Welcome to Cal State San Marcos!

I am pleased to welcome you to our 21 st -century university, and I invite you to browse our Website to learn more about our remarkable success story.

California State University San Marcos, one of the youngest and fastest-growing CSU campuses, is a pioneer in providing broad access to quality instruction and a trail-blazer in hands-on education relevant to today's global and technology-rich society. We are nationally recognized as a model of public accountability, institutional innovation and community engagement. We build regional alliances that foster economic, social, and cultural development. We inspire our students to be exceptional, and we focus on assuring the progress of ALL of them to graduation. Our faculty engages in the latest research and other creative activities, and our graduates are prepared to lead and compete in the digital age.

As Cal State San Marcos enters its third decade, we are renewing our commitment to the historic mission of public higher education with a special emphasis on five strategic priority areas: academic excellence, student life, campus climate, community partnerships, and educational equity. These principles are central to who we are, where we have been, and what we want to be.


Under the Office of the President , the administration of CSU San Marcos is comprised of four divisions:

In addition, the University has a long-standing cooperative relationship with the following non-profit auxiliaries:

I hope you enjoy your virtual visit to Cal State San Marcos, and I hope you will consider a visit to our physical campus in the near future.

Campus Facts

As part of our commitment to transparency and accountability, we have created this page to provide you with important facts and statistics regarding CSU San Marcos. We invite you to explore the following links to learn more about our campus:

Admissions & Recruitment

Imagine your college experience. Do you see yourself as just a number, or someone with ideas and a voice who isn't afraid to use it?

At California State University San Marcos, don't just speak up. Stand out.

Already applied? Information for fall 2010 undergraduate applicants.

CSU San Marcos Impaction

California State University San Marcos will have very limited space for Fall 2010 admission due to the severity of the State of California budget and California State University enrollment management directives. All applicants are strongly encouraged to apply for admission to multiple institutions. CSU San Marcos will accommodate new first time freshman and upper division transfer applicants from our local service area -- north of highway 56 in San Diego county extending to southern Orange County and southwestern Riverside County -- who apply during the CSU Fall 2010 priority application period of October 1 - November 30, 2009, and who meet all CSU minimum admission requirements and all other University requirements and deadlines for Fall 2010. All requirements and deadlines will be strictly enforced . In addition, the University is presently considering impaction status for several highly enrolled majors, and applicants for those majors, whether they come from our service area or not, will be subject to additional major requirements.

Prospective students from outside of CSUSM's local service area are welcome to apply for admission during the priority application period; however, CSU systemwide impaction will be utilized -- higher admission criteria, wait lists, academic program impaction, and other options. These students will only be admitted i f enrollment space is available after local service area applicants have been accommodated.

While choice of major does not impact admissions decisions, CSU San Marcos does have several impacted majors in which enrollment is restricted.

First Time Freshman Applicants

CSU San Marcos welcomes applications from first time freshman applicants for fall semesters. CSU San Marcos utilizes basic CSU eligibility requirements for first time freshman applicants.

Admission as a first time freshman is solely based on completion of college preparatory courses ("A-G"), grade point average in college preparatory courses and scores from the ACT or SAT Reasoning exam.

I nformation for fall 2010 applicants.

Residency Determination

Under California law, campuses must determine the residence status of all new and returning students. Nonresidents are required to pay nonresident tuition and meet other conditions, unless an exception applies. Additional information regarding residency is available on CSU Mentor .

Preparing for College

CSU San Marcos is here to help students and their families prepare to continue their education. Through partnerships with local school districts and community organizations, we offer a range of information and services to support our community.

The Office of Admissions & Recruitment Outreach Programs promotes higher education by providing academic services and diverse enrichment programs that ensure the success and support of K-12 students, families, and schools, as well as recruitment initiatives for high school and community college students. Services range from tutoring to university field trips, college application assistance, pre-admission advising, summer programs, and motivational/informational activities.

Financial Aid

Don't just dream about going to college and earning your degree. Do it. We can help.

At California State University San Marcos, we¿re committed to making your education an affordable reality through scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study programs. You're not alone.

Consider this: last year, nearly half of our student body received financial aid, with the average amount per student being $7,407. As you can see, it really makes a difference:

Full-time enrollment
Living on/off campus
California resident Resident of another state
Registration & fees
(15 units/semester)
$5,124 $5,124
Tuition (15 units/semester) $0

$11,160 (based on 15 units

per semester @$372 per unit)

Books $1,700 $1,700
Food & housing $10,494 $10,494
Personal/miscellaneous $2,910 $2,910
Transportation $1,250 $1,250
Allowance for loan fee $84 $84
TOTAL $21,562 $32,722

*Fees based on 2010-2011 State University Fee levels. The CSU makes every effort to keep student costs to a minimum. Fees listed in published schedules or student accounts may need to be increased when public funding is inadequate. Therefore, CSU must reserve the right, even after initial fee payments are made, to increase or modify any listed fees, without notice, until the date when instruction for a particular semester or quarter has begun. All CSU listed fees should be regarded as estimates that are subject to change upon approval by The Board of Trustees.

For additional information and fee schedules for postbaccalaureate, credential or graduate students see the current Class Schedule and Course Information .

Steps to Applying for Financial Aid

  1. Submit or renew a FAFSA at between January 1 and March 2 for the following academic year to receive priority consideration for funds. In order to meet the March 2nd deadline, you may report estimated tax information if you have not yet filed your tax return. Be aware that in order to apply for any type of financial aid, all males between the ages of 18 and 26 are required to register with the Selective Service. CSUSM's Title IV Code is 030113.
  2. To be considered for a new Cal Grant, complete and mail a GPA Verification Form to the California Student Aid Commission by March 2. Forms are available in college Financial Aid Offices or at local high schools.
  3. Approximately 3 to 4 weeks after electronically submitting your FAFSA, you will receive an email from the Federal Processor, indicating that your FAFSA has been made available to CSUSM. You may also view your processed Student Aid Report (SAR) on .
  4. Submit all requested documents to CSUSM Financial Aid and Scholarship Office by May 1 in order to receive priority consideration for funds.
  5. Read everything carefully and respond to requests promptly.
  6. We're here to help. Attend one of the several seminars offered by CSUSM for assistance with the completion of the FAFSA form, or contact our Financial Aid and Scholarships Office for assistance.
  7. Don't wait until admission is granted to California State University San Marcos to complete the FAFSA. As soon as the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office has been notified of your admission, if your financial aid information is available an award letter can be sent.


This is gift money awarded on the basis of financial aid eligibility. Grant aid does not have to be repaid.

Federal Grants
Pell Grant - provides funding to students who demonstrate the greatest financial need. They must be seeking their first bachelor's or are admitted to a post-baccalaureate teacher credential program; enrolled in major core courses. Grant award amounts vary based on the student's enrollment status and the calculated eligibility based on FAFSA information.

Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG) - provides funding to students who are: U.S. Citizens, Pell Grant recipients, enrolled full-time, completed a rigorous secondary school program, and who are working on their 1st bachelor's degree and in the first or second year of study. The maximum award for first year students is $750 and $1,300 for students in their second year of study.

Science & Math Access to Retain Talent Grant (SMART) - provides funding to students who are U.S. Citizens, full-time Pell Grant recipients, have a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.0, and who are working on their 1st bachelor's degree in their third or fourth year of study. Eligible students must be enrolled in an eligible major (physical, life or computer science, engineering, mathematics, technology, or a critical foreign language). The maximum award is $4,000 per year and the amount depends on the COA and other financial aid eligibility.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG) - provides grant assistance for undergraduates who are eligible for a Pell Grant and who demonstrate the greatest financial need.

Cal Grants
Cal Grant A Entitlement Awards - provides need-based grant assistance to low- and middle-income students to offset tuition/fee costs for California high school graduates with at least a 3.0 grade point average. Recipients must also meet financial requirements. The maximum award amount is equal to the total amount of the system-wide State University Fee charged to full-time students.

Cal Grant B Entitlement Awards - provides need-based grant assistance to high-potential students from low-income, disadvantaged families to help offset tuition/fee and other costs for California high school graduates with at least a 2.0 grade point average. Recipients must also meet financial requirements. The maximum award amount is equal to the total amount of the system-wide State University Fee charged to full-time students. Cal Grant B awards also provide up to $1551 for books and living expenses.

Cal Grant Community College Transfer Entitlement Awards - Community college students who do not already have a Cal Grant may be eligible to receive a Cal Grant A or B Transfer Entitlement awards if they have at least 2.4 grade point average when transferring to a baccalaureate degree-granting institution. Eligible applicants must meet financial criteria, be a California resident when graduated from a California high school July 1, 2000 or later, and be under the age of 28 by December 31 of the award year.

Competitive Cal Grant A & B Awards - A limited number of Cal Grant awards are currently made available each year on a competitive basis for students who do not qualify for one of the entitlement programs.

Grant Programs Administered by the California State University
State University Grant (SUG) - provides need-based awards to cover the State University Fee for eligible undergraduate, graduate, and post-baccalaureate students who are California residents. Available on a first-come, first-served basis to those who applied for aid by March 2nd. Must have an expected family contribution (EFC) of $5,000 or less, and are not receiving a Cal Grant or other award designated to cover fees.

Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) Grant - provides assistance to economically and educationally disadvantaged undergraduates. Recipients must be California residents who are admitted to a CSU campus through the Educational Opportunity Program.


Money borrowed to assist with educational costs and which must be repaid with interest. Loan programs and terms vary depending upon financial aid eligibility.

Federal Perkins Loan - provides low-interest loans for eligible undergraduate and graduate students with preference to students with exceptional financial need. Payment on these loans begin 9 months after graduation or 9 months after the student is no longer enrolled in at least half-time.

Federal Direct Subsidized Loan - provides government insured, long-term, low-interest loans for eligible undergraduate and graduate students. Interest on this loan is paid by the federal government while the student is enrolled at least half-time. Students must demonstrate financial need through the standard FAFSA to be eligible for this loan.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan - provides government-insured, long-term, low-interest loans for eligible undergraduate and graduate students who generally do not qualify for other need-based financial assistance or who need loan assistance beyond the maximums provided by the subsidized loan program. This loan does accrue interest once it is disbursed to the student.

Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students - provides government-insured, long-term, low-interest loans for eligible parents of dependent, undergraduate students. Parents may borrow up to the total cost of attendance minus any other aid for which the students are eligible.


Scholarships are gift money awarded based on academic achievement, program of study, community involvement, etc., which does not have to be repaid. Many local and national organizations offer scholarships to students regardless of their financial need. Scholarships have a wide variety of academic and other types of requirements. Application deadlines and procedures vary.

There are a number of scholarships administered by CSUSM. To apply for these scholarships, you should complete the CSUSM General Scholarship Application . You will then be automatically considered for most of the CSUSM administered scholarships which are awarded for that year. A new application must be completed each year.

Student Employment

Work Study

Federal Work-Study Program (FWS) - provides on-campus jobs for eligible undergraduate and graduate students through the university. Earn while you learn. This is money earned through on-campus employment. The award is paid based on the number of hours worked and the hourly rate of pay.

On-Campus Jobs

Students who may not qualify for Federal Work-Study (FWS) positions will find a variety of on-campus employment opportunities. Information and current listings are available through the Career Center.

Payment Plans

Cal State San Marcos also offers a payment plan to spread tuition payments over a number of months for your convenience. Visit the TuitionPay Plan website for more details on the TuitionPay Plan.

Why Choose CSU San Marcos?

California State University San Marcos offers the ambiance of a small, personal campus with the unequaled value of the California State University. Students benefit from the latest equipment and facilities, a superb faculty that enjoys teaching, and a rigorous academic program that prepares students for a successful life.

Founded in 1989, CSU San Marcos is located on a 304-acre hillside overlooking the city of San Marcos. It is fifteen miles east of the ocean; just thirty miles north of downtown San Diego. Students are able to enjoy the resources of a major metropolitan area while escaping many of the stresses of urban life.

In less than two decades, the campus has distinguished itself. CSU San Marcos' programs in teacher education are renowned for their school and community collaboration . The College of Business Administration receives national attention for the “Senior Experience” Program, which takes teams of students off campus for projects with companies and organizations. Programs in the sciences and in visual and performing arts are regionally acclaimed for academic rigor, innovation, and career preparation.

The campus is poised for continued growth, adding new academic programs and facilities over the next few years.

Learn more about CSU San Marcos by downloading our viewbook (Adobe PDF).

Contact Us

  • The website provides applicants with online access to the status of applications for admission.


  • Admissions & Recruitment: (760) 750-4848 - select option 0

  • Campus Tours: (760) 750-4830

  • Outreach Programs: (760) 750-4870


  • Admissions & Recruitment Fax: (760) 750-3248

  • Outreach Programs Fax: (760) 750-3089


Mailing Address

  • Admissions & Recruitment
    California State University San Marcos
    333 South Twin Oaks Valley Road
    San Marcos, CA 92096-0001

Campus Location












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