Well where ever you go it will cost more seeing as you will have to pay rent, and buy food.. Living at your folks place makes costs ALOT easier.. But most acredited art schools like the academy are in the same ball park of $$. Just in the bay area alone there are quite a few places to learn art.. you have the acdemy, you have the college of arts and crafts, you have cogswell (3d animation school), you have tons of Community colleges, I think there is an art institute in SF, I think there is a small atelier some where, I think you can find the link on www.artrenewal.com . Down south there is Art Center, Watts Atelier, LA Figurative, Gnomon, Laguna College of art and design, Bunches of Art Institutes, Plus there are regular CSU's, and UC's.. (I know you want to go to a place based on work not grades, but a lot of places look at your grades if you get a degree there) If costs are important you can always hit a Junior College for a few years, then go to a big name school...anyhow
There are alot of schools in california.. Look through the theads in this section and read up... Go onto Yahoo and do a search for California Art schools.. take a trip this summer and go visit a few.. I have just mentioned a handfull.. And there are some really wonderful schools out of california as well.
I think its easier if you ask about preticular schools then a variety, then people can give you first hand advice... rather than trying to some up a bunch of individual ones.. good luck man..
"Live each day like you will die tommorow, and dream like you will live forever..."