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Overall Score: 81.39

California State University, Long Beach

Long Beach, CA
Students seeking an intimate, small-college experience should probably steer clear of CSULB, or "The Beach." One of the largest schools in California, it has an enrollment of about 33,000 undergrads. Yet Money's analysis finds its graduation rate is about 18% higher than expected when compared to colleges that admit similar students, so it's clear that many CSULB students find it a good fit. Plus, they're getting one of the best bargains in higher education. Strong departments in practical subjects such as accounting, health care administration, and engineering help students nab jobs after college with median salaries of about $57,000, which is slightly higher than those of peers from other schools. The campus environment is quintessentially California, with scenic, landscaped grounds just three miles from the beach and lots of student gripes about lack of parking. Famous Hollywood alumni include director Steven Spielberg and actor Steve Martin. Students can spend plenty of time keeping in shape, courtesy of the school's 125,000-square-foot fitness center. Fun fact: The university recently asked students to vote for a new mascot, having "retired" Prospector Pete in 2018. They chose a shark, named "Elbee," which made its formal debut in 2020. (The other options were a stingray, or no mascot at all.)


Est. full price 2022-2023
% of students who get any grants
Est. price for students who receive aid
Average price for low-income students


Acceptance rate
Median SAT/ACT score
SAT/ACT required?
Undergraduate enrollment

Financial Aid

% of students with need who get grants
% of need met
% of students who get merit grants
Average merit grant

Student Success

Graduation rate
Average time to a degree
4.7 years
Median student debt
Early career earnings
% earning more than a high school grad

Notes: Students who get merit grants are full-time undergraduates who had no financial need and were awarded grants. Graduation rate measures degree completion within six years for both transfer students and first-time students. Early career earnings are the median earnings for both graduates and non-completers, 10 years after they first enrolled.

Sources: U.S. Department of Education, Peterson’s, Money/Witlytic calculations.

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