Chico Facts

Quick Facts | Students | Ten Largest Majors | Faculty & Staff | Academic Programs | Fees | Philanthropic Support | CSU, Chico's History | Facilities | Chico Geographical Facts | Chico Community

Quick Facts

  • California State University, Chico
    (popularly called "Chico State")
  • Founded: 1887
  • President: Gayle E. Hutchinson
  • Student/Faculty ratio: 23 to 1
  • Average Undergraduate Class Size: 30
  • Campus Acreage: Main campus 119 acres; University Farm 800 acres; Ecological Reserves 2,330 acres
  • Total General Fund Budget, including revenue: $201,795,243
  • Location: 90 miles north of Sacramento; 174 miles northeast of San Francisco
  • Service Counties: Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Plumas, Shasta, Siskiyou, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Yuba
  • School Mascot: Wildcat
  • School Colors: Cardinal and White
  • Alumni: 138,659


(Fall 2017)

Full-Time Equivalent students 16,647
(FTE: total number of course hours enrolled in during a particular semester, divided by 15 for undergraduates; divided by 12 for graduate students)

Total Number of Students 17,789
Freshmen: 4,028 (2,805 first-time; 1,223 transfer or continuing) (23%)
Sophomores: 2,421 (14%)
Juniors: 4,421 (25%)
Seniors: 5,780 (32%)
Postbaccalaureate Students: 1,139 (6%)

CSU, Chico Average (undergraduate and graduate): 23
Undergraduate Average: 22

American Indian/Alaskan Native: 0.5%
Asian: 5.2%
Black/African American: 2.5%
Hispanic/Latino: 31.7%
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 0.2%
White: 43%
Two or More Races/Ethnicities: 5.4%
Declined to State: 7.9%
Nonresident Alien: 3.5%

Female: 54%
Male: 46%

Student Profile
Our students come from 43 nations, 34 states, and 1 U.S. territories.

96% of the total student population comes from California: 29% from CSU, Chico's service area; 20% from the rest of Northern California; 25% from Central California; and 22% from Southern California. 3.5% are out-of-state or international students.

All students are members of the Associated Students of CSU, Chico, a multimillion-dollar corporation managed by students. The AS is responsible for the student government, the Chico State Wildcat Store, the Wildcat Recreation Center, Adventure Outings, the Gender & Sexuality Equity Center, the student union (Bell Memorial Union), and many other programs for students, including Community Action Volunteers in Education (CAVE), Child Development Lab (campus daycare), Community Legal Information Center, and the Sustainability program.

Some student publications include The Orion student newspaper, The Chico Historian academic journal, and Watershed Review literary magazine.

Freshman Profile
Average High School GPA: 3.46 (admits) / 3.33 (enrolled)
Mean SAT Scores (composite: math and verbal): 1082 (admits) / 1020 (enrolled)

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Ten Largest Majors

Based on current number of students officially declaring majors.

  1. Business Administration 2,500
  2. Psychology 1,054
  3. Pre-Nursing 849
  4. Criminal Justice 661
  5. Liberal Studies 601
  6. Biology 502
  7. Construction Management 455
  8. Kinesiology 449
  9. Mechanical Engineering 446
  10. Exercise Physiology 416

Bachelor's Degrees Granted

Ten majors with the most bachelor's degrees granted. Based on actual number of degrees granted during the 2016–17 academic year.

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Faculty & Staff

(Fall 2017)

Instructional Faculty 987*
Full-time Faculty: 50%
Part-time Faculty: 50%

Full-time Faculty with Doctorates/Terminal Degrees 84%

Staff 1,046*

*Coaches, librarians, and others who have faculty status but primarily engage in noninstructional functions are counted as staff rather than instructional faculty.

Ethnicity - Instructional Faculty
American Indian/Alaska Native: 0.6%
Asian: 7.7%
Black/African American: 1.2%
Hispanic/Latino: 4.3%
Two or More Ethnicities: 1.3%
White: 77.5%
Not Specified: 7.4%

Ethnicity - Staff
American Indian/Alaska Native: 1%
Asian: 4.4%
Black/African American: 2.5%
Hispanic/Latino: 11%
Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Island: 0.2%
Two or More Ethnicities: 2.3%
White: 71.5%
Not Specified: 7.2%

Gender - Instructional Faculty
Female: 53%
Male: 47%

Gender - Staff
Female: 55%
Male: 45%

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Academic Programs

CSU, Chico has 7 colleges, 5 schools, and 29 centers and institutes:

College of Agriculture

College of Natural Sciences

College of Behavioral and Social Sciences

College of Business

College of Communication and Education

  • School of Communication
  • School of Education

College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Construction Management

College of Humanities and Fine Arts

Fall 2016

  • Bachelor of Arts Programs 36
  • Bachelor of Science Programs 30
  • BA and BS Options (within the Major) 89
  • Master of Arts Programs 14
  • Master of Science Programs 11
  • MA and MS Options (within the Major) 21
  • Minors 106
  • Certificate Programs 25
  • Professional Education Credential Programs 15
  • Other Programs Offered:
    • Bachelor of Fine Arts
    • Master of Business Administration
    • Master of Fine Arts
    • Master of Public Administration
    • Master of Social Work
    • Pre-Professional Programs in dental hygiene, dentistry, forensic science, forestry, law, medicine, optometry, pharmacy, physical therapy, theology, and veterinary medicine
  • The Honors Program offers special opportunities for motivated undergraduate students with high grade point averages. These opportunities range from specially designed courses in general education (Honors in General Education Program) and in selected majors (Honors in the Major Program) to many honors societies that students can join.
  • CSU, Chico is accredited by the Western Association of Colleges and Schools, as well as 25 professional associations covering all seven colleges within CSU, Chico.

Centers and Institutes

Agribusiness Institute
Agricultural Teaching and Research Center (ATRC or University Farm)
American Language and Culture Institute (ALCI)
California Mechatronics Center
California Pavement Preservation Center
Center for Bilingual/Multicultural Studies
Center for Communication Disorders
Center for Economic Development (CED)
Center for Enterprise Systems and Informatics Research (CESR)
Center for Entrepreneurship
Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching
Center for Healthy Communities (CHC)
Center for Mathematics and Science Education
Center for Regional and Continuing Education (RCE)
Center for the Public Understanding of Religion
Center for Water and the Environment (CWE)
Geographical Information Center
Humanities Center
IMC Productions
Institute for Research in Intelligent Systems (IRIS)
Institute for Sustainable Development
Interdisciplinary Center on Aging
Local Government Leadership Institute (LGLI)
McLeod Institute of Simulation Sciences
Northeast Information Center (NEIC)
Passages Adult Resource Center
Peace Institute
Rural Northern California Clinical Simulation Center (Sim Center)

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Tuition Fees*

Undergraduate (Spring 2017):
0–6 units: $2,373 total per semester
6.1 + units: $3,522 total per semester

Graduate (spring 2017):
0–6 units: $2,739 total per semester
6.1 + units: $4,155 total per semester

Credential (spring 2017):
0–6 units: $2,628 total per semester
6.1 + units: $3,960 total per semester

(Nonresident tuition: $372 per unit, in addition to fees)

*All CSU tuition fees should be regarded as estimates that are subject to change upon approval by the Board of Trustees.

Estimated Costs and Finances

Residence Hall rates

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Philanthropic Support


Donor Gifts and Pledges: $14,818,352
Total Individual Donors: 15,026
Total Endowment: $60,995,401

CSU, Chico's History

The Mechoopda Maidu Indians were the original inhabitants of the area issued as the Rancho Arroyo Chico land grant to William Dickey in 1845. General John Bidwell, pioneer, statesman, and founder of Chico, subsequently bought the grant. In 1887, Bidwell donated eight acres of cherry orchard, and construction began on Chico State Normal School. The campus opened in 1889 with 90 students and five faculty members. The first class of teachers graduated in June 1891. Chico State Normal School became Chico State Teachers College in 1921. The legislature converted its teachers colleges to state colleges in 1935, and Chico State Teachers College became Chico State College. In 1972, the college became California State University, Chico.

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Art Galleries and Museums: The Turner Print Museum features a collection of over 3,000 prints, while the Humanities Gallery and the University Gallery host exhibitions of art by faculty, students, alumni, and guest artists from throughout California. The Department of Art galleries in Ayres Hall exhibit student work. The Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology offers exhibits and a lecture series, and the Gateway Science Museum creates educational programs to teach school children about our region's rich natural heritage.

Athletics: There are 13 Division II men's and women's athletic teams, with an all-weather track, putting green, jogging trails, two gyms, a soccer stadium, softball fields, Nettleton Stadium (for baseball), tennis courts, basketball courts, weight room, and other facilities.

Housing: The University provides 2,018 living spaces in six on-campus residence halls and one off-campus apartment complex (University Village). See Housing website for housing options and costs.

Laboratories: Agriculture, Anthropology, Archeology, Art, Biology, Bio-Psychology, Chemistry, Child Development, Computer Science, Consumer Science, Counseling Psychology, Dietetics/Food Nutrition, Engineering, Exercise Physiology, Foreign Language, Kinesiology, Geosciences, Manufacturing, Physics, Physical Anthropology, Psychology, and Agriculture and Biology greenhouses are among the many labs on campus. In addition there are many student computing facilities (three university open-access labs, including a 24-hour lab; 40+ department labs; and seven residence hall labs).

Meriam Library: The university library is a four-story building housing close to a million print volumes with complete Wi-Fi coverage on all floors. It also contains computer labs, private study rooms, and high-tech collaborative learning spaces. Through the Library ReSEARCH Station, users can access more than 100 electronic databases leading to full-text articles in over 41,000 journals and get help with their research online using Ask A Librarian. Special Collections houses the northeastern California collection of books, photographs, and manuscripts as well as the University Archives and the Rare Book Collection.

Performing Arts and Public Events: The University has three theatres, one auditorium, two gyms, and three athletic stadiums, attracting more than 150,000 people from the region attend activities on campus each year. The School of the Arts presents an active calendar of student performances and art events of all kinds, including the North State Symphony; the annual spring musical; and galleries showcasing work of students, faculty, and invited artists. The Humanities Center hosts an eclectic calendar of speakers and faculty symposia. Chico Performances presents a variety of professional touring artists in music, dance, and theatre. It also hosts the Chico World Music Festival and the President's Lecture Series, which has included Mikhail Gorbachev, Desmond Tutu, Jane Goodall, and Shimon Peres.

Preserves: The Institute for Sustainable Development manages several land preserves for the primary purposes of protection, enhancement, research, and education. These include the 3,950-acre Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve, the 300-acre Butte Creek Ecological Reserve, and the 80-acre Eagle Lake Field Station.

University Farm: The 800-acre Agricultural Teaching and Research Center (University Farm) offers lab experience in beef, swine, sheep, goat, and organic dairy production; meat lab; ag mechanics; orchard management, crops, soils, and sustainable agriculture.

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Chico Geographical Facts

  • Chico is 90 miles north of Sacramento.
  • Chico is 174 miles northeast of San Francisco.
  • Chico is 8 miles from the Sacramento River.
  • Chico is 2 miles from the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.
  • Bidwell Park has a total of 3,670 acres, making it one of the largest municipal parks in the United States.
  • Chico is 230 feet above sea level.
  • Average annual rainfall is 22.6 inches.
  • Chico has an average of 219 clear days in a typical year.
  • Population of Butte County (2015 estimate) is 225,411.
  • Population density of Butte County is approximately 135 persons per square mile, compared to 251 for the state of California.

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Chico Community

City of Chico Government: City Council and City Manager

Date of City Incorporation: Jan. 8, 1872

Population within Chico City Limits (2016 estimate)92,464

Total Population of "Chico Urban Area": approximately 100,000

General: Chico is a consummate college town, with an abundance of cultural and recreational resources in combination with a small-town feel.

The city has been named in many "Best of" lists, including “Best Towns” (2011, Outside); “Best Place to Retire” (2008 U.S. News & World Report and 2005 and 2006 CNN; “Best Green Places to Live” (2007 U.S. News & World Report); “Fastest Commute Time” (2006 Money Magazine); “Best Places in America” (2000 Forbes Magazine); “America’s Best Bike Town” (1997, Bicycle); and “Best Mid-Size Downtowns” (2007 California Planning & Development Report). Chico was also rated #10 by author John Villani in his book Top 100 Best Small Art Towns in America, listed in USA Today’s “10 Great Places for Big-City Art, Small-Town Feel,” and rated among the top eight college towns in the United States by

Visit Chico for a firsthand look at the unique Chico Experience. For a look at the major achievements of faculty, students and alumni, check out Experience Excellence.

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