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2021 Best Colleges in California by Salary Score

By the GradReports team | Updated 3/1/2021

We ranked the top 25 colleges in California based on their bachelor's degree Salary Scores. We compared the median alumni earnings in the first year after graduation for each major at a college to alumni earnings for the same major across all colleges. Program scores are then combined to provide an overall score at the bachelor's level for each college. A higher score indicates that as a whole, graduates at that school earn more than graduates at other colleges. Four of the top five ranked schools in California are in the San Francisco Bay Area, and two of these (Stanford University and Dominican University of California) also rank in the top 10 of our Best Colleges in the U.S. list. All 25 schools on the list are in the top 40 percent of schools nationwide.

To be considered for our state rankings, schools must offer and provide data for at least 8 bachelor's programs. You can click on a school's name to view individual program scores. Read our methodology to learn more about how schools were ranked.

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Salary Scores based on data reported by the U.S. Department of Education
Rank School Location Annual Tuition Salary Score
#1 #1 Santa Clara Santa Clara $51,711 98.23
#2 #2 Stanford Stanford $51,354 97.52
#3 #3 San Rafael San Rafael $45,850 97.21
#4 #4 Berkeley Berkeley $14,184 93.80
#5 #5 Los Angeles Los Angeles $56,225 92.85
#6 #6 San Francisco San Francisco $48,066 92.74
#7 #7 San Luis Obispo San Luis Obispo $9,816 90.16
#8 #8 Hayward Hayward $6,983 88.36
#9 #9 Malibu Malibu $53,932 88.00
#10 #10 La Jolla La Jolla $13,320 87.96
#11 #11 San Jose San Jose $7,796 87.70
#12 #12 Moraga Moraga $47,280 85.77
#13 #13 San Diego San Diego $49,358 83.62
#14 #14 Los Angeles Los Angeles $41,170 81.70
#15 #15 Orange Orange $52,724 78.93
#16 #16 Rohnert Park Rohnert Park $7,798 75.93
#17 #17 San Francisco San Francisco $7,260 75.27
#18 #18 Azusa Azusa $38,880 71.40
#19 #19 Los Angeles Los Angeles $48,522 70.71
#20 #20 Irvine Irvine $35,400 68.97
#21 #21 Sacramento Sacramento $7,310 68.08
#22 #22 Redlands Redlands $49,504 67.62
#23 #23 Stockton Stockton $48,164 66.20
#24 #24 Thousand Oaks (and 2 others) Thousand Oaks (and 2 others) $42,692 64.84
#25 #25 Santa Barbara Santa Barbara $14,391 64.17