Providing top-notch educational opportunities has been essential to San Jose and the surrounding Silicon Valley ever since the technology boom of the 1990s began attracting large numbers of college graduates to the region. The education level of the metro area’s workforce is among the highest in the United States. More than half have earned a college degree and approximately two-thirds have some college education.
San Jose State University
At the center of the educational system and the city itself is San Jose State University. Located on 154 acres in the heart of downtown, SJSU has approximately 30,000 students and 4,000 employees. Founded in 1857, it is the oldest public university on the West Coast, but it has evolved significantly since those early frontier days.
What began as a school designed specifically to train teachers is now a comprehensive research university, with seven colleges that offer a total of 134 degrees. Along with the high-tech fields of engineering and science, SJSU has popular programs in visual arts, nursing, journalism and social sciences. And, of course, the school still preps aspiring teachers for careers in the classroom.
In addition to being a longtime fixture in downtown San Jose, SJSU partnered with the city in an innovative way with the 2003 creation of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library. This eight-story facility is co-managed by the university and the city, making it the first of its kind in the U.S. Because of the joint venture, the library contains nearly 2 million items and draws 7,500 visitors daily.
San Jose City College
At San José City College on Moorpark Avenue, students may choose from a variety of community college education options, including two-year college degrees and certificates, specialized career and technology training, lower-division transfer and general education courses. The college also offers training for basic professional skills and English language instruction. The college traces its history back to 1921, and today is part of the San Jose/Evergreen Community College District. The district also includes Evergreen Valley College, and together, these entities serve 950,000 residents within 303 square miles.
Santa Clara University
More than 8,000 students attend Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university. Besides undergraduate curricula in the arts and sciences, business and engineering, the school offers master’s, Ph.D. and law degrees. SCU has the fourth-highest graduation rate among all U.S. master’s universities, and it’s also California’s oldest-operating higher education institution.
Other Colleges and Universities
Several other smaller universities and colleges are located in San Jose, including the National Hispanic University, which offers a “multicultural education,” the Lincoln Law School and the California University of Management and Technology. Prestigious Stanford University is located in nearby Palo Alto.
Public School Districts
There are 16 public-school districts in San Jose, led by the San Jose Unified School District. The SJUSD consists of 25 elementary schools, six middle schools, two K-8 schools and seven high schools. There are also two alternative school programs (Learning Options and Broadway High School), as well as a college preparatory charter school called Downtown College Prep. Of the students who have graduated from DCP since 2004, nearly 60 percent have already earned a college degree or are on course to do so.
Most private schools in San Jose are affiliated with churches. The largest of these is the Catholic Diocese of San Jose, which is second only to SJUSD in terms of the number of students enrolled.