2012 Facts About the CSU
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Facts 2012
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Scope and Mission

The California State University strives to provide high-quality, affordable higher education to meet the changing workforce needs of California, making the CSU a driving force behind California’s prosperity and diverse communities.

The CSU:

  • Is the nation’s largest public university system.
  • Has 23 campuses and eight off-campus centers.
  • Educates approximately 427,000 students.
  • Employs 44,000 faculty and staff.
  • Stretches from Humboldt in the north to San Diego in the south.
  • 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 is California’s primary undergraduate teaching institution. Continuing to expand its educational scope, the CSU offers independent educational doctorate programs at a number of campuses designed to meet workforce demands for advanced training for administrators in California’s public K-12 school systems and community colleges. In 2012, the CSU will also offer independent Doctor of Nursing practice programs and Doctor of Physical Therapy programs at several campuses.

Working for California

The CSU plays a critical role in preparing outstanding candidates for the job market. With 99,000 annual graduates, the CSU is the state’s greatest producer of bachelor’s degrees and drives California’s economy in the agriculture, information technology, business, hospitality, life sciences, health care, public administration, education, media and entertainment industries.

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 $17 billion in economic activity.

The CSU also 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 provides more than half of all undergraduate degrees granted to California’s Latino, African American and Native American students.