Founded in 1916 in response to a general petition of the electors, Riverside Community College District has served our communities for over a century. In the beginning, the College educated 100 students in classrooms on the Polytechnic High School campus.

On June 2, 1964, a separate five-person governing Board of Trustees was elected and the Riverside Junior College District was completely separated from the Riverside City School system.

The legal entity which operates the college is officially known as the Riverside Community College District and encompasses the Alvord, Corona/Norco, Jurupa, Moreno Valley, and Riverside Unified School districts and the Val Verde School District.

On February 3, 1964, the Board of Trustees authorized the purchase of a second site for a future campus in the Sierra area of Riverside. On July 1, 1984, the Corona/Norco Unified School District was annexed to the Riverside Community College District and on June 4, 1985, more than 141 acres of federal United States Navy land in Norco was acquired from the General Services Administration by way of the United States Department of Education. On March 16, 1987, 112 acres of privately-owned land in Moreno Valley was donated to the College by the Robert P. Warmington Company; in 1989, 20 more acres were added to the site.

The Moreno Valley and Norco campuses, opened in March 1991, have grown rapidly and were granted initial accreditation in January 2010. In 2020, more than 60,000 students attended one of the three colleges in Riverside Community College District.