Federal Relations

Serving California's Diverse Population

Download a printable fact sheet (.pdf) on CSU support for underserved communities.

California’s economic future depends upon the successful preparation of its students for the state’s workforce needs. Over 70% of California’s K-12 students are students of color.

Broad Access: With 23 campuses and approximately 460,000 students, the California State University is the largest bachelor and graduate degree university in the world. About 60% of CSU students are students of color (including 160,000 Hispanic/Latino, 76,000 Asian, and 20,000 African American students). More than one-third of CSU undergraduates are in the first generation of their family to attend college. Nearly 13,000 CSU students are veterans or service members and their dependents.

Low tuition, low debt, quality careers: Average annual tuition at the CSU for a full time undergraduate from California is $6,759. CSU students' loan debt upon graduation is significantly less than the national average, while CSU students’ starting and mid-career salaries are higher than national averages.

Commitment to Closing the Achievement Gap: Led by a Presidents’ Council on Underserved Communities, the CSU has put in place community-specific initiatives designed to improve access and success for Latino, African American, Native American, Asian American and Pacific Islander, Veteran and Foster Care students. In addition, the CSU has pioneered Summer Bridge and other transitional programs to foster success among first-time freshmen, and developed a range of “high impact” practices – including undergraduate research, service learning, internships and study abroad – which foster student engagement and lead to greater student success and persistence rates.

Results: The CSU awards more than 100,000 undergraduate and graduate degrees per year. It provides 62% of all bachelor’s degrees granted to California’s Hispanic students, 47% to African American students, 43% to American Indian/Alaska Native students, and 38% to Asian students - and is also a leader in transitioning veterans to the civilian workforce. The CSU provides California with the bulk of bachelor’s degrees in high demand fields, such as agriculture (82%); business and professional services (54%); criminal justice (80%); engineering (49%); nursing (49%); and life sciences (41%).

CSU Priorities for 2015: The CSU is committed to substantially increasing student success. The system’s recently announced Graduation Initiative 2025 aims to boost CSU bachelor’s degrees earned by 100,000 over the next decade relative to current graduation rates.  The initiative sets specific goals for improved completion rates for first-time freshmen, transfer students, and historically underrepresented and low-income students. Federal programs provide critical resources to help build capacity at minority-serving institutions and provide aid to students from underserved communities throughout the P-16 pipeline.

  • Institutional Capacity-Building: Maintain funding for Hispanic-serving, Asian American Native American Pacific Islander-serving, and other minority-serving institutions; allow multi-diverse institutions to compete for funds across the range of MSI programs.
  • Student Aid: Support cost of living increases in the maximum Pell Grant for FY 2016, retain any program surplus for future years, and make grants available to students for year-round study.
  • Pipeline Programs: Provide robust funding for GEAR UP and TRIO programs, which prepare underrepresented students for college, enhancing academic literacy, encouraging persistence, and ultimately graduation.
  • Community Careers: Invest in programs targeted to underserved communities like the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation and USDA’s Hispanic-serving Institutions National Program.