Updated on May 23, 2024
Edited by Evelyn Keener
Learn more about our editorial process

University Headquarters (HQ) is an industry-leading, independent educational organization that provides independent college rankings using a proprietary formula to create first class unbiased rankings. The team at University HQ strives to provide accurate and trustworthy rankings that highlights the best programs.

Get Matched With Online Colleges

It's hard to beat California State University-Chico for its location, not to mention the academics. Their northern California campus is nestled against the Cascade Range and is in striking distance of the glorious Mt. Shasta. On campus, students seek equivalent highs in their academic pursuits. In fact, students can pursue degrees that include but are not limited to construction management, education, journalism and public relations, public health, and sustainable manufacturing. If for some reason a student needs a major that is not offered on the Chico campus, the Cal State system is comprised of 23 campuses, one of which is sure to meet their need.

Overview of California State University – Chico

When Chico State students aren't hard at work on their academic pursuits, the campus offers loads of organizations and activities to help produce a well-rounded college experience. There are fraternities and sororities that offer social, leadership, and service opportunities. In fact, the Chico campus is home to over 240 organizations that span athletics, social clubs, and clubs that cater to almost any academic, political, or other interest.

On top of all this, the Chico campus is home to the Wildcat Recreation Center. This is a state-of-the-art facility where students can drop in for an unscheduled workout or join a group exercise class. There's a full climbing gym, a lap pool, and loads of opportunities to join a club or intramural sports team.

General Information

School Type Public
Campus Setting City: Small
Campus Housing Yes
Student Faculty Ratio 24:1
Graduation Rate 67%
Year Founded 1887

Student Enrollment

Total Students17,110


Undergraduate Student

Male 7,597
Female 8,567

Graduate Student

Male 445
Female 501

Explore Map



Male 11,265
Female 14,643


Male 7,548
Female 11,275

Acceptance Rate72%

Male 67%
Female 77%

Enrollment 2,612

Male 1,139
Female 1,473
Application Fee $70
High School GPA Required
High School Rank NA
High School Transcripts Required
College Prep Courses Required
Recommendations NA
SAT/ACT Required
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) NA
Application Deadline November 30
Common Application Accepted No

Tuition Cost & Financial Aid

Since California State University-Chico is a publicly funded institution, students find that the tuition and other expenses are rather low, especially when compared to private colleges and universities. In fact, a full year of tuition, books, and supplies at Chico is a mere $9,000 for California residents. For students from outside of California and who don't participate in the Western Undergraduate Exchange, the price tag rises to around $21,000. When living expenses are tallied, California residents and WUE participants pay between $22,000 and $24,000, depending on where they choose to live. Non-residents pay between $34,000 and $37,000. While these are very competitive prices, that is only the gross cost.

The average net cost for a year at Chico, inclusive of living expenses, is a mere $15,000. The lowest income students pay only around $10,000 per year while households with an income of $110,000 or more pay only an average price of $23,000. It's then easy to see that Chico State presents a terrific value in education.

Average net price 2018-2019
Net Price $14,843
Average Total Aid $8,955
Students Receiving Financial Aid 76%
Room & Board $13,422

Sticker Price

  • Tuition In-State - $7,806
  • Tuition Out-of-State - $19,686
  • Books and Supplies - $1,970
  • Room & Board - $13,422
  • Other - $2,796


Though some may be attracted to Chico State's terrific location among the Sierra Mountains, there are more important, and better, reasons to enroll in this Cal State school. The best of those reasons is Chico's academic programs which prompt students to expand their knowledge and skills. Thus equipped, Chico graduates typically enter the job market ready to succeed. While any measure of academic strength is something of a moving target, there are a few key statistics researchers use.

Chief among those statistics is the retention rate. This figure measures how many first-time, full-time students return to Chico's beautiful campus for a second year. Higher numbers indicate great satisfaction in the faculty, curriculum, and even campus resources and opportunities for real personal growth. At Chico, the retention rate is a very strong 84%, which is competitive with many of the nation's best public and private colleges and universities. On top of this, Chico State boasts a strong graduation rate of 67%.

Chico's success is built on many factors, but one of the key indicators of academic success is the student-to-faculty ratio. For a large, public university with over 16,000 undergraduate students, Chico's 24 to 1 ratio is impressive indeed. Chico students are more than mere numbers. Indeed, they are the future of California and the nation.

Student Population Total

Student Population 17,110

Evening Classes : No
Online Learning : Yes

Most Popular Programs & Majors

(# of Diplomas Awarded by Subject)

All Business Majors 688 Total Graduates / 16%
Business Administration and Management, General 688 Graduates
All Social Sciences Majors 386 Total Graduates / 9%
Sociology 129 Graduates
Social Sciences, General 68 Graduates
Political Science and Government, General 65 Graduates
Anthropology 51 Graduates
Parks, Recreation, Leisure, and Fitness Studies 318 Total Graduates / 8%
Kinesiology and Exercise Science 125 Graduates
Parks, Recreation and Leisure Studies 102 Graduates
Health and Physical Education/Fitness, General 91 Graduates
Health Professions and Related Programs 317 Total Graduates / 8%
Health Services/Allied Health/Health Sciences, General 143 Graduates
Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse 110 Graduates
Communication Sciences and Disorders, General 64 Graduates
Visual and Performing Arts 261 Total Graduates / 6%
Design and Visual Communications, General 91 Graduates
Game and Interactive Media Design 71 Graduates
Music, General 40 Graduates
Art/Art Studies, General 25 Graduates
All Other Diplomas 53%

Outcome & Salary

After graduation, the alumni of California State University-Chico see very positive outcomes. They take their strong academic skills and knowledge and apply them in fields where they prosper. The top earning graduates tend to come from the registered nursing students, who start their clinical careers earning a median salary over $95,000, before bonuses and benefits. At the lower end of the reported salary outcomes are the electrical engineers, who do very well with a starting salary of $70,000. Other majors from Chico may not make as much in their first year or so, but they are sure to move up or enroll in graduate school and take their careers to new highs.

Graduates Salary
College Grads Early Career Salary $57,300
College Grads Average Salary $73,127
College Grads Mid Career Salary $108,700
Return on Investment (ROI)
10 Year Salary Earnings Potential $731,270
20 Year Salary Earnings Potential $1,818,270
Cost of Education (Net Price) 4 Year $59,372
10 Year Projected ROI $671,898
20 Year Projected ROI $1,758,898
No College Education Salary Comparison
National Average Salary $38,792
10 Year Projected Income $387,920
20 Year Projected Income $775,840

Search All Programs