Three college graduates jumping in the air during commencement ceremony.
Story Student Success

Three Reasons to Celebrate the CSU

 

The California State University has made great strides in student success in 2019 and continues to be an engine of social mobility.

Three college graduates jumping in the air during commencement ceremony.

The CSU is an engine of upward mobility, improving the lives of graduates and their families and strengthening California's economy.  

 

​​​​​​​​​​With 23 campuses serving more than 482,000 students across the state, the California State University has the power to transform lives with higher education. And the 3.8 million alumni who are driving the world's fifth largest economy are a testament to that. Here are more reasons to celebrate the CSU:

​​1. A CSU Education is an Incredible Value

The CSU is the nation's largest and most diverse public four-year university system, opening the door to educational opportunities for nearly half a million students. Thanks to affordable tuition and a university-wide focus on achievement, students are earning more than 125,000 high-quality degrees every year.

  • Each of the 23 California State University campuses rank among the top 100 best “Best Bang for the Buck" universities in the West, according to the 2019 rankings released by Washington Monthly. Half of the top 10 are CSU campuses including Stanislaus, Los Angeles, Bakersfield, Northridge and Long Beach. The "Best Bang for the Buck" schools are ranked according to how well they help students from historically underrepresented communities attain marketable degrees at affordable prices.
  • At $5,742 a year, the CSU has the lowest tuition of all comparable i​nstitutions. Over the past 7 years, the CSU has only increased its systemwide tuition once. ​
  • CSU student debt is less than half of the national average. In the 2016-17 academic year, less than half of CSU baccalaureate recipients were in debt, while the national average was 65 percent. CSU students are also about 27 percent below the state average for student debt. (Source: The Project on Student Debt “Student Debt and the Class of 2017," December 2018.) 
  • More than half of CSU undergraduates don't pay tuition, and more than 84 percent receive some form of financial aid.  
  • Through robust financial aid between the university and state and federal government, more than 390,000 CSU students received over $4.5 billion in financ​ial aid. 

first-year college students at orientation

2. The CSU is Improving Student Success

Through Graduation Initiative 2025, the CSU is committed to supporting students every step of the way, so that all CSU students, regardless of their background or circumstance, have the opportunity to graduate on time and pursue their dreams.  

  • There has never been a better time to be a CSU student. Four- and six-year graduation rates for first-time students and two- and four-year rates for community college transfer students continue to increase and have reached all-time highs as part of the CSU's Graduation Initiative 2025.
  • Across the CSU's 23 campuses, the university conferred a record number of bachelor's degrees in 2019 with 107,319, the second consecutive year the university has awarded more than 100,000 baccalaureate degrees.
  • Read more about CSU's commitment to student success:

Every Degree Has a Story Behind it: Discover Stories of Success

Limitless Potential: The Power of a Growth Mindset in College

True Grit: Uplifting Stories from the CSU's Class of 2019

California State University Honors Achievement, Perseverance of Top Student Scholars

Student Mentors: Peer-to-Peer Power

 


College students in the field for an engineering exercise

3. The CSU is an Engine of Social Mobility

“The CSU is key to California's brightest and most hopeful future, opening the door to educational opportunities for all and transforming the lives of students and their families. In a learning environment enriched by the diverse strengths of our students, we create leaders who will bring new vision and strength to their communities, to California, and indeed, to our nation and the world." Timothy P. White Chancellor, California State University

  • Nearly on​e-third of CSU students are the first in their families to attend college.
  • ​CSU campuses ranked among the top universities for social mobility, according to the U.S. News Best Colleges rankings for 2020. Among regional western universities, Monterey Bay, San José, Long Beach, Stanislaus, Pomona, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Fullerton, San Francisco, Northridge and Channel Islands dominated the top 20 of the social mobility ranking.  
  • Nearly two-thirds of CSU campuses placed in the top 20 of CollegeNET’s 2019 Social Mobility Index. The 13 CSU campuses in the nation's top 20 are providing a collective 280,000 students with opportunities to pursue good paying jobs and improve their communities, thanks to high-quality degrees offered at an unparalleled value. ​(Read more about the 2020 rankings.​)

  • Cal State LA is ranked number one in the United States for the upward mobility of its students. The study by The Equality of Opportunity Project examined the role of colleges and universities in helping individuals climb the income ladder. Cal State LA has propelled a higher percentage of students from the bottom fifth of income into the top fifth of U.S. earners, the study found.  
  • “We are stewards of the American dream. Where you see socioeconomic mobility is at institutions like ours," San José State President Mary Papazian told the LA Times in a May 2019 story. “Talent is everywhere. It's opportunities that are not everywhere. That's the power of CSU," Papazian added.







Social Mobility