California State University Institutional Information

Information last updated 12/1/2021 from the CSU Fact Book 2021 [pdf].

Background Information

The California State University (CSU) is the nation’s largest 4-year university system. Comprised of 23 universities distributed from Humboldt in the north to San Diego in the south, its central administrative headquarters are in Long Beach. The CSU educates 486,000 students per year and employs 56,000 faculty and staff. CSU students comprise the most ethnically, economically, and academically diverse student body in the nation. Its constituent universities collectively confer over 129,000 degrees each year. Our students largely come from California (95%) and stay in California after graduation, applying their skills and knowledge to help the state’s economy thrive. The largest CSU is Fullerton, with almost 41,000 students and the smallest is the California Maritime Academy, with just under 1,000.

The CSU is a leader in high-quality, accessible, student-focused higher education. Twenty-one of the CSU campuses are officially designated as Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs). In 2010, approximately 28% of the students enrolled in the CSU were Latinx. In 2020 this number rose to 45% of the student population. Similarly, we have seen a proportional increase in the numbers of our Pell eligible students; currently half of our undergraduate students receive the Pell Grant. Nearly one third of undergraduates  are the first in their family to attend college. Nearly half of CSU students are underrepresented minorities (URM).

Since inception, the CSU system has graduated nearly 4 million students. As the largest source of the state’s skilled, diverse workforce, the CSU provides thousands of graduates in hundreds of fields each year. 


The CSU system traces its origins to the Minns Evening Normal School, established in San Francisco in 1857. That institution was renamed the California Normal State School and moved to San José in 1871, eventually becoming today’s SJSU, the CSU’s oldest constituent university. Other State Normal Schools were established and were eventually renamed State Colleges. In 1960, the State Colleges were merged administratively into the State College System of California, which became the California State University and Colleges in 1972, and finally the CSU in 1982. 


The CSU received $676 million dollars in external research funding in 2018-2019. It runs ten multi-campus affinity groups on topics including agriculture, biotechnology, desert, coast and ocean, human health, social sciences, and water, promoting collaboration among faculty and student researchers throughout the CSU. Students are intricately involved in research at the CSU: from 2014-2019, CSU faculty have authored 38,000 peer-reviewed journal publications, the majority of which included student coauthors.

SJSU faculty, please note: while we strongly suggest you tailor the content of this boilerplate to fit any specific requirements of your proposal, cutting and pasting of all or parts of this text into your proposal is not considered plagiarism as it is being freely provided to you by SJSU through the RD unit.