Chico Facts

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

Quick Facts

  • California State University, Chico
    (popularly called "Chico State")
  • Founded: 1887
  • President: Paul J. Zingg
  • 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/ae: 134,761


(Fall 2015)

Full-Time Equivalent students 16,140
(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 17,220
Freshmen: 4,100 (2,699 first-time; 1,401 transfer or continuing) (24%)
Sophomores: 2,338 (14%)
Juniors: 4,027 (23%)
Seniors: 5,632 (33%)
Postbaccalaureate Students: 1,123 (7%)

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

American Indian/Alaskan Native: 0.6%
Asian: 5.8%
Black/African American: 2.3%
Hispanic/Latino: 27.9%
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 0.2%
White: 45.9%
Two or More Races/Ethnicities: 5.1%
Declined to State: 7.7%
Nonresident Alien: 4.5%

Female: 53%
Male: 47%

Student Profile
Our students come from 46 nations, 37 states, and 2 U.S. territories.

95% of the total student population comes from California: 29.8% from CSU, Chico's service area; 20.2% from the rest of Northern California; 23.9% from Central California; and 21.1% from Southern California. 5.0% 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: 3.45 (admits) / 3.33 (enrolled)
Mean SAT Scores (composite: math and verbal): 1046 (admits) / 1024 (enrolled)

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Ten Largest Majors

Based on current number of students officially declaring majors.

  1. Business Administration 2,431
  2. Psychology 1,043
  3. Pre-Nursing 829
  4. Criminal Justice 621
  5. Liberal Studies 530
  6. Biology 502
  7. Kinesiology 473
  8. Exercise Physiology 439
  9. Mechanical Engineering 389
  10. Construction Management 380

Bachelor's Degrees Granted

Based on actual number of degrees granted during the 2014–15 academic year.

  1. Business Administration 557
  2. Psychology 226
  3. Liberal Studies 151
  4. Criminal Justice 126
  5. Exercise Physiology 117
  6. Recreation Administration 113
  7. Sociology 107
  8. Media Arts, Design, and Technology 101
  9. Health Science 99
  10. Nursing 103  

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Faculty & Staff

(Fall 2015)

Instructional Faculty 966*

Full-time Faculty: 49%

Part-time Faculty: 51%

Full-time Faculty with Doctorates/Terminal Degrees 84%

Staff 986*

* 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: 0.5%
Asian: 6.7%
Black/African American: 0.7%
Hispanic/Latino: 3.8%
Two or More Ethnicities: 1.2%
White: 79.1%
Not Specified: 7.9%

Ethnicity - Staff
American Indian/Alaska Native: 0.8%
Asian: 4.2%
Black/African American: 2.0%
Hispanic/Latino: 9.7%
Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Island: 0.2%
Two or More Ethnicities: 1.9%
White: 74.2%
Not Specified: 6.7%

Gender - Instructional Faculty
Female: 50%
Male: 50%

Gender - Staff
Female: 56%
Male: 44%

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Academic Programs

CSU, Chico has 7 colleges, 5 schools, and 28 centers:

College of Agriculture

College of Natural Sciences

College of Behavioral and Social Sciences

    1. School of Social Work

College of Business

College of Communication and Education

    1. School of Communication
    2. School of Education

College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Construction Management

College of Humanities and Fine Arts

    1. School of the Arts

School of Nursing

Centers and Institutes

Agribusiness Institute
Agricultural Teaching and Research Center
American Language and Culture Institute
California Pavement Preservation Center
Center for Applied and Professional Ethics
Center for Bilingual/Multicultural Studies
Center for Communication Disorders
Center for Economic Development
Center for Enterprise Systems and Informatics Research
Center for Entrepreneurship
Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching
Center for Mathematics and Science Education
Center for Multicultural and Gender Studies
Center for Nutrition and Activity Promotion
Center for Regional and Continuing Education
Center for the Study of Computers in Education
Center for Water and the Environment
Community Legal Information Center
Geographical Information Center
Humanities Center
Institute for Research in Intelligent Systems
Institute for Sustainable Development
Interdisciplinary Center on Aging
McLeod Institute of Simulation Sciences
Northeast Information Center
Northern California Local Government Leadership Institute
Passages Adult Resource Center
Peace Institute
Reading Center
Center for the Public Understanding of Religion

Fall 2014

  1. Bachelor of Arts Programs 38
  2. Bachelor of Science Programs 31
  3. BA and BS Options (within the Major) 90
  4. Master of Arts Programs 15
  5. Master of Science Programs 13
  6. MA and MS Options (within the Major) 23
  7. Minors 105
  8. Certificate Programs 29
  9. Professional Education Credential Programs 15
  10. Other Programs Offered:
    1. Bachelor of Fine Arts
    2. Master of Business Administration
    3. Master of Fine Arts
    4. Master of Public Administration
    5. Master of Social Work
    6. Pre-Professional Programs in Dental Hygiene, Dentistry, Forensic Science, Forestry, Law, Medicine, Optometry, Pharmacy, Physical Therapy, Theology, and Veterinary Medicine
  11. 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.
  12. 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.

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Tuition Fees*

Undergraduate (spring 2016):
0–6 units: $2,364 total per semester
6.1 + units: $3,513 total per semester

Graduate (spring 2016):
0–6 units: $2,730 total per semester
6.1 + units: $4,146 total per semester

Credential (spring 2016):
0–6 units: $2,619 total per semester
6.1 + units: $3,951 total per semester

(Nonresident tuition (spring 2015): $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: $9,548,488
Total Individual Donors: 11,500
Total Endowment: $52,562,821

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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Programs, Facilities, and Services

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, basketball, weight room, and other facilities.

Creative Media and Technology: Classroom Technology Support, Graphic Design, Library Copy Center, Media Productions, Photography, Presentation Graphics Lab, and Web Services.

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.

Institute for Sustainable Development: The institute works to advance the University’s Sixth Strategic Priority. It also 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.

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.

North State Public Radio: North State Public Radio (NSPR) is the regional NPR affiliate and serves a 10-county broadcast area by way of KCHO-FM in Chico at 91.7 FM and KFPR-FM, Redding at 88.9 FM. The network offers international, national, regional, and local news and public affairs programming as well as a wide variety of national and locally produced music and cultural programs. NSPR also streams worldwide on the web at

Performing Arts and Public Events: More than 150,000 people from the region attend activities on campus each year. The University has three theatres, one auditorium, two gyms, and three athletic stadiums. 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 Gorbechev, Desmond Tutu, Jane Goodall, and Shimon Peres.

Regional and Continuing Education: As the anchor institution in Northern California, CSU, Chico serves a 12-county service area, the largest in the 23-campus California State University system. The Center for Regional and Continuing Education provides higher education access to this distributed population through distance education programs, Open University, lifelong learning programs, continuing education courses, and conferences for professionals. Continuing Education manages accelerated academic sessions in the winter and summer. To extend the University globally, Continuing Education administers the American Language and Culture Institute (ALCI Chico), an intensive English language program for international students.

Student Life and Leadership: The University recognizes more than 225 student organizations each year, including fraternities; sororities; and special-interest, social, and professional groups. Student Life and Leadership also sponsors the Cross-Cultural Leadership Center and Recreational Sports.

Student Newspaper: The Orion a laboratory newspaper of CSU, Chico’s nationally accredited journalism department, has won dozens of national, regional and state awards. It was inducted into the Associated Collegiate Press Hall of Fame in 2005 for its record of achievement. The weekly paper is published 32 Wednesdays each academic year. Five thousand papers are distributed to racks on campus and in the Chico community, and its website draws an average of 40,000 visitors a month. 

Student Services: The University offers the following support programs: Academic Advising Program; AS Children's Center; Chico State Career Center; Accessibility Resource Center; Educational Opportunity Program; Financial Aid and Scholarship; International Student Advising; Counseling and Wellness Center; Campus Alcohol and Drug Education Center (CADEC); Veterans Affairs; Student Computing Services; Student Employment Center; Student Health Center; Student Learning Center; and the University Writing Center.

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

  1. Chico is 90 miles north of Sacramento.
  2. Chico is 174 miles northeast of San Francisco.
  3. Chico is 8 miles from the Sacramento River.
  4. Chico is 2 miles from the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.
  5. Bidwell Park has a total of 3,670 acres, making it one of the largest municipal parks in the United States.
  6. Chico is 230 feet above sea level.
  7. Average annual rainfall is 22.6 inches.
  8. Chico has an average of 219 clear days in a typical year.
  9. Population of Butte County (2012 estimate) is 221,539.
  10. Population density of Butte County is approximately 135 persons per square mile, compared to 244 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 (2012 estimate): 87,714

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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