Financial Aid

CSU Financial Aid

Each year, the CSU provides substantial financial aid from its operating budget to make the CSU an affordable opportunity for the largest number of California students as possible. For 2018-19, the CSU projects $776.9 million in grants and waivers will be awarded. Tens of thousands of State University Grants (SUG) are awarded each year to assist students with the greatest financial need. The CSU also provides waivers for eligible students under state and CSU programs. A summary of the total value of institutional financial aid from 2016-17 through 2018-19 is included in the Three-Year Budget Summary Section.

State University Grant Program

The SUG program is an important source of financial assistance for CSU students. Since its inception in 1982-83, the SUG program has provided awards to offset the cost of tuition for resident students who have the greatest financial need.

For the first ten years of the program, until 1992-93, the state funded the SUG program. Since 1992-93, however, the CSU has continued to grow the SUG program by setting aside a portion of new revenue generated from increases in tuition.

As tuition prices went up during the Great Recession, the CSU expanded its commitment to financial aid grants to its students — in the form of SUG awards. Total systemwide SUG costs grew by 189 percent from $242.7 million in 2007-08 to $701.2 million in 2017-18. As the CSU continues its commitment to be an affordable option for all students in California, the number and value of SUG awards continues to rise. By 2018-19, nearly twelve percent of the total CSU operating budget will be dedicated to the SUG program. The CSU expects to provide at least $701.6 million in SUG awards in 2018-19.

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State University Grants 2007-08 to 2017-18 (in whole numbers)​

Tuition Waivers

Under current state law, there are four mandatory resident tuition waiver programs:

  • California Veterans Waiver for children of disabled/deceased veterans (Education Code 66025.3);
  • Alan Pattee Waiver for dependents of deceased law enforcement or fire suppression personnel
    (Education Code 68120);
  • The tuition waiver for California residents who were dependents of victims killed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks (Education Code 68121); and
  • The tuition waiver for the two students trustees (Education Code 66602).

In addition to the waiver programs mentioned above, the CSU also offers partial tuition waivers for employees and employee dependents pursuant to collective bargaining agreements and human resources technical memoranda. Some optional waivers have been established by Board of Trustees policy and California statute including programs for high school students and California residents age 60 or older, among others. The state has not provided General Fund support for any CSU tuition waiver programs since 1992–93.

In the 2016-17 college year (fall, winter, spring, and summer), 15,186 tuition waivers were granted to CSU students. When tuition rates are applied to these waivers based on student enrollment status, it amounts to approximately $71.6 million in waivers provided by the CSU.


​2016-17 Systemwide Tuition Waivers ​
​California Veterans​9,091
​Alan Pattee​33
​Employee and Dependants​3,332
​Other Discretionary Waivers​855
​HS Students in Special Programs​1,875