and welding.
Admission requirements for Barstow Community College vary depending on the program of study. However, all applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent. Some programs may require additional prerequisites or placement testing.
What makes Barstow Community College unique is its commitment to student success. The college offers a variety of support services, including tutoring, counseling, and career services, to help students achieve their academic and career goals. Additionally, the college has a strong partnership with local employers and community organizations, providing students with valuable internship and job opportunities.
Barstow Community College also has a strong commitment to sustainability, with programs in renewable energy and environmental studies. The college has implemented energy-efficient measures on campus, such as solar panels and water conservation systems, to reduce its environmental footprint.
California State University
- California State University Admission requirements page
- California State University tution details page
California State University (CSU) is a public university system in California, United States, with 23 campuses across the state. The system offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs in various fields, including business, engineering, education, healthcare, humanities, science, and social sciences. Each campus has its academic programs, facilities, and culture.
Admission requirements for CSU vary depending on the campus and program. Generally, applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent, meet minimum GPA and test score requirements, and complete specific coursework in subjects such as English, math, science, and social science. Some programs may have additional requirements, such as letters of recommendation, essays, or interviews.
What makes CSU unique is its commitment to providing affordable, accessible, and high-quality education to students from diverse backgrounds. The system’s mission is to prepare graduates who can contribute to California’s economy, culture, and civic life. CSU campuses are known for their hands-on learning opportunities, research initiatives, and community engagement programs. The system also offers a variety of support services, including tutoring, counseling, career services, and financial aid, to help students succeed academically and personally.
Dominican University of California
- Dominican University of California Admission requirements page
- Dominican University of California tuition details page
The Dominican University of California is a private, Catholic university located in San Rafael, California. The university offers undergraduate and graduate programs in a variety of fields, including business, education, health sciences, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences.
Undergraduate applicants must submit an application, official high school transcripts, and ACT or SAT scores. Graduate applicants must apply, official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended, and any additional requirements specific to their program of interest. The university also requires a personal statement and letters of recommendation for graduate applicants.
The Dominican University of California prides itself on its commitment to social justice and diversity, with a focus on creating ethical and compassionate leaders. The university offers several unique programs, including the Dominican Experience, which combines rigorous coursework with service learning, and the Barowsky School of Business, which offers a values-based approach to business education.
In addition, the university has a strong emphasis on sustainability and offers several majors and minors focused on environmental sustainability and social justice. Students also have access to the Green MBA program, which is designed for professionals who want to make a positive impact on the environment and society.
Laguna College of Art and Design
- Laguna College of Art and Design admission requirements page
- Laguna College of Art and Design tuition details page
Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD) is a private college located in Laguna Beach, California, USA. It was founded in 1961 and offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the fields of art and design.
LCAD offers a variety of programs that cater to students’ interests and career aspirations. Their undergraduate programs include a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation, Drawing and Painting, Game Art, Graphic Design + Digital Media, Illustration, and Entertainment Design. They also offer a Master of Fine Arts in the Art of Game Design, Drawing, Painting, and Sculpture.
Admission requirements vary by program, but generally, applicants must submit an online application, transcripts, a portfolio of their work, and a personal statement. They also require SAT or ACT scores for undergraduate applicants and GRE scores for graduate applicants.
What makes LCAD unique is its location in Laguna Beach, which is known for its vibrant arts community and beautiful beaches. Students have access to a range of cultural and artistic experiences, including art galleries, museums, and festivals. Additionally, LCAD has a low student-to-faculty ratio, which allows for individualized attention and mentoring from experienced faculty members.
Lake Tahoe Community College
- Lake Tahoe Community College Admission requirements page
- Lake Tahoe Community College Tuition details page
Lake Tahoe Community College (LTCC) is a two-year community college located in South Lake Tahoe, California. The college offers a range of programs in various fields, including liberal arts, business, health sciences, and technology. LTCC has a total enrollment of over 1,500 students, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 15:1, providing students with personalized attention and support.
LTCC offers a variety of programs designed to meet the diverse needs of students, including associate degree programs, transfer programs, and vocational programs. The college has a strong focus on sustainability, with many of its programs and initiatives centered around environmental education and sustainability practices. LTCC is also known for its exceptional outdoor education program, which takes advantage of its location near Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Admission requirements at LTCC vary depending on the program of study. Generally, students must have a high school diploma or equivalent and submit an application, official transcripts, and placement test scores. International students must also provide proof of English proficiency.
What makes LTCC unique is its location in the stunning Lake Tahoe basin, providing students with access to world-class outdoor recreational opportunities. The college also has a strong commitment to sustainability and environmental education, making it an ideal choice for students interested in these areas. With small class sizes and dedicated faculty and staff, LTCC provides students with a supportive and engaging learning environment.
Pasadena City College
Pasadena City College (PCC) is a two-year community college located in Pasadena, California. It was founded in 1924 and has since become a highly respected institution known for its academic excellence, diversity, and affordable tuition. PCC offers more than 100 degree and certificate programs in a wide range of fields, including business, engineering, health sciences, liberal arts, and vocational education.
Admission to PCC is open to anyone who has earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Applicants must submit an application form, official transcripts, and placement test scores. International students must also provide proof of English proficiency and obtain a student visa.
What sets PCC apart from other community colleges is its commitment to student success. The college offers a wide range of support services, including tutoring, counseling, and career services. PCC also has a strong transfer program, with many students successfully transferring to top universities such as UCLA, UC Berkeley, and USC.
Thomas Aquinas College
Thomas Aquinas College is a private, four-year liberal arts college located in Santa Paula, California, with a unique educational approach that emphasizes the integration of classical philosophy, theology, and natural sciences. The college was founded in 1971 and is dedicated to the pursuit of truth through a rigorous, Catholic liberal arts education.
Thomas Aquinas College offers a single, integrated program of study based on the great books of Western civilization. All students participate in a rigorous, four-year curriculum that covers mathematics, natural sciences, humanities, and philosophy. The program is designed to provide students with a deep understanding of the fundamental principles of the liberal arts and to cultivate the intellectual and moral virtues necessary for a life of learning and service.
The admission requirements for Thomas Aquinas College are rigorous, and students must demonstrate a strong academic record, as well as a commitment to the college’s mission and values. Prospective students are required to submit transcripts, test scores, essays, and recommendations.
What makes Thomas Aquinas College unique is its commitment to a rigorous, integrated curriculum that emphasizes the pursuit of truth and the cultivation of intellectual and moral virtues. The college is also unique in its commitment to Catholic faith and tradition, and its emphasis on the integration of faith and reason in the pursuit of truth. Additionally, the college is known for its tight-knit community and its emphasis on the personal formation and character development.
West Valley College
West Valley College is a two-year community college located in Saratoga, California. The college offers a wide range of academic programs, including transfer degrees, career technical education, and basic skills courses. Students can choose from more than 60 programs of study, ranging from business and engineering to nursing and the arts.
The admission requirements for West Valley College vary depending on the type of program students are interested in. For example, students who want to pursue a transfer degree must have a high school diploma or equivalent and must complete specific course requirements. Career technical education programs have different requirements, such as minimum age and educational background.
What makes West Valley College unique is its commitment to providing students with a supportive learning environment. The college offers small class sizes, personalized attention from faculty, and a wide range of support services, including tutoring, counseling, and academic advising. Additionally, West Valley College is known for its innovative programs and partnerships with local businesses and organizations. For example, the college has a strong partnership with NASA Ames Research Center, which provides students with opportunities to work on cutting-edge research projects.
Westmont College is a private Christian liberal arts college located in Santa Barbara, California. It was founded in 1937 and has since been providing excellent academic programs to students from diverse backgrounds. The college is known for its rigorous academic programs, personalized attention to students, and vibrant Christian community.
Westmont College offers more than 25 majors and programs in various fields such as business, biology, chemistry, computer science, education, history, psychology, and many others. Students can also take advantage of the college’s study abroad programs, internships, and research opportunities.
The admission requirements for Westmont College include submitting an application form, official high school transcripts, standardized test scores, an essay, and two letters of recommendation. The college has a selective admission process, and the acceptance rate is around 75%.
What makes Westmont College unique is its commitment to providing students with a well-rounded education that focuses on academic excellence, spiritual growth, and personal development. The college has a strong Christian community that helps students connect with their faith and integrate it into their academic and personal lives. Westmont College also offers a variety of extracurricular activities, including athletics, music, theater, and student organizations, to ensure that students have a well-rounded college experience.
Applying to college can be a daunting and expensive process, but finding colleges in California that waive application fees can help alleviate some of the financial burdens. Many colleges offer fee waivers for students who demonstrate financial need, are veterans, or are first-generation college students.
If you’re interested in applying to college in California, be sure to explore your options and research the eligibility requirements for fee waivers. Remember, the college application process is just the beginning of your academic journey, and finding a school that’s the right fit for you can have a huge impact on your future success. Good luck with your college search.