Federal Relations

Serving California's Diverse Population

Download a printable fact sheet (.pdf) on CSU support for underserved communities.

California’s economic future depends upon the successful preparation of its students for the state’s workforce needs. Over 70% of California’s K-12 students are students of color.

Broad Access: With 23 campuses and almost 437,000 students, the California State University is the largest bachelor and graduate degree university in the world.  58% of CSU students are students of color (including over 136,000 Hispanic/Latino, nearly 65,000 Asian, and almost 21,000 African American students). One-third of CSU undergraduates are in the first generation of their family to attend college.  Nearly 13,000 CSU students are veterans or service members and their dependents.

Low tuition, low debt, quality careers: Average annual tuition at the CSU for a full time undergraduate from California is $6,695.  CSU students' loan debt upon graduation is significantly less than the national average, while CSU students’ starting and mid-career salaries are higher than national averages.

Commitment to Closing the Achievement Gap: Led by a Presidents’ Council on Underserved Communities, the CSU has put in place community-specific initiatives designed to improve access and success for Latino, African American, Native American, Asian American and Pacific Islander, Veteran and Foster Care students.  As a result the CSU has seen significant increases in applications from students of color.  In addition, the CSU’s Early Assessment Program and Early Start Initiative aim to boost math and English skills during 12th grade and the summer before college, while the system’s Graduation Initiative has set specific goals for each campus to increase graduation rates and help underrepresented students to complete college.

Results: The CSU awards 100,000 degrees per year.  It provides 57% of all bachelor’s degrees granted to California’s Hispanic students, 46% to African American students, 41% to American Indian/Alaska Native students, and 35% to Asian students - and is also a leader in transitioning veterans to the civilian workforce.  The CSU provides California with the bulk of bachelor’s degrees in high demand fields, such as agriculture (72%); business and professional services (50%); criminal justice (70%); engineering (47%); nursing (53%); life sciences (39%); and tourism and hospitality management (95%).

CSU Priorities for 2014: Federal programs provide critical resources to help build capacity at minority-serving institutions and provide aid to students from underserved communities throughout the P-16 pipeline.

  • Build Capacity: Maintain funding for Hispanic-serving and other minority-serving institutions
  • Student Aid: Support cost of living increases in the maximum Pell Grant for FY 2015 and retain any program surplus for use in future years
  • Pipeline Programs: Provide robust funding for GEAR UP and TRIO programs
  • Minority careers: Invest in programs targeted to underserved communities like the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation and USDA’s Hispanic-serving Institutions National Program