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California State University, Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA
Nestled between downtown Los Angeles and the San Gabriel mountains, California State University, Los Angeles attracts students who want to excel in the areas of business, nursing, engineering and the solar system. (The school's NASA University Research Center offers courses in aerospace technology and aims to inspire students to pursue STEM-related careers.) Undergraduate class sizes are reasonable, too, with about 65% having fewer than 30 students. The school also has robust cultural offerings – the Luckman Fine Arts Complex provides a venue for theater, dance, music, and other performances, and features one of the biggest stages in the Los Angeles area. The school is also home to the first-ever Chicano studies program in the United States, founded in 1968. For go-getters, the Early Entrance Program in CSULA Honors College accepts promising middle and high school students into full-time college courses (accepted students are as young as 11). While the university's graduation rate is 59%, which is just above the average for public colleges Money analyzed, it's significantly higher than expected based colleges that enroll similar student populations. Where Cal State LA really stands out, though, is by helping students from low-income families climb up the socioeconomic ladder; the university has the highest score on thinktank Third Way's new economic mobility index.


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
5.1 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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