Chico State

Chico Facts

Quick Facts

  • California State University, Chico
    (popularly called "Chico State")
  • Founded: 1887
  • President: Steve Perez
  • Student/Faculty ratio: 28 to 1
  • Average Undergraduate Class Size: 31
  • Campus Acreage: Main campus 132 acres; University Farm 800 acres; Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve 7,835 acres
  • Total General Fund Budget: $247 million
  • 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: Red and white
  • Alumni183,323


(Fall 2023)

Full-Time Equivalent students 13,013
(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 13,999
Freshmen: 2,999 (21.4%)
Sophomores: 1,903 (13.6%)
Juniors: 3,437 (24.6%)
Seniors: 4,527 (32.3%)
Postbaccalaureate Students: 1,133 (8.1%)

Chico State Average (undergraduate and graduate): 23  
Undergraduate Average: 22

American Indian/Alaskan Native: 0.5%
Asian: 5.6%
Black/African American: 2.7%
Hispanic/Latino: 37.3%
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 0.2%
White: 42.4%
Two or More Races/Ethnicities: 5.6%
Unkown/Declined to State: 3.6%

Female: 56.1%
Male: 43.6%
Nonbinary: 0.3%

View additional student diversity demographics.

Student Profile
Our students come from 40 nations and 31 states.

97% of the total student population comes from California: 27.1% from Chico State's service area; 10.7% from the Sacramento Area; 21.6% from the San Francisco Bay Area; 20.5% from the Los Angeles area; and 17% from the rest of California. The remaining 3% are out-of-state or international students.

All students are members of the Associated Students of Chico State, a multimillion-dollar corporation managed by students. The AS is responsible for the student government, the Chico State Wildcat Store, the Wildcat Recreation Center(opens in new window), Adventure Outings, 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 Clinic (CLIC), Gender & Sexuality Equity Coalition (GSEC), 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: 3.52 (admits) / 3.41 (enrolled)

Ten Largest Majors

Based on current number of students officially declaring majors.

  1. Business Administration 1,756
  2. Psychology 1,029
  3. Pre-Nursing 754
  4. Liberal Studies 580
  5. Computer Science 553
  6. Sociology 501
  7. Construction Management 410
  8. Animal Science 401
  9. Computer Animation and Game Development 399
  10. Criminal Justice 380

Bachelor's Degrees Granted

Ten majors with the most bachelor's degrees granted. Based on the actual number of degrees granted during the 2022–23 academic year.

Faculty & Staff Stats

(Fall 2023)

Instructional Faculty 860*
Full-time Faculty: 57%
Part-time Faculty: 43%

Staff 1,048*

*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: 0.8%
Asian: 8.6%
Black/African American: 2%
Hispanic/Latino: 6.2%
White: 73.6%
Two or More Ethnicities: 2.2%
Not Specified: 6.6%

Ethnicity - Staff
American Indian/Alaska Native: 1.2%
Asian: 5.6%
Black/African American: 2.7%
Hispanic/Latino: 16.6%
Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Island: 0.4%
White: 66.4%
Two or More Ethnicities: 3%
Not Specified: 4.1%

Gender - Instructional Faculty
Female: 54%
Male: 46%

Gender - Staff
Female: 55%
Male: 45%

View additional employee diversity demographics.

Academic Programs

Chico State has 7 colleges, 5 schools, and 22 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 2024 Programs

  • Bachelor of Arts Programs: 39
  • Bachelor of Science Programs: 34
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts: 3
  • BA and BS Options (within the major): 72
  • Minors: 112


  • Master of Arts Programs: 13
  • Master of Science Programs: 14
  • Master of Business Administration: 2
  • Master of Fine Arts: 1
  • Master of Public Administration: 1
  • Master of Social Work: 1
  • MA, MS, MBA, and MPA Options (within the program): 17
Certificates and Credentials
  • Certificate Programs: 29
  • Professional Education Credential Programs (with options): 65

Other Programs

  • Pre-Professional advising 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.
  • Chico State is accredited by the Western Association of Colleges and Schools, as well as a number of professional associations covering all seven colleges.

Explore All Programs

Centers and Institutes

Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve
California Mechatronics Center
California Pavement Preservation Center
Center for Bilingual/Multicultural Studies
Center for Economic Development
Center for Enterprise Systems and Informatics Research (CESR)
Center for Entrepreneurship
Center for Excellence in Finance
Center for Healthy Communities (CHC)
Center for Mathematics and Science Education (CMSE)
Center for Regenerative Agriculture and Resilient Systems (CRARS)
Center for Water and the Environment (CWE)
Chico State Herbarium
Education for the Future
Gateway Science Museum
Geographical Information Center
Janet Turner Print Museum
Northeast Information Center (NEIC)
Passages Adult Resource Center
Rural Northern California Clinical Simulation Center (Sim Center)
Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology

Tuition Fees*

Summer 2024

Tuition is $275 per unit enrolled plus a one-time $8 mandatory summer campus fee

Additional fees are required for non-resident (out-of-state & international) and on-campus MBA students. 

Maximum tuition for each degree classification varies:  11 units for undergraduates; 12 units for credential; and 13 units for graduate/post-bac students.  

Example - California Resident Student:
Per Unit
Tuition Cost
Balance Due
((# units X per unit cost) + campus fees)
3$275$8$   833
Example - Non-Resident Student:
Per Unit
Tuition Cost
Per Unit
Tuition Cost
Balance Due
((# units X per unit cost) + campus fees +
(# units X non-resident tuition cost))

*Non-Resident and Professional Program Fees
Additional fees are required for non-resident (out-of-state & international) and on-campus MBA students.

Reduced Fees for Non-Residents from Western States
Through Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE), students in western states, including Hawaii, may enroll in many four-year college programs outside of their home state at a reduced fee level: 150 percent of the institution’s regular resident tuition. This amount is considerably less than non-resident tuition.

Fall 2024

Fee Schedule *
Student Type0-6 units6.1+ units

*Non-Resident and Professional Program Fees
Additional fees are required for non-resident (out-of-state & international) and on-campus MBA students.

Reduced Fees for Non-Residents from Western States
Through Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE), students in western states, including Hawaii, may enroll in many four-year college programs outside of their home state at a reduced fee level: 150 percent of the institution’s regular resident tuition. This amount is considerably less than non-resident tuition.

*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: $17,575,225
Total Individual Donors: 8,822
Total Endowment: $88.7 million

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Chico State's History

The Mechoopda people were the original inhabitants of the area, which was later issued as the Rancho Arroyo Chico land grant to William Dickey in 1845. General John Bidwell, 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.

The University continues to shares it rich history with the Mechoopda people(opens in new window), who have contributed to Chico and the University for generations. The campus stands on their sacred traditional lands, providing an opportunity for today's students to pursue education in this beautiful place. Chico State continues to rely on the expertise of the Mechoopda people to preserve their heritage and move the campus forward in partnership.

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Art Galleries and Museums: The Turner Print Museum features a collection of over 3,000 fine art prints spanning six centuries, while the  Jacki Headley University Art Gallery(opens in new window) presents contemporary exhibitions featuring regional, national, and international artists. Student-centered galleries include the B-SO Space and the Master of Fine Arts Galleries. The  Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology offers student-curated exhibits, lecture series, and summer camps, and the Gateway Science Museum creates educational programs to teach school children about the world around them.

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 2,260 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's 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(opens in new window). 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 to 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 President's Lecture Series, which has included Mikhail Gorbachev, Desmond Tutu, Jane Goodall, and Shimon Peres.

Ecological Reserve: Chico State Enterprises manages the 7,835-acre Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve(opens in new window) for the primary purposes of protection, enhancement, research, and education.

University Farm: The 800-acre Paul L. Byrne 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.
  • Chico has an average of 249 clear days in a typical year.
  • Average annual rainfall is 28 inches.
  • Population of Butte County(opens in new window) (2022 estimate) is 207,303.
  • Population density of Butte County is approximately 129 persons per square mile, compared to 254 for the state of California.

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Chico Community

City of Chico(opens in new window) Government: City Council and City Manager

Date of City Incorporation: January 8, 1872

Chico City Population (2022 estimate)101,299

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 strived to maintain its strong sense of community, while simultaneously establishing itself as a dynamic regional center for business, education, recreation, and culture.

Over the years, Chico has garnered recognition among the “Best Places in America” by Forbes magazine, the “Best Places to Retire” by U.S. News & World Report. Its dedication to the environment has landed acknowledgment as the “Best Green Places to Live” by Country Home Magazine, and active lifestyle heralded by TIME magazine's "Top 10 Cities in the Nation Where People Exercise the Most," Outdoor's "Best Towns," and  Bicycle's  “America's Best Bike Town."

Visit Chico(opens in new window) for a firsthand look at the unique Chico experience. For a look at the major achievements of faculty, students, and alumni, check out our Chico State Today.