Student holding a diploma

The CSU Today

In the 2021-22 final budget, the CSU received from the state a permanent base budget increase of $550.2 million, including a restoration of the $299 million base funding reduction in 2020-21. The tables below also include the state-funded retirement adjustment of $4.4 million that will be reduced in a subsequent General Fund appropriation. The 2021-22 current year total CSU operating budget of $7.4 billion is composed of $4.2 billion in state General Fund and $3.2 billion in tuition and fees. New resources to fulfill the CSU’s budget request for 2022-23 are $715.5 million, as shown in Table 1.


Table 1: Operating Budget & In​​frastructure
2020-21 Past Year​ 2021-22 Current Year​ ​2022-23 Budget Year ​​2022-23 Increase
General Fund, Operations​
General Fund, Academic Facilities and Infrastructure​
Tuition and Other Fee Revenue​

The operating budget is focused on fulfilling the CSU’s core mission: to serve students with a high-quality, affordable and accessible education. As shown in Table 2, the CSU spends 71 percent, $5.2 billion, of its total operating budget on instruction, academic support, student services and financial aid. All of these activities promote student success, enrich the academic experience and ensure that each eventual CSU graduate is ready to succeed professionally.

Table 2: Expenditures by Program Area​
2020-21 Past Year​ 2021-22 Current Year​
​2022-23  Budget Year
Public Service
Academic Support706,730,000
Student Services
Institutional Support
Operation and Maintenance of Plant
Student Grants and Scholarships
New Expenditures
State support for the CSU—the nation’s largest and most diverse public university—continues to be one of the wisest and most consequential commitments our state leaders can make with a sevenfold return on every dollar invested in the university. The CSU plays a critical role in providing future leaders with skills and knowledge to thrive in the workforce and help drive California’s economy. Producing over half the state’s bachelor’s degrees, the CSU sends more than 130,000 job-ready graduates into the workforce each year. Ongoing base augmentations from the state ensure higher education access is expanded and costs remain affordable. The CSU is the best value in higher education. Year after year, it remains one of the most affordable university systems in the nation, with more than half of its students graduating with zero loan debt. In 2019, all 23 campuses ranked among the top 100 “Best Bang for the Buck” universities in the West, according to Washington Monthly. Additional accomplishments include:
  • Enrolled 477,472 students in fall 2021;
  • Graduated 132,617 students in 2020-21, 3,692 more than 2019-20;
  • Awarded 112,566 baccalaureate, 19,454 master’s and 597 doctoral degrees in 2020-21;
  • Served 2,479 doctoral students in fall 2021 from diverse backgrounds, preparing them for leadership roles in education and nursing and filling roles in critical fields such as physical therapy and audiology;
  • Improved four-year graduation rates for first-time students by 14 percentage points since 2015; and
  • Improved six-year graduation rates for first-time students by 6 percentage points since 2015.

The university has embraced key opportunities from the COVID-19 pandemic to reimagine an even more dynamic and equitable institution. Technology and support strategies employed during virtual instruction were vital to student success during the pandemic. With an emphasis to be flexible, technology focused, compassionate and inclusive, the CSU will continue to refine and expand these tools to enrich the student learning experience moving forward.

  • Distributed more than 21,000 laptops and tablets and 10,000 mobile Wi-Fi hot spots during the pandemic to facilitate necessary online instruction and learning;
  • Launched CSUCCESS (California State University Connectivity Contributing to Equity and Student Success) in July 2021, which provided 22,775 new iPad bundles to fall 2021 first-year and transfer students at eight participating CSU campuses (Bakersfield, Channel Islands, Fresno, Humboldt, Los Angeles, Maritime Academy, Northridge and San Marcos);
  • Engaged faculty and staff from across the CSU in a Flexible Course Experience Institute to explore ways to offer courses in three modes simultaneously (face-to-face, virtual synchronous and virtual asynchronous), with students able to choose the modality that best suits their needs and preferred learning style; and
  • Provided virtual advisement, with appointment attendance nearing 100 percent at many campuses, allowing students with jobs and families to meet with their advisors from any location.

The CSU adopted a university-wide commitment to innovation and shared standards with a goal of driving value and increasing effectiveness across the system. Through joint contracts, energy partnerships and sustainability efforts, the CSU maximizes efficiencies and economies of scale to increase cost savings and cost avoidance whenever possible.

  • Contributed $45 million in value during 2020-21 through procurement-related cost avoidance and revenue generation activities across the organization, including administrative, instructional, student services, information technology, construction, energy and facilities operations.
  • Leveraged supplier relationships to increase career development opportunities through student internships, professional development programs and job prospects.
  • Developed intersegmental strategic partnerships to reduce costs in purchasing goods and services mainly for construction projects, information technology and academic support.
  • Utilized CSU’s Energy Dashboard tool to reduce staff time through streamlined data collection and systemwide reporting, resulting in improved management of energy information and cost data.
  • Established on-campus solar and battery storage Master Enabling Agreements, which provide cost-effective opportunities to increase resilient, clean energy resources across the CSU.
  • Developing regional, inter-campus energy efficiency and carbon reduction specifications, which will lower costs by establishing standards and reducing duplication of work.​​