Scope and Mission
The California State University is indispensable to California’s economic prosperity and diverse communities. It is the nation’s largest university system, with 23 campuses and seven off-campus centers, almost 450,000 students, and 47,000 faculty and staff. The CSU, stretching from Humboldt in the north to San Diego in the south, is renowned for the quality of its teaching and for its job-ready graduates.
Each CSU campus has its own identity, with distinct student populations and programs. Yet all share the same mission—to provide high—quality, affordable higher education to meet the changing workforce of California.
The CSU offers more than 1,800 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in some 357 subject areas, as well as teaching credential programs. Many programs and courses are available online. The CSU commenced its own independent education doctorate program in fall 2007. A select number of doctoral degrees are offered jointly with the University of California or with private universities in California.
Master Plan for Higher Education
The CSU system was created in 1961 under the state Master Plan for Higher Education. The CSU draws its students from the top third of California’s high school graduates and is the state’s primary undergraduate teaching institution. Continuing to expand the CSU’s educational scope, seven CSU campuses launched educational doctorate programs in fall 2007, and a total of 13 CSU campuses will offer an independent Ed.D. program in 2009-10. The Ed.D. programs will meet workforce demands for advanced training for administrators in California’s public K-12 school systems and community colleges.
Working for California
The CSU plays a critical role in preparing outstanding candidates for the job market. With 91,000 annual graduates, the CSU is the state’s greatest producer of bachelor’s degrees and drives California’s economy in information technology, life sciences, agriculture, business, education, international trade, public administration, entertainment and multimedia industries.
- For every $1 the state invests in the CSU, the CSU returns $4.41.
- The CSU sustains more than 200,000 jobs in the state.
- CSU-related expenditures create $13.6 billion in economic activity.
The CSU also reaches out to California’s growing, underserved communities, offering affordable opportunities to pursue a college degree that enables students from diverse backgrounds to succeed. The CSU provides more than half of all undergraduate degrees granted to California’s Latino, African American and Native American students.
CSU outreach efforts include:
- The CSU Early Assessment Program (EAP) allows 11th grade students to assess their college readiness in English and math, enabling students to spend their last year in high school filling any academic gaps for CSU admission.
- The Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) is an educational access and retention program that supports low-income, educationally disadvantaged students, many of whom are first-generation college students. EOP plays a critical role in helping these students prepare for CSU admission.
- The CSU’s "How to Get to College" poster outlines steps for middle and high school students to prepare for college. The CSU has distributed more than 3 million copies in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean and Chinese.
- As part of its African American Initiative, the CSU has partnered with churches throughout California to bring awareness to students, parents and families about the importance of early preparation for college. In 2009, the fourth annual Super Sunday event reached an estimated 90,000 people at 68 churches in Northern and Southern California.
- The CSU partners with the Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE), which helps strengthen parent involvement in elementary and middle school students’ education. Parents learn how to improve their child’s classroom performance and identify steps to help their child attend college during an intensive training program.
- CSU is part of the state-wide Troops to College initiative, which is a developed academic outreach and enrollment plan to help California’s 60,000 veterans attend colleges and universities.