The CSU strives to keep costs to a minimum by offering institutional aid programs in addition to federal and state grant and loan programs. Financial aid allows students attending the CSU to better focus on their academics and to ease the pressure of educational and personal costs.
CSU systemwide tuition is one of the lowest in the nation, at $5,742 per year for a resident undergraduate student. Numerous CSU, state and federal financial aid programs help mitigate the cost of attendance for the lowest income students and keep student debt well below the national average. In fact, CSU bachelor's degree recipients have lower average debt ($17,367) than other students in California (average $22,785) and the nation (average $28,650).
With 84 percent of all CSU students receiving financial aid and 73 percent of undergraduate financial aid recipients receiving grants and scholarships to cover the full cost of tuition, the CSU understands the impact that need-based aid has on social mobility—a student’s ability to attend college, earn a baccalaureate degree and enter the California workforce in a position to attain greater lifetime earnings.
The CSU currently provides nearly $950 million of institutional aid, which includes $701 million for the State University Grant program. An additional $733 million from the state Cal Grant program and over $1 billion from the federal Pell Grant program helps CSU undergraduate students cover tuition and fees and some portion of other expenses and keeps average loan debt levels well below the national average.
Even with these levels of institutional, state and federal support for financial aid programs, some students struggle to cover the costs of attendance beyond tuition and fees—food, housing, transportation, instructional materials and technology. The CSU believes that this is a significant problem that needs a solution. That is why the CSU has been, and continues as, an active participant in statewide efforts that include all segments of higher education, the California Student Aid Commission, legislative staff and the governor’s administration to transform the state’s Cal Grant programs to better address the financial needs of today’s students. With housing costs, and the overall cost of living in California at record highs, the CSU is strongly committed to working with students, segmental partners and state leaders to identify and implement financial aid solutions that optimally support CSU students.