MiraCosta College was founded in 1934 in Oceanside. There were 122 students enrolled and 20 faculty members. It was the second community college to be established in San Diego County. Only 16 courses were initially offered and they counted as credit toward advanced standing at the University of California, San Diego.
By 1959, enrollment had grown to 500 full-time students in classrooms on 30 acres adjacent to Oceanside High School. In 1960, voters approved a separate community college district and a bond issue to provide funding for a new college campus.
The district once again expanded in 1976 to include all of the North County coastal communities from Camp Pendleton to Del Mar. By 1978, enrollment was more than 7,000 students. A satellite campus opened in Del Mar in a vacant elementary school. Soon after, MiraCosta purchased a 48-acre parcel near the San Elijo Lagoon. The San Elijo Campus opened in 1988 to 2,500 students.
MiraCosta's three campuses continue to change and grow. The college has completed several large construction projects that put it on the map for its technological and arts offerings, and enrollment has reached a new high.
The college celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2009.