A college student studying alone in a library.
Story Online Education

CSU Fully Online Expands Access for Students

Alisia Ruble

Incoming transfer students can now participate in their first semester at the CSU.

A college student studying alone in a library.
​​Students at California State University (CSU) campuses have the opportunity to take one course at a sister CSU campus each semester at no additional cost through CSU Fully Online. The course exchange program provides students with greater flexibility, increasing access to courses that may otherwise conflict with work and family responsibilities, and helps them stay on track to degree completion.

Last spring, faculty transformed more than 80,000 in-person course sections to virtual instruction, some of which were offered through CSU Fully Online for the first time. As campuses transition back to offering more classes in person, some of those course sections may continue to be available through CSU Fully Online as the university focuses on reaching students where they are.

Roughly 60 percent of the CSU teaching force—more than 17,000 faculty members—completed over 250,000 hours of professional development last summer to optimize courses for teaching online and ensure student engagement and equity. Campuses also supported faculty with course redesign so that faculty could reimagine their courses to be taught online more effectively.

The challenges of the last year and a half led the CSU to revisit online education’s potential to enhance instruction, expand access to certain populations of students, and promote equity and inclusion in new ways. The university plans to expand programs like CSU Fully Online in the future to continue meeting students where they are and reduce time to degree—a key component of the CSU’s Graduation Initiative 2025.

The number of courses offered through CSU Fully Online has grown since its launch, in part because of the pandemic, from

​The CSU recently expanded access to CSU Fully Online for undergraduates, especially transfer students. 

about 3,000 in fall 2016 to nearly 11,000 courses in fall 2021. A majority are undergraduate courses that fulfill General Education (GE) requirements, but some post-baccalaureate and graduate courses are available. A “fully online” course is any class that’s offered in a completely online environment with no in person or on campus meetings.

The CSU recently expanded access to CSU Fully Online for undergraduates, especially transfer students. Incoming transfer​ students are now eligible to take a CSU Fully Online course their first semester at the university, rather than waiting until they have completed at least one term at their home campus.

Upgraded search and filter options now make it easier for students to find courses that fit their academic goals. CSU Fully Online also has a new feature that alerts students when they are signing up for a synchronous course, which has predetermined dates where classes meet online. 

EJ Andrews, Jr., a recent graduate of Fresno State and former student athlete, enrolled in several CSU Fully Online courses as an undergraduate student because they enabled him to complete necessary courses while playing baseball. As a result, he graduated ahead of schedule and was recently drafted by the Colorado Rockies.

The CSU continues to expand online options through programs like CSU Fully Online, Cal State TEACH, which offers a multiple subject teaching credential program online, and Cal State Online, which offers online and hybrid degree programs.

To learn more about how the CSU is helping students meet their educational goals through online instruction, visit the CSU Fully Online website.