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California Community Colleges System
Motto Empowering community colleges through leadership, advocacy, and support
Established 1967
Type Public community college system
Endowment US$25 million (planned permanent endowment)
Chancellor Dr. Jack Scott
Faculty 57,711
Students 2.9 million
Location Sacramento, California
Campus 110 campuses
Affiliations California Community Colleges
The entrance to California Community Colleges headquarters in Sacramento

The California Community Colleges System (CCCS) consists of 112 community colleges in 72 community college districts in the U.S. state of California. Created by legislation in 1967, it is the largest system of higher education in the world, serving more than 2.9 million students with a wide variety of educational and career goals.

The system is administered by the Chancellor's Office located in Sacramento, which is responsible for allocating state funding and provides leadership and technical assistance to the colleges. The CCCS, along with the research-oriented University of California system and the teaching-oriented California State University system, together form California's system of public higher education.

The CCCS is governed by the Board of Governors which, within the bounds of state law, sets systemwide policy. The 17 Board members, who represent the public, faculty, students, and classified employees, are appointed by the Governor of California as directed by Section 71000 of the California Education Code.[1] The Board is also directed by the Education Code to allow local authority and control of the community college districts to the "maximum degree permissible" and AB 1725 in 1974 added a formal consultation process which has resulted in the formation of a consultation council [2] to assure the Board of Governors and Chancellor's Office remain responsive in this respect.

The Chancellor of the system brings policy recommendations to the Board of Governors, and possesses the authority to implement the policies of the Board through his leadership of the Chancellor's Office. The Chancellor plays a key role in the consultation process.

The CCCS is a founding and charter member of CENIC, the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California, the nonprofit organization which provides extremely high-performance Internet-based networking to California's K-20 research and education community.



In 1907, the California Legislature, seeing a benefit to society in education beyond high school but realizing the load could not be carried by existing colleges, authorized the state's high schools to offer what were termed "postgraduate courses of study" similar to the courses offered in just the first two years of university studies. Thanks to the efforts of people such as Professor Alexis F. Lange, Dean of the School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley, the Junior College Act was passed in 1917, expanding the mission by adding trade studies such as mechanical and industrial arts, household economy, agriculture, and commerce. By 1932 there were 38 junior colleges in the state. The 1944 GI Bill dramatically increased college enrollments, and by 1950 there were 50 junior colleges. By 1960 there were 56 districts in California offering junior college courses, and 28 of those districts were not high school districts but were "junior college districts" formed expressly for the governance of those schools.

The 1960 Master Plan for Higher Education and the resulting Donahoe Act was a turning point in higher education in California. The UC and CSU systems were to limit their enrollments, yet an overall goal was to "provide an appropriate place in California public higher education for every student who is willing and able to benefit from attendance", meaning the junior colleges were to fulfill this role. By 1967 studies were showing that the California Department of Education was not doing an adequate job of leading the junior colleges, and legislation passed control from the Board of Education to a new community college system with a Chancellor's Office and Board of Governors. The degree of local control in this system, a side effect of the origins of many colleges within high school districts, can be seen in that 52 of the 72 districts (72%) govern only a single college; only a few districts in major metropolitan areas control more than four colleges.

California residents do not pay tuition for community colleges. Rather, they pay an enrollment fee. Non-resident and international students, however, pay tuition, usually an additional $100 per unit (or credit).

In the past decade, tuition and fees have fluctuated with the state's budget. For much of the 1990s and early 2000s, enrollment fees ranged between $11 and $13 per credit. However, with the state's budget deficits in the early-to-mid 2000s, fees rose to $18 per unit in 2003, and, by 2004, reached $26 per unit, the highest level in the state's history. Since then, fees have dropped. The current enrollment fee is $20 per unit, down $6 since January 2007. It is the lowest enrollment fee of any college or university in the United States. On July 28, 2009, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed AB2X (the education trailer bill to the 2009-10 state budget), setting the community college enrollment fee back at $26 per unit, effective for the Fall 2009 term.


Like the two California university systems, the CCCS is headed by an executive officer and a governing board. The 17 member Board of Governors sets direction for the system and is in turn appointed by the California Governor. They appoint the Chancellor who is the chief executive officer of the system. Locally elected Boards of Trustees work on the district level with Presidents who run the individual college campuses.[3]


The 2.9 million students within the California Community Colleges system serve as the basis for the economic revitalization of California's workforce. Through its vocational endeavors, the CCC system has played a pivotal role in creating nurses, firefighters, police, welders, auto mechanics, airplane mechanics, and construction workers to help mold the society of California.

The students of this largest system of education in the world are represented through a statewide students' union known as the [Student Senate for California Community Colleges] (SSCCC). This body is comprised of 30 students elected by their respective constituents from the 112 campuses all over California. 10 of these senators are At-Large seats, elected at their bi-annual Student Government conferences by the delegates of the 112 student governments from around the state. The other 20 seats are held by Region representatives, who are elected by their respective regions, of which there are 10. These 10 regions reach from the top to bottom of California's community colleges. From Butte College, at the very top of the state, to San Diego Grossmont College, at the very bottom, the students of California are guaranteed representation in Sacramento regarding everything affecting students in this level of higher education.

Faculty and Staff

The California Community College system had a total employee headcount of 89,497 in Fall 2006. While tenured and tenure tracked faculty were relatively well-compensated, they comprise a very small fraction of overall faculty compared to California's other two tertiary education systems. While 86% of CSU faculty members were tenured or tenure-tracked, only 30% of faculty were tenured or tenure-tracked. Temporary faculty, those who are not tenure tracked, earned an average of $62.86 per hour for those teaching for-credit courses, $47.46 for non-credit instruction, $54.93 for instructional support and $63.86 for "overload" instruction.[4]

Staff and faculty compensation varied greatly by district. The overall average salary for tenured and tenure tracked faculty was $78,498 as of Fall 2006, with 48.7% earning more than $80,001. Salaries ranged from $64,883 in Siskiyous to $90,704 in Santa Barbara. The average for educational administrators was $116,855, while classified administrators earned an average of $87,886, classified professional earned $62,161 and classified support staff earned an average of $43,773.[5]

Data[5] Headcount Percent of total Less than $25,000 $25,000 to $40,000 $40,000 to $50,000 $50,000 to $60,000 $60,000 to $70,000 $70,000 to $80,000 More than $80,000 Mean
Educational administrators 1,965 2.2% 1.93% 0.51% 0.92% 0.97% 1.42% 2.85% 90.08% $116,855
Tenured and tenure tracked faculty 18,196 20.3% 0.21% 0.92% 2.21% 7.85% 16.24% 23.10% 48.70% $78,498
Classified administrators 1,470 2.0% 1.6% 1.22% 4.29% 8.71% 11.29% 15.24% 57.69% $87,816
Classified professionals 1,817 2.0% 7.82% 7.93% 10.24% 18.66% 17.56% 14.14% 21.79% $62,161
Classified support staff 24,425 27.3% 10.51% 25.85% 30.62% 16.68% 7.42% 2.80% 1.85% $43,773
Academic temporary instructors 41,624 46.5% N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A


  1. ^ [1].
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ Board of Governors
  4. ^ "California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office. (April 26, 2007). Report on Staffing for Fall 2006: Statewide Summary.". Retrieved 2007-11-26. 
  5. ^ a b "California Community Colleges Chancelor's Office. (Fall, 2006). Employee Category Salary Distribution by District.". Retrieved 2007-11-26. 

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