The CSU has a significant impact on the state through the personal contributions
of current students and alumni. Its students largely come from California and
remain in the state using their increased skills and knowledge to the benefit of
Where Do CSU Students Come From?
In fall 2004, more than 97 percent of all enrolled students came from California.
More than one quarter of those came from Los Angeles County, with large numbers
also coming from Orange (9 percent), San Diego (8 percent) and Santa Clara (6 percent)
counties, the CSU draws students from across the nation to its 23 campuses.
New first-time freshmen came overwhelmingly (84 percent) from California public
high schools, followed by California private high schools (12 percent).
New undergraduate transfers came largely from the California Community Colleges
(88 percent), with about 4 percent each coming from the CSU and from other states.
The majority of new postbaccalaureate and graduate students came from the CSU
(53 percent), followed by the University of California (16 percent), private
institutions (8 percent) and out of state (16 percent), with the remainder from
foreign or unknown sources.
CSU students are not necessarily the traditional 18- to 22-year-olds. The most
recent survey found that:
- The average undergraduate age is 24.
- About 85 percent are commuters.
- Only 56 percent are dependent on parents.
- Nearly two in five have dependents.
- Four out of five have jobs, and 36 percent work full time.
- About one in five students is in the first generation in their family to
- 40 percent of CSU students come from households where English is not the main
Giving Back to Communities
For more information on CSU service learning, visit
- More than 185,000 CSU students participate in community service annually,
donating nearly 30 million hours, the minimum wage equivalent of $200 million.
The largest portion of this service (42 percent) is tutoring or other
- More than 65,000 CSU students participate in academic courses with
service-learning components. More than 1,800 service-learning courses are
offered at the CSU campuses.
- Since 1998, some 3,200 CSU students have taken part in national service
programs that provide scholarship assistance in return for structured community
service that can run as high as 900 hours of service a year.
The CSU has 2 million alumni, more than the populations of every California
city except Los Angeles. More than 200 alumni, including 41 legislators, work
in the state Capitol, while, nationally, the CSU boasts several CEOs among the
Fortune 500 companies.
CSU alumni are the engine of the state’s productivity and key to its future.
One in 10 members of California’s workforce is a CSU graduate, and the majority
of the state’s teachers are CSU alumni, including about half of the California
State Teacher of the Year award recipients.
CSU graduates have distinguished themselves in every field, including arts and
entertainment, business, education, journalism, public administration, the
sciences, sports, and agriculture. CSU graduates are the core of California in
virtually every field of endeavor.
Among noted CSU alumni are director Steven Spielberg, novelist Anne Rice, actor
Richard Dreyfuss, astronaut Robert “Hoot” Gibson, astronomer and comet discoverer
Carolyn Shoemaker, tennis great Billie Jean King, novelist Joseph Wambaugh,
Hawaii’s Governor Linda Lingle, California Supreme Court Justice Marvin Baxter,
and former Olympic Games organizing committee president Peter Ueberroth.