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California’s 10 Leading State Universities

California’s 10 Leading State Universities

6.  CSU Fullerton State University

Fullerton State or CSUF, home of the Titans, is located in Orange County and has the 2nd largest student body in the CSU system, approximately 39,000 students. CSUF has a diverse student population and is 6th in the nation for awarding Bachelor’s degrees to minorities.

CSUF is known as a research university and lies just outside Los Angeles. CSUF has a large and modern campus that houses the Titan Dreamers Resource Center, the first resource center for undocumented students in the CSU system. It was also the first Orange County college to have a Greek system.

Fullerton State University photo
Photo by If you didn’t film it, it didn’t happen!

The school received a grant of more than $709,000 from the Department of Education to create the National Resource Center for Asian Languages to provide immersion education in Asian languages which are not often taught. These are a few examples of how diverse the campus is.

CSUF offers many choices of clubs, Division I athletics, Greek life, student leadership, club sports, and volunteer opportunities to choose from. Due to the proximity to LA, there are options and ways to be involved in film, TV, and live performance that span everything from performing to writing, artistic endeavors, technical, and involvement on the business side of entertainment.

The renovated Clayes Performing Arts Center breathed new life into the performing arts on campus by creating three theaters and room for practice and learning.

Not interested in theater? The Student Recreation Center has a 15,000 square foot gym, a rock-climbing wall, multimedia cardio room, indoor track and outdoor pools. A great space to blow off steam and stay healthy.

Tuition, Room, and Board – $25,700.

5.  Humboldt State University

Humboldt State University photo
Photo by Mapbox

Now we travel to the northernmost CSU campus, Humboldt State University or HSU, in Arcata. This gorgeous campus sits on the coast near redwood forests. It is 275 miles north of San Francisco in proximity to mountains and beaches, in a wonderful college town. The school website boasts that the campus is known for its strong social and environmental commitment and that professors will know you by name.

HSU was originally a teacher’s college, founded in 1913. Now it is a fully an accredited university with a fine reputation for research. HSU houses nationally known programs in natural resources and sciences, as well as strong performing arts programs.

If you decide HSU is the place for you, then you can spend time at an oceanside marine biology research center or in a wildlife care center, or studying sustainable energy systems with an expert, or working with young children in the Child Development Lab, to name just a few opportunities to consider. HSU really likes to combine academics with community work through service-learning projects. It is a university known for its social conscience.

When you want to expand your horizons socially, there are almost 200 clubs, intramurals, and Greek life offerings. 12 DII athletic programs draw people to campus. And a  state of the art recreation center helps to attract students.

Tuition, Room, and Board – $19,400.

March on Lumberjacks!

4. CSU San Bernardino

University Ave Entrance, CSUSB.JPG
By AmeriqueOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Just outside the top 3, is Cal State San Bernardino or CSUSB. Resting peacefully on 430 acres at the foothills of the San Bernardino mountains, this diverse university has a view that is almost surreal. It is truly breathtaking.

It is a suburban campus that has undergone some renovation in the not so distant past. The University sports a new education center, the student union was enlarged, a recreation center and a behavioral science building have sprung up.

CSUSB is not just a pretty place; it is a well-respected university. It is the only CSU campus to offer classes in the Arabic language and Islamic history courses. Students can study and gain understanding into the Middle East at this campus.

Prestigious medical schools accept science students from CSUSB. The Inland Empire looks to CSUSB to provide well-trained teachers. CSUSB has been singled out for its training and mentoring of minority science students doing work in the advanced graduate area of technical entrepreneurship.

The Center for Developmental Disabilities provides clinical training in evaluation, assessment, training and support for autistic children, parents, and siblings. CSUSB is partnering in the National Children’s Health Study tracking 1000 San Bernardino children from birth to 21. It is the largest study in America looking at typical and atypical development and offering family training.

One very interesting, unique program is the President’s Academic Excellence Scholarship Program, which was started in 2002 by then president Albert K. Karnig. The top 1% of San Bernardino’s high school graduates are offered full scholarships including tuition, books and a small stipend. This scholarship can be renewed for up to 4 years. The goal is to attract bright students, but it sounds like a win win for all involved.

CSUSB supports 12 varsity athletics in Division II. The roughly 20,000 students can take advantage of the art museum, Greek system, clubs, radio station, or newspaper to name a few free time offerings. 70% of the student body are the first college graduates in their family.

Tuition, Room & Board – $20,200.




  1. How about giving a few spots to some of us going for a 2nd Bachelor’s!!! In 2008, the economy tanked and some jobs tanked with it! If you need or want to re-educate yourself in California because you industry tanked in 2008, you’re up a creek in the Cal State system. You’re penalized for being educated! I understand that you’re trying to give opportunity to those that are going for their first degree, but couldn’t you have reserved 10% of those slots for some of us that want/need a 2nd bachelor. So you ask why not a Master’s! Well, if your 2nd degree is different from your first, how do you get a Masters when you don’t have the undergraduate background??? And why would one get a 2nd bachelor in the same subject matter. Anyway, think about it!

    1. Good comment, but please check out your options, Patricia. Most Master’s programs (shop around if you have to) allow students with different undergrads. It’s actually quite common. Typically you take a few upper division undergrad courses in that department along with your Master’s program, but even so, it’s usually fewer units than another Bachelor’s degree. Resume-wise, a second Bachelor’s degree does very little for you, on top of the fact that if financial aid is a consideration, it won’t support a second Bachelor’s. In most fields, the Master’s is the highest level of education you’ll ever need, so professionally, you’re much better going for a Master’s.

  2. My wife just completed her first year a professor in the Business at Cal State Stanislaus.
    She and her colleagues don’t stop at teaching their students, they are caring of each student, they are innovative and dedicated to creating a holistic approach to success for everyone.


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