Student shakes hands with faculty member at graduation
Press Release Affordability

CSU Continues to Provide the Most Affordable Higher Education in the Nation


With the country’s lowest tuition and fees, CSU institutions provide a proven path toward upward mobility.

Student shakes hands with faculty member at graduation

Staff from the California State University (CSU) Chancellor's Office today presented CSU Trustees with the university system's annual student fee report. Data from the report once again demonstrates that the CSU's annual undergraduate and graduate resident tuition and fees are lower than those of peer comparison institutions across the country.

“The CSU continues to be a national leader in providing a high-quality education at an unmatched value," said CSU Interim Chancellor Jolene Koester. “A college degree is increasingly important in today's society, and the CSU's value proposition empowers students to achieve their dreams of pursuing higher education and – in turn – transforming their lives and those of their families, as they elevate their communities."

The data was presented during the January 2023 CSU Board of Trustees meeting and compared the CSU's systemwide tuition plus average campus-based mandatory fees against 15 public peer comparison institutions from across the nation.

With just one tuition increase in the last 11 years, CSU's annual tuition for an undergraduate resident student checks in at just $5,742. When including the average for campus-based fees, that total moves to $7,520, which is nearly $1,300 less than the next university from the comparison group. Additional data points demonstrate the CSU's commitment to affordability:

  • Thanks to robust financial aid, more than 387,600—or 81 percent—of all CSU students received financial assistance.
  • Nearly 61 percent of all undergraduate students do not pay tuition as it is fully covered through financial aid.
  • 2020-21 CSU bachelor's degree recipients who did accrue loan debt had lower average debt ($17,966) than the state average ($21,125), and far lower than the national average ($28,950).
  • More than half of 2021-22 CSU bachelor's recipients graduated with zero student loan debt.

Providing Californians with access to a high-quality, transformative education remains a priority for the university. Year after year, the CSU and its 23 universities have ensured that individuals from every socioeconomic background are able to obtain a college degree at an affordable price. In fact, eight of the 23 CSU campuses recently earned top honors for graduating more economically disadvantaged students at lower tuition into well-paying jobs—with California State University San Marcos occupying the top spot. In total, CSU campuses claim four of the top 10 and eight of the top 20 spots in CollegeNET's 2022 Social Mobility index rankings.

About the California State University

The California State University is the largest system of four-year higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, nearly 460,000 students, and 56,000 faculty and staff. Nearly 40 percent of the CSU's undergraduate students transfer from California Community Colleges. The CSU was created in 1960 with a mission of providing high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever-changing needs of California. With its commitment to quality, opportunity and student success, the CSU is renowned for superb teaching, innovative research and for producing job-ready graduates. Each year, the CSU awards more than 132,000 degrees. One in every 20 Americans holding a college degree is a graduate of the CSU and our alumni are 4 million strong. Connect with and learn more about the CSU in the CSU NewsCenter.