Cañada College: Free College in Redwood City CA

Cañada College

“Cañada College is free! No fees. No tuition. No debt. No stress. And no limits. Cañada College is changing higher education— it’s time for your college to work for you! We give you the skills and training you need to pursue a career in today’s in-demand fields. Explore our Interest Areas and find what’s right for you!”


Cañada College is a small public community college that opened in 1968 in Redwood City, California. It is one of three community colleges in the San Mateo County Community College District and one of the smallest community colleges in the San Francisco Bay Area. Its primary service area is the southern portion of San Mateo County, Redwood City, San Carlos, Menlo Park, Atherton, East Palo Alto, La Honda, Portola Valley and Woodside, home of the 654-acre historic Filoli Estate, which features a 56-room mansion and grounds consisting of five distinct ecosystems.

The Spanish word “cañada” means a small canyon, glen or ravine. It is pronounced “cahn-YAH-duh“. The college takes its name from nearby Cañada Road, known for its Bicycle Sundays. From 9am-3pm on most Sundays, a 3.8 mile stretch of Cañada Road is closed to vehicle traffic, allowing for non-motorized activities including jogging, bicycling, hiking, roller-skating, walking and strolling.


Cañada College’s 131-acre campus is located in the western part of Redwood City. Redwood City is a city on the San Francisco Peninsula in Northern California’s Bay Area, approximately 27 miles south of San Francisco and 24 miles northwest of San Jose, in the heart of Silicon Valley. Redwood City is home to several global technology companies including Oracle, Electronic Arts, Evernote, Box, and Informatica. The Port of Redwood City is the only deepwater port on the bay south of San Francisco.


Cañada College is dedicated to maintaining a climate of academic freedom encouraging the sharing and cultivation of a wide variety of viewpoints. It offers many opportunities to connect with students, faculty, industry experts, and others with whom you can share and exchange ideas. The student-to-faculty ratio is 15:1. With support and guidance from award-winning faculty and staff, students can pursue certificates and degrees for career training or as a transfer gateway to four-year colleges and universities.

Cañada College offers hundreds of day, evening, weekend, and online courses in more than 75 academic degree and certificate programs under three instructional divisions: Business, Design & Workforce; Humanities & Social Sciences; and Science & Technology. Cañada is a regional center for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education. Through its STEM focus, it has developed partnerships with NASA and San Francisco State University.

Student Life

Part of a college experience is becoming involved both in and outside of class. Cañada College offers many extracurricular activities including intercollegiate athletics, student government, student clubs, honors societies and many others. Sports offered at the college include baseball, men’s basketball, women’s golf, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, women’s tennis, and women’s volleyball. Cañada College actively advocates for “the emotional, physical, and intellectual safety” of all LGBTQIA+ members of the campus community. Cañada College has also made a campus-wide commitment to stand against racism.


Cañada College has an open enrollment policy, in which anyone who is a high school graduate or 18 years of age or older, and is able to benefit from the instruction offered, is eligible to attend Cañada College. Individuals who are not high school graduates and are under the age of 18 may also attend Cañada if they have passed the High School Proficiency Examination or the General Education Development (GED) test. For more information about admissions, please visit

High School Students/Dual Enrollment

Students attending high school may register concurrently for Cañada College classes. Interested students must submit an application and the College Connection Course Request Form. Please Note: If you are a homeschooled student, a copy of your R4 (Private School Affidavit) form will be required along with your Course Request Form. For more information about high school programs, please click here.

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