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 433,000 students, and 44,000 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.
In 2008-09, the CSU conferred bachelor's and master's degrees that spanned 384 different degree programs, 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 14 CSU campuses will offer an independent Ed.D. program in 2010 and beyond. 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 93,000 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, public administration, entertainment and multimedia industries.
- 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 $17 billion in economic activity.
The CSU also reaches out to California's growing, underserved communities, offering affordable opportunities to pursue a college degree that enable 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 lowincome, educationally disadvantaged students, many of whom are firstgeneration 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, Russian, Hmong, Tagalog 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 2010, the fifth annual Super Sunday event reached an estimated 100,000 people at approximately 100 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.
- The CSU is leading a statewide "Troops to College" program established to assist military men and women transition to college after exiting the service. The program includes academic outreach, admissions and enrollment planning for the approximately 60,000 veterans exiting military service each year.
- The CSU has launched a graduation initiative aimed at increasing graduation rates systemwide from 46 percent to 54 percent and cutting in half the lag in degree attainment by students of color by 2016.