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Nestled in the redwood forests of coastal California, Cal Poly Humboldt is a mid-sized university with over 6,000 undergraduate students. In fact, the official name recently changed to Cal Poly Humboldt, resulting in California's third polytechnic institution in the state. The newfound focus on STEM education is intended to stimulate the northern California economy with highly trained technical professionals. However, students can still find an amazing education in the humanities including English, Philosophy, and Art degrees, though computer science and engineering may soon dominate the coastal campus.

Overview of Cal Poly Humboldt

Naturally, students on the Arcata campus must work very hard to make grades but they also find time to enjoy recreation, fellowship, and even party to ease the stress of college life. To help create that well-rounded atmosphere, the campus supports a range of athletic, social, and entertainment options. The campus recreation center, for instance, offers students a midday workout on its fleet of exercise machines. There are also boats to rent, hikes in the forests, paddling trips, and surfing lessons.

For those who desire more competition in their recreation, Cal Poly Humboldt comes through. Intramural leagues include sports such as basketball and soccer. Sport club opportunities include archery, baseball, rugby, ultimate frisbee, and disc golf, among others. Students can also enjoy rooting on one or more of their home teams, the Lumberjacks, who compete in a wide range of varsity sports such as soccer, basketball, softball, and track.

General Information

School Type Public
Campus Setting Town: Remote
Campus Housing Yes
Student Faculty Ratio 19:1
Graduation Rate 49%
Year Founded 1913

Student Enrollment

Total Students7,180


Undergraduate Student

Male 2,829
Female 3,751

Graduate Student

Male 258
Female 342

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Top Rankings For Cal Poly Humboldt

HSU Acceptance Rate and Admissions


Male 4,263
Female 5,935


Male 3,581
Female 5,104

Acceptance Rate85%

Male 84%
Female 86%

Enrollment 520

Male 189
Female 331
Application Fee $70
High School GPA Required
High School Rank N/A
High School Transcripts Required
College Prep Courses Required
Recommendations N/A
SAT/ACT Required
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) N/A
Application Deadline November 30
Common Application Accepted No

HSU Tuition Cost & Financial Aid

Cal Poly Humboldt is a publicly funded institution in a state known for providing very affordable college degrees to its resident students. While costs have risen over the decades, HSU still provides a terrific academic value. Californians and students who are part of the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) enjoy educational costs that are under $9,000. Meanwhile, non-residents pay more than twice that amount with gross educational expenses exceeding $20,000. On top of these gross costs, students must cover their living expenses. Once these costs are tallied, those with in-state tuition pay between $25k and $26,000 for a year at Humboldt. Non-residents face gross costs that reach nearly $38,000.

The net cost tells a different story, however. In fact, the financial aid office is able to get the average net price down to $15,000 for a year, including living costs. For the lowest income students, this average falls to a mere $11,000 per year and families that earn over $110,000 pay around $23,000.

Average net price 2018-2019
Net Price $14,766
Average Total Aid $9,476
Students Receiving Financial Aid 79%
Room & Board $13,120

Sticker Price

  • Tuition In-State - $7,864
  • Tuition Out-of-State - $19,744
  • Books and Supplies - $1,820
  • Room & Board - $13,120
  • Other - $2,540

Academics & Popular Education Programs at HSU

Humboldt State University, now Cal Poly Humboldt, has long enjoyed a terrific academic reputation. To test the veracity of this reputation, educational researchers evaluate many statistics such as the school's retention rate, graduation rate, and more. The retention rate indicates student satisfaction by measuring how many first-time, full-time students return to Cal Poly Humboldt for a second year. Indeed, the school reports a 73% retention rate, significantly higher than the national average.

Down the line, CPH's statistics show a 50% overall graduation rate, with 6% transferring to other institutions. Given the difficulty of earning a college degree, these are solid numbers. Since Cal Poly Humboldt has a student-to-faculty ratio of 17 to 1, it's clear that smaller and perhaps more nurturing classroom experiences add up to somewhat better outcomes.

Given Cal Poly Humboldt's transition to a polytechnic institution, it's certain that the campus will only improve on its high academic standards. After all, California is already home to several top polytechnic institutions and STEM departments in general, so it's not a stretch to assume that only excellence will arise on the Arcata campus.

Student Population Total

Student Population 7,180

Evening Classes : No
Online Learning : Yes

Most Popular Programs & Majors

(# of Diplomas Awarded by Subject)

Natural Resources and Conservation 325 Total Graduates / 18%
Environmental Science 122 Graduates
Wildlife, Fish and Wildlands Science and Management 87 Graduates
Forestry, General 64 Graduates
Environmental Studies 31 Graduates
All Biological & Biomedical Majors 189 Total Graduates / 10%
Biology/Biological Sciences, General 129 Graduates
Zoology/Animal Biology 37 Graduates
Botany/Plant Biology 23 Graduates
All Psychology Majors 174 Total Graduates / 10%
Psychology, General 174 Graduates
All Social Sciences Majors 169 Total Graduates / 9%
Criminology 53 Graduates
Sociology, General 37 Graduates
Anthropology, General 29 Graduates
Political Science and Government, General 24 Graduates
All Business Majors 143 Total Graduates / 8%
Business Administration and Management, General 143 Graduates
All Other Diplomas 44%

Outcome & Salary

While college years are full of growth experiences and lots of learning, students are interested to know how well it will all pay off in the job market. Though there are no guarantees, alumni are asked to report their earnings in order to give the younger classes a view to the future. Thus, of the top-earning degrees, CPH's computer science graduates start their careers with the highest median salary of $70,000. Of the top five degrees, business administration students report the lowest starting salary, still a solid $40,000 at the entry level. In the middle of the pack are forestry students who report median earnings of $46,000. Many of these workers actually earn quite a bit more once other compensation, such as benefits and bonuses, are factored in.

Graduates Salary
College Grads Early Career Salary $47,300
College Grads Average Salary $64,602
College Grads Mid Career Salary $90,000
Return on Investment (ROI)
10 Year Salary Earnings Potential $646,020
20 Year Salary Earnings Potential $1,546,020
Cost of Education (Net Price) 4 Year $59,064
10 Year Projected ROI $586,956
20 Year Projected ROI $1,486,956
No College Education Salary Comparison
National Average Salary $38,792
10 Year Projected Income $387,920
20 Year Projected Income $775,840

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