Scope and Mission
The California State University is indispensable to California’s economic prosperity and diverse communities. It is the nation’s largest university system, with 23 campuses and seven off-campus
centers, almost 450,000 students, and 46,000 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.
Each CSU campus has its own identity, with distinct student populations and programs. Yet all share the same mission—to provide high-quality, affordable higher education to meet the changing workforce needs of the people of California.
The CSU offers more than 1,800 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in some 357 subject areas, as well as teaching credential programs. Many programs and courses are available online. A select number of doctoral degrees are offered jointly with the University of California or with private universities in California. The CSU commenced its own independent education doctorate program in fall 2007.
Master Plan for Higher Education
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 and is the state’s primary undergraduate teaching institution. Continuing to expand the CSU’s educational scope, seven CSU campuses launched educational doctorate programs in fall 2007, and six more campuses will launch programs in 2008. The Ed.D. programs will meet workforce demands for advanced training for administrators in California’s public K-12 school systems and community colleges. In addition, California SB 1288, which is currently in the state legislature, would establish an independent Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, allowing the CSU to help alleviate California’s nursing shortage.
Working For California
The CSU plays a critical role in preparing outstanding candidates for the job market. With 92,000 annual graduates, the CSU is the state’s greatest producer of bachelor’s degrees and drives California’s economy in information technology, life sciences, agriculture, business, education, international trade, public administration, entertainment and multimedia industries.
- For every $1 the state invests in the CSU, the CSU returns $4.41.
- The CSU sustains more than 200,000 jobs in the state.
- CSU-related expenditures create $13.6 billion in economic activity.
The CSU also reaches out to California’s growing, underserved communities, offering affordable opportunities to pursue a college degree that enable students from diverse backgrounds to succeed. The CSU provides more than half of all undergraduate degrees granted to California’s Latino, African American and Native American students.
The CSU is comprehensive in its outreach:
- The CSU Early Assessment Program (EAP) allows 11th grade students to assess their college readiness in English and math, enabling students to spend their last year in high school filling any academic gaps for CSU admission.
- The Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) is an educational access and retention program that
supports low-income, educationally disadvantaged students, many of whom are first-generation college students.
- As part of its African American Initiative, the CSU has partnered with churches throughout California to bring awareness to students, parents and families about the importance of early preparation for college. In 2008, the third annual Super Sunday event reached an estimated 80,000 people at 52 churches in Northern and Southern California.
- The CSU partners with the Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE), which helps strengthen parent involvement in their child’s education.
- The CSU is part of the statewide Troops to College initiative, which is a developed academic outreach and enrollment plan to help California’s 60,000 veterans attend colleges and universities.