CSU Facts 2008
Student reading in a courtyard


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 California.

Where Do CSU Students Come From?
In fall 2007, 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 (87 percent) from California public high schools, followed by California private high schools (12 percent).

New undergraduate transfers came largely from the California Community Colleges (84 percent), with about 5 percent each coming from the CSU and from other states.

The majority of new postbaccalaureate and graduate students came from the CSU (54 percent), followed by the University of California (16 percent), private institutions (7 percent) and out of state (13 percent), with the remainder from foreign or unknown sources.

Student Profile
CSU students are not necessarily the traditional 18- to 22-year-olds. The most recent survey found that:

  • The average undergraduate age is 24.
  • Only 8 percent live on campus.
  • Only 61 percent are dependent on parents.
  • About 12 percent are married.
  • Nearly one-quarter have dependents.
  • Three out of four have jobs; almost 18 percent work more than 30 hours per week.
  • Nearly 35 percent of the students are in the first generation in their family to attend college.

Giving Back To Communities
The CSU’s Center for Community Engagement (formerly the Office of Community Service Learning) has a 10-year legacy of growth:

  • For nearly a decade, CSU student volunteers have contributed more than 30 million hours of service annually. Since 1999, their contribution equates to a minimum wage value of $1.3 billion.
  • In 2006, five CSU campuses—Chico, Fresno, Monterey Bay, San Francisco and San Marcos—along with 71 other U.S. colleges and universities received the Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. This classification signifies a heightened level of national validation of the importance of community engagement in higher education.
  • Five CSU presidents serve on the boards of national and state organizations that promote service for college students.

More information about the Center for Community Engagement »

The CSU has more than 2 million alumni, exceeding the populations of every California city except Los Angeles. More than 200 alumni, including 43 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 Isaac Larian, founder and chief executive officer, MGA Entertainment, Inc.; Omid Kordestani, co-founder of Google; Malinda Pennoyer Chouinard, co-founder of Patagonia sportswear; Mike Curb, chairman of Sub Records and former lieutenant governor of California; and Johnny Mathis, singer.

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Last Updated: February 16, 2009