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History

Calbright College was established to increase Californians’ access to skills-based credentials and certificates, helping to address the state-wide issue of income inequality. In 2018, legislation was passed into law to establish the California Online Community College District, later officially named Calbright College. On October 1, 2019, Calbright opened the application process for its first student cohort. Calbright is the 115th California Community College, and our key program elements include:

  • Freedom from fixed-term academic calendars
  • Flexible instruction based on mastery of specific skills
  • Industry-recognized, online certificate programs
  • Wraparound coaching and advising
With respect to higher education, it is clear just how much of our prosperity depends on the intellectual contributions of our institutions of higher learning. National leaders come from all over the world to visit California's most innovative companies. Companies that are filled with highly educated and creative men and women—many of whom graduated from our public colleges and universities… Even with so many of our students attending college, there are still 2.5 million Californians between 25 and 34 who are in the workforce, but lack a postsecondary degree or certificate. These men and women often go out of state or pay high tuition at for-profit institutions to improve their skills and employability. For this group, I want to create the California Online College so these overlooked Californians can get the training they need conveniently and at very low cost.

Former Governor Jerry Brown

2018 State of the State Address

Accreditation

Calbright is applying for accreditation and ahead of schedule

Calbright College is a public higher education institution authorized by the State of California. As no new college is accredited upon its founding, Calbright must go through the application process for federal accreditation from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Calbright is required to do so by its founding statutes, and has prioritized reaching it as quickly as possible. We are in in that process now, and ahead of schedule.

Our current goal, which we are on track for, is to complete the accreditation process by the end of 2021, and be fully accredited by the end of 2023.

Once Calbright is accredited, our students will have access to federal and state student aid. Pell Grants and Cal Grants can help working adults pay for childcare and limit the number of jobs they have to work, so they can afford to spend time on coursework and make more progress towards completion. Accreditation also opens the door to new funding sources for Calbright itself.

Funding

Calbright College is funded in large part by Proposition 98 funds.

Calbright College has also received financial support from such organizations as The ECMC Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, and The Walmart Foundation. Other funders who have expressed interest in Calbright are: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Emerson Collective, The Stupski Foundation, and many others.

We are ever grateful for their interest and support.

The James Irvine Foundation’s mission is to help create a California where all low-income workers have the power to advance economically. The Foundation awarded Calbright a flexible support grant in order to help start and design the new college.

The Kresge Foundation cares about social investments in our cities and focuses on eliminating gaps for low-income students of color in the United States and South Africa. The Foundation has awarded Calbright two different grants, both in 2017 and 2018. The 2017 grant was a planning grant with recommendations on online community college options to increase access to higher education. The 2018 grant was allocated an “Open Innovation Engine” for the stakeholder engagement process to help produce a brand and strategy for Calbright College.

The ECMC Foundation’s mission is “to inspire and facilitate improvements that affect educational outcomes–especially among underserved populations–through evidence-based innovation.” We are proud to be amongst the list of organizations whom they support.

The Walmart Foundation provides financial support to programs that they believe create opportunities for people to live better lives. The Foundation has given Calbright College generous support.