The State University Grant (SUG) Program is an important source of financial assistance for CSU students. Since 1982-83, the CSU has provided awards to offset the cost of tuition for resident students who have the greatest financial need, as determined by the federal financial aid methodology. Until 1992-93, the state provided the dollars necessary to fund this program.
As tuition prices rose during the Great Recession, the CSU expanded its commitment to financial aid grants to its students in the form of these SUG awards. Total systemwide SUG costs grew by 189 percent from $242.7 million in 2007-08 to over $700 million in 2017-18. This rate of growth is a significant financial commitment that the CSU prioritizes ahead of other budgeted expenditures. This ensures that increases in tuition prices don’t negatively impact CSU’s students with significant financial need. SUG expenditures now make up 12 percent of the university’s total operating budget.
Campus financial aid data is reviewed annually in order to determine each campus’ share of the total SUG pool. The highest priority for awards goes to students with an expected family contribution (EFC) below $4,000. SUG eligibility allows for awards to be made to students with an EFC up to one-half of the total cost of attendance. Nearly 90% of all SUG awards are made to students in the first category. Preliminary 2015-16 estimates reflect 136,500 awards made out of the 289,200 eligible CSU students.