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California State University at Monterey Bay (CSU-MB) is a public research institution located in Monterey County, California near the cities of Seaside and Marina. The school also has satellite facilities in Monterey and Salinas. Founded in 1994, it is part of the California State University system.

Overview of California State University-Monterey Bay (CSU-MB)

The university prides itself on making higher education accessible to traditionally underserved and low-income populations. Approximately 53% of enrolled students are among the first generation of their families to go to college. Faculty and staff work hard to help prepare students to contribute responsibly to California and the global community by providing transformative learning experiences in an inclusive environment. California State University at Monterey Bay has nine core values including student-centeredness, intellectual curiosity, sustainability, global orientation, integrity, diversity, and civic engagement.

The total student population is 7,503. Of those, 6,692 are pursuing undergraduate degrees. The university also employs 218 full-time and 244 part-time faculty members, all of whom are responsible for instruction. There are also 11 instructional graduate assistants. Overall, the student-to-faculty ratio is 27:1, which is higher than the national average. As a result, those enrolled may have a little more trouble receiving one-on-one attention from professors.

General Information

School Type Public
Campus Setting Suburb: Midsize
Campus Housing Yes
Student Faculty Ratio 13:1
Graduation Rate 60%
Year Founded 1994

Student Enrollment

Total Students7,503


Undergraduate Student

Male 2,543
Female 4,149

Graduate Student

Male 308
Female 503

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CSU-MB Acceptance Rate and Admissions


Male 3,822
Female 6,204


Male 3,478
Female 5,832

Acceptance Rate93%

Male 91%
Female 94%

Enrollment 746

Male 278
Female 525
Application Fee $70
High School GPA Required
High School Rank NA
High School Transcripts Required
College Prep Courses Required
Recommendations NA
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) NA
Application Deadline January 15
Common Application Accepted No

CSU-MB Tuition Cost & Financial Aid

As a member of the California State University system, California State University at Monterey Bay charges standardized registration tuition and fees, including non-resident tuition fees and campus-specific fees. The institution does make every effort to keep student cost to a minimum but maintains the right to increase rates when public funding is inadequate.

During the 2019-2020 academic year, the basic tuition rate for California residents enrolled in at least 6.1 credits was $2,871 per semester. All matriculated students also pay a variety of fees, regardless of status or the number of units taken, totally approximately $700.50. These include student health services fees, associate study body fees, student union fees, and leisure activity fees. Additionally, students must be prepared to pay for parking permits, books, supplies, housing, meals, and transportation.

Non-resident students both from the United States and other countries are charged at a different rate. The out-of-state tuition rate during the 2019-2020 academic year for all California State University campuses was $396 per semester unit. The total owed is dependent upon the number of courses taken. All fees and other expenses mentioned above still apply.

Tuition is also different for graduate students. During the 2019-2020 academic year, those enrolled in at least 6.1 credits at the graduate level paid a basic tuition rate of $3,588 per semester.

To help offset the cost of higher education, California State University at Monterey Bay encourages all students to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the California Dream Act Application (CADAA). The school’s financial aid office also offers drop in counseling hours via Zoom for further assistance. Approximately 72% of students enrolled at California State University at Monterey Bay receive some form of financial aid. During the 2020-2021 academic year, 25% of students entering postsecondary education for the first time still required loans to attend.

Average net price 2020-2021
Net Price $6,085
Average Total Aid $9,097
Students Receiving Financial Aid 75%
Room & Board $10,895

Sticker Price

  • Tuition In-State - $7,218
  • Tuition Out-of-State - $19,098
  • Books and Supplies - $822
  • Room & Board - $10,895
  • Other - $2,533


California State University at Monterey Bay cultivates a student-ready environment that promotes wellness and a sense of belonging. It also promotes academic excellence through challenging and supportive holistic learning. Those enrolled can choose from a wide variety of disciplines, with 25 undergraduate degrees and over 30 possible concentrations. The institution also offers more than 30 minors, nine graduate degrees, and several teacher certification programs.

The institution’s colleges include:

  • College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences
  • College of Business
  • College of Education
  • College of Extended Education and International Programs
  • College of Health Sciences and Human Services
  • College of Science
  • University College

It’s worth noting that California State University at Monterey Bay does not offer many online learning options. In fact, the only program available virtually is in computer science. Students are, however, allowed to take classes offered at other California State University campuses in person or remotely without completing the formal admissions process. Those enrolled can take one online course every term through any of the 23 campuses. Visitor enrollment is also an option, during which students can complete a full term of courses at another California State University campus.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), as of fall 2020, California State University at Monterey Bay had a first-year undergraduate retention rate of 81% for full-time students and 42% for part-time students. Notably, the national average is 68%. This data indicates that most students enrolled at the university full-time were pleased with their academic and extracurricular experiences and chose to return to the institution for a second year.

Graduation rates for California State University at Monterey Bay were slightly lower, however. Of full-time, first-time students who began their studies in 2015, 60% graduated within 150% of normal time, which is six years. The transfer-out rate was seven percent. In total, only 33% of students included in the data collected were able to graduate within the traditional four-year period.

As a whole, California State University at Monterey Bay is regionally accredited by the Western Associate of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), which is recognized by the United States Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Many of the school’s academic programs also maintain professional accreditation. Some of the most notable examples include the Associate to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), National Associate of School Psychologists (NASP), Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA), and Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Student Population Total

Student Population 7,503

Evening Classes : No
Online Learning : Yes

Most Popular Programs & Majors

(# of Diplomas Awarded by Subject)

All Business Majors 256 Total Graduates / 14%
Business Administration and Management, General 242 Graduates
Hospitality Administration/Management, General 14 Graduates
All Psychology Majors 252 Total Graduates / 14%
Psychology, General 252 Graduates
Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities 227 Total Graduates / 13%
Humanities/Humanistic Studies 115 Graduates
Liberal Arts and Sciences/Liberal Studies 112 Graduates
Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services 171 Total Graduates / 9%
Computer and Information Sciences, Other 170 Graduates
Computer Science 1 Graduates
Parks, Recreation, Leisure, Fitness, and Kinesiology 154 Total Graduates / 8%
Sports, Kinesiology, and Physical Education/Fitness, General 154 Graduates
All Other Diplomas 41%

Outcome & Salary

California State University at Monterey Bay has a career development office available to assist students and alumni through all phases of career development. It strives to bridge the transition between academic environment and the world of work. Services available include remove career advising, major/career exploration, resume and cover letter writing, and internship connections.

While the university does not track job placement rates, it does survey students and alumni regarding their overall satisfaction. According to the most recent study in 2019, 82% of students were satisfied or very satisfied with their experiences at the institution and 77% would recommend California State University at Monterey Bay to prospective students. Areas of greatest satisfaction include class size, academic programs, and library resources. Factors that needed improvement included availability of courses in each major, availability of channels for expressing complaints, and the course registration process.

According to PayScale, the average base salary for California State University at Monterey Bay graduates is $70,000 per year.

Graduates Salary
College Grads Early Career Salary $54,000
College Grads Average Salary $70,000
College Grads Mid Career Salary $104,300
Return on Investment (ROI)
10 Year Salary Earnings Potential $700,000
20 Year Salary Earnings Potential $1,743,000
Cost of Education (Net Price) 4 Year $24,340
10 Year Projected ROI $675,660
20 Year Projected ROI $1,718,660
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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