Crafton Hills College is one of two public community colleges serving the San Bernardino Community College District. The other is San Bernardino Valley College. Both are tax-supported, coeducational institutions governed by a locally elected board of trustees acting through a district chancellor and the president of each college.

In the fall of 1972, classes were held for the first time at Crafton Hills College. The campus buildings and grounds provide an environment essential to support a comprehensive community college. The areas from which the college generally attracts students include Yucaipa, Redlands, Highland, Loma Linda, San Bernardino, Rim of the World, Colton, Bloomington, Rialto, and Bear Valley. However, students also come from all over California, out-of-state, and foreign countries.

Some students come to the college directly from high school and pursue full-time study in transfer-preparation or career-technical programs. Others study part time to prepare for return to work or to improve their chances for advancement. Some arrive with superior academic backgrounds, some in need of considerable remedial assistance. The average age of CHC students is twenty-four. More than half the students are females. Some students stay to complete a program; others prepare for eventual transfer to four-year colleges and universities or to directly enter the workplace. Students choose Crafton Hills College because of its setting, its dedicated faculty, its challenging and engaging curriculum, and its variety of educational opportunities.