CSU Facts Introduction


​Scope & Mission

The California State University promotes student success through opportunity and a high-quality education that prepares 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, with 23 campuses and eight off-campus centers.
  • Educates approximately 484,300 students and employs more than 52,000 faculty and staff.
  • Features nearly 3.7 million living alumni.


The CSU creates opportunity for the diverse students of California to reach their educational goals and become leading citizens, opening the doors of college to nearly 72,000 additional students since 2010.


The CSU prepares students for success through leading-edge programs, superior teaching and scholarly activity. High-quality academic programs reflect California’s current and future workforce demands in emerging fields such as cybersecurity, software engineering, sustainable business and environmental technology.


The CSU drives California’s economy with nearly 120,000 undergraduate and graduate students earning degrees each year and enhances the social fabric of the state and nation through the contributions of its students, faculty, staff and nearly 3.7 million alumni.

Master Plan for Hig​her 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 and help meet California’s workforce demands for skilled professionals, the CSU offers independent doctor of education, doctor of nursing practice and doctor of physical therapy programs at numerous campuses. The doctor of philosophy is also offered through a joint partnership with other public and private universities in California.

Inclusive Excellence

The CSU strives to create a welcoming environment for all members of the campus communities. This commitment to “Inclusive Excellence” is manifested in students who make up the most ethnically, economically and academically diverse student body in the nation, reaching higher levels of success than ever as completion rates continue to reach all-time highs. The university continues to invest in strategies to close achievement and opportunity gaps for underserved and lowincome students. The CSU is an engine for social mobility as those students earn high quality educations that propel them into higher economic strata.

Preparing California's Workforce

The CSU plays a critical role in providing future leaders with the skills and knowledge they’ll need to thrive in the workforce and help drive California’s economy. With nearly 120,000 annual graduates, the CSU is the state’s greatest producer of bachelor’s degrees and drives California’s economy in agriculture, information technology, business, hospitality, life sciences, healthcare, public administration, education, media and entertainment.

  • 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
  • CSU-related expenditures create more than $17 billion in economic activity
  • One in 10 employees in California is a CSU graduate
  • The CSU awards nearly half of the state’s baccalaureates

The CSU reaches out to California’s growing underserved communities, offering affordable opportunities to pursue a college degree, enabling students from diverse backgrounds to succeed. More than one-third of CSU students are first-generation college students and the CSU provides more than half of all undergraduate degrees earned by California’s Latino, African American and Native American students. Twenty-one of 23 CSUs are currently recognized by the Department of Education as Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), colleges and universities with a Latino student enrollment of at least 25 percent.

Graduation Initiative 2025​​​

Graduation Initiative 2025 aims to increase completion rates for all students while closing achievement gaps among low-income and underserved students. This initiative will dramatically benefit students and their families and have a significant impact on California’s economy and workforce. The ambitious goals challenge the CSU to more than double its current 4-year graduation rate in nine years, as well as graduate 500,000 additional students by 2025—meeting the CSU’s share of the state’s projected degree shortfal​​l.

GI2025: Graduate an additional students by 2025 increase graduation rates ​