CSU Facts 2004

Scope and Mission
The California State University is indispensable to California's economic prosperity. It is the nation's largest university system, with 23 campuses and seven off-campus centers, 409,000 students, and 44,000 faculty and staff. The CSU, stretching from Humboldt in the north to San Diego in the south, is renowned for the quality of its teaching and for its job-ready graduates. With its commitment to excellence, diversity and innovation, the CSU is the university system that is working for California.

Each of the 23 campuses has its own unique identity. Each has distinct student populations and programs, but all share the same mission-to provide high-quality, affordable higher education to meet the ever-changing workforce needs of the people of California.

The CSU offers more than 1,800 bachelor's and master's degree programs in some 240 subject areas, including its valuable teacher credential programs. A select number of doctoral degrees are offered jointly with the University of California or with private universities in California.

Master Plan for Higher Ed
The CSU system was created in 1961 under the state Master Plan for Higher Education. The CSU draws its students from the top third of California's high school graduates, which means students who earn a B average or better in high school. The CSU is the state's premier undergraduate teaching institution. Its admission priority is upper-division transfer students from community colleges. The CSU educates more community college transfer students than any other California university.

Workforce Preparation
Since the CSU system was created, it has awarded more than 2 million degrees. The CSU plays a critical role in preparing highly qualified candidates for the job market. Powering California's economy, the CSU's 77,000 annual graduates help drive the aerospace, healthcare, entertainment, information technology, biomedical, international trade, education and multimedia industries. That responsibility will continue in the future with California's high demand for quality professionals in engineering, agriculture, computer science, teaching and nursing.

The CSU prepares 55 percent of the teachers in the state, 40 percent of its engineering graduates, almost half its business graduates, and more graduates in agriculture (California's number one industry), communications, health and public administration than all other California universities and colleges combined. Altogether, about half the bachelor's degrees and a third of the master's degrees awarded annually in California are from the CSU. Nationally, the CSU produces 10 percent of all graduates who later go on to earn doctorates. The CSU awards more than 4.5 percent of America's bachelor's degrees.

The CSU is the nation's most diverse university system, with students of color above 53 percent, twice the national average for four-year public universities. A recent survey showed 40 percent of CSU students come from households where English is not the main language, and more than one-third consider themselves to be multiracial.

Several CSU campuses are annually among the nation's leaders in the number of bachelor's degrees awarded to students of color. Almost every CSU campus is annually cited in Hispanic Outlook's "Publisher's Picks," a national list of colleges and universities that are doing the best job of serving Hispanic students.

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Last Updated: June 14, 2004