2014 Facts About the CSU
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Facts 2014
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Scope and Mission

The California State University focuses on providing an affordable, accessible and high-quality education to prepare students to become leaders in the changing workforce, making the CSU a vital economic engine for California.

The CSU:

  • Is the nation’s largest four-year public university system.
  • Has 23 campuses and eight off-campus centers.
  • Educates approximately 447,000 students.
  • Employs 45,000 faculty and staff.
  • Stretches from Humboldt in the north to San Diego in the south.
  • Houses the most ethnically diverse student body in the nation.
  • Is renowned for the quality of its teaching and preparing job-ready graduates.

Master Plan for Higher Education

The CSU system was created in 1960 under the California Master Plan for Higher Education. The CSU draws its students from the top third of the state’s high school graduates and prioritizes admission to eligible California Community College transfer students. The CSU is continuing to expand its educational scope and help meet California’s workforce demands for skilled professionals, and now offers independent doctor of education, doctor of nursing practice and doctor of physical therapy programs at numerous campuses. The doctor of philosophy is also being offered through a joint partnership with other public or private universities in California.

Committed to continuously finding new approaches to higher education, the CSU recently launched Cal State Online—a systemwide initiative where a variety of classes are offered online—and CourseMatch—a program that allows full-time students to concurrently enroll in online classes at other CSU campuses.

Working for California

As the state’s greatest producer of bachelor’s degrees, the CSU plays a critical role in arming future leaders with the skills and knowledge necessary for them to thrive in the workforce and help drive California’s economy. Through the superior teaching of distinguished faculty, extensive industry partnerships and robust campus auxiliaries, the CSU is expanding programs, internships and workforce training opportunities to ensure students gain proficient critical thinking skills, industry knowledge and hands-on experience for employment and career advancement.

For every $1 the state invests in the CSU, the CSU returns $5.43
  • For every $1 the state invests in the CSU, the CSU returns $5.43.

The CSU sustains more than 150,000 jobs in the state.
  • The CSU sustains more than 150,000 JOBS in the state.


  • CSU-related expenditures create more than $17 BILLION in economic activity.

  • ONE IN TEN employees in California is a CSU graduate.

  • More than A THIRD of CSU students are first generation college students.

The CSU reaches out to California’s growing underserved communities, offering affordable opportunities to pursue a college degree that enables students from diverse backgrounds to succeed. The CSU also provides more than half of all undergraduate degrees granted to California’s Latino, African American and Native American students.