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Founded in 1958, the College of the Desert in Palm Desert, CA officially opened its doors in September 1962. As a two-year college, it offers an affordable starting point for transfer students looking to continue their education at a four-year institution. In fact, it has become the leading source of transfer students to California State University at San Bernardino. Additionally, the college boasts a diverse selection of vocational and technical programs such as nursing and health sciences, digital design and production, turf grass management and ornamental horticulture, advanced transportation technologies, culinary arts, and a comprehensive range of administration of justice courses at the Public Safety Academy training facility.

Overview of College of the Desert (COD)

College of the Desert has received full accreditation from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This guarantees that the college meets the highest standards of academic quality and institutional effectiveness. Apart from its accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, College of the Desert is also endorsed by several institutions and agencies, including the California Community College Board of Governors, the California State Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Justice's Immigration and Naturalization Service, and the U.S. Department of Education for veteran benefits.

General Information

School Type Public
Campus Setting City: Small
Campus Housing No
Student Faculty Ratio 30:1
Graduation Rate 26%
Year Founded 1958

Student Enrollment

Total Students10,932


Undergraduate Student

Male 4,373
Female 6,559

Graduate Student

Male 0
Female 0

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Top Rankings For College of the Desert

COD Acceptance Rate and Admissions


Male NA
Female NA


Male NA
Female NA

Acceptance RateNA

Male NA
Female NA

Enrollment NA

Male NA
Female NA
Application Fee NA
High School GPA NA
High School Rank NA
High School Transcripts NA
College Prep Courses NA
Recommendations NA
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) NA
Application Deadline NA
Common Application Accepted NA

COD Tuition Cost & Financial Aid

The cost of attending College of the Desert varies depending on whether a student is a resident of California or not. In-state tuition and fees for full-time students are $1,326 per semester, while out-of-state students pay $8,970 per semester. The average net price, which takes into account financial aid like scholarships and grants, is $14,179.

However, the net price may vary based on income range. For the 2020-2021 academic year, students with an income range of $0 to $30,000 had a net price of $10,699, while those with an income range of $30,001 to $48,000 had a net price of $11,205. Students with an income range of $48,001 to $75,000 had a net price of $14,078, while those with an income range of $75,001 to $110,000 had a net price of $15,344. Students with an income exceeding $110,000 had a net price of $18,021.

Average net price Current Year
Net Price $14,476
Average Total Aid $4,937
Students Receiving Financial Aid 94%
Room & Board $16,580

Sticker Price

  • Tuition In-State - $1,383
  • Tuition Out-of-State - $8,943
  • Books and Supplies - $1,080
  • Room & Board - $16,580
  • Other - $4,642

Popular Academic Programs at COD

At College of the Desert, students can access various resources to help them achieve their academic goals. The college offers various degree and certificate programs in 26 fields. College of the Desert's commitment to providing comprehensive support to students is reflected in its retention rate, which is approximately 67% for full-time students and 42% for part-time students. This indicates that College of the Desert has created a supportive and engaging learning environment, thus encouraging students to continue their studies beyond their first year.

However, the graduation rate at College of the Desert is around 29%, which falls below the national average of 49% for community colleges. This highlights the importance of providing more resources and support to help students complete their programs successfully. Despite this, the student-to-faculty ratio at the college is a favorable 24 to 1. The college provides students with individual attention and support from professors, thus fostering a more personalized and effective learning experience.

Student Population Total

Student Population 10,932

Evening Classes : 60%
Online Learning : NA

Most Popular Programs & Majors

(# of Diplomas Awarded by Subject)

All Majors N/A

Outcome & Salary

Graduates from the College of the Desert can expect to be well-prepared to transfer to a four-year institution or enter the workforce in their chosen field. With a wide range of degree and certificate programs, students can acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in their respective fields.

The college's emphasis on providing a supportive and challenging learning environment and ample opportunities for engagement with instructors helps graduates develop the critical thinking and problem-solving skills that are highly valued by employers and sought after by graduate schools. Additionally, graduates can benefit from the college's strong alumni network, which provides valuable career connections and mentorship opportunities.

Graduates Salary
College Grads Early Career Salary $45,600
College Grads Average Salary $30,600
College Grads Mid Career Salary $69,600
Return on Investment (ROI)
10 Year Salary Earnings Potential $306,000
20 Year Salary Earnings Potential $1,002,000
Cost of Education (Net Price) 4 Year $57,904
10 Year Projected ROI $248,096
20 Year Projected ROI $944,096
No College Education Salary Comparison
National Average Salary $38,792
10 Year Projected Income $387,920
20 Year Projected Income $775,840

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