California offers resident students the opportunity to take online public school courses for free. Below is a list of no-cost online schools currently serving elementary and high school students in California. In order to qualify for the list, schools must meet the following qualifications: classes must be available completely online, they must offer services to state residents, and they must be funded by the government. Virtual schools listed may be charter schools, state-wide public programs, or private programs that receive government funding.
List of California Online Charter Schools and Online Public Schools
California Virtual Academies (off-site link)
Choice 2000 (off-site link)
Insight School of California - Los Angeles (off-site link)
Pacific View Charter School - serving San Diego, Riverside, Orange, and Imperial counties (off-site link)
About Online Charter Schools and Online Public Schools
Many states now offer tuition-free online schools for resident students under a certain age (often 21). Most virtual schools are charter schools; they receive government funding and are run by a private organization. Online charter schools are subject to fewer restrictions than traditional schools. However, they are reviewed regularly and must continue to meet state standards.
Some states also offer their own online public schools. These virtual programs generally operate from a state office or a school district. State-wide public school programs vary. Some online public schools offer a limited number of remedial or advanced courses not available in brick-and-mortar public school campuses. Others offer full online diploma programs.
A few states choose to fund “seats” for students in private online schools. The number of available seats may be limited and students are usually asked to apply through their public school guidance counselor. (See also: 4 Types of Online High Schools).
Choosing a California Online Public School
When choosing an online public school, look for an established program that is regionally accredited and has a track record of success. Be wary of new schools that are disorganized, are unaccredited, or have been the subject of public scrutiny. For more suggestions on evaluating virtual schools see: How to Choose an Online High School.