A new economic impact study illustrates the California State University’s significant and varied economic contributions to the state’s economy including a return of nearly seven dollars for every dollar invested in the university by California.
Some of the other notable examples of the CSU’s annual statewide economic impact include:
$26.9 billion in industry activity throughout the state
$10.2 billion in labor income
$1.6 billion in state and local tax revenue
The creation of over 209,000 jobs
“The California State University has long been recognized for the quality of its educational offerings and as an economic engine powering California, and this new report helps to further illustrate and quantify the consequential impact of the CSU on the Golden State,” said CSU Chancellor Joseph I. Castro. “A return of nearly seven dollars for every dollar invested in the university demonstrates the wisdom of continued bold investment in the university.”
The study utilizes data from 2018-19 and was conducted by global advisory and digital services provider ICF. As a state supported institution, the CSU is reliant on the state’s General Fund allocation to fund the university’s operating budget. California’s increased investment in the CSU over the past several years has resulted in growth in student success with annual increases in graduation rates which have reached all-time highs under the university’s Graduation Initiative 2025.
Humboldt State University’s Economic Impact
Among the 23 campuses in the CSU, Humboldt State University and its alumni have had a significant impact on the state and regionally, as well. According to HSU data from the ICF report (PDF):
Total Impact on the North Coast. In 2019, HSU:
—Supported nearly $459 million in regional industry activity.
—Supported nearly 4,900 local jobs.
—Generated $32 million in state and local tax revenue each year.
Alumni in the region:
— Supported an additional 2,350 jobs
— Supported an additional $27 million in state and local tax revenue.
— Earned an additional $487.6 million in earnings attributable to their CSU degree
Total Impact on the State. In 2019, HSU:
—Supported more than $533 million in statewide industry activity.
—Supported more than 5,200 jobs.
Alumni in California supported an additional:
—$1.6 billion in industry activity
—$108 million in state and local tax revenue
Every $1 the state invested in HSU, $6.08 in statewide spending is generated.
“Humboldt State is one of the largest employers in Humboldt County, and our employees, students, and alumni make a significant impact on the economy and the culture of the North Coast,” says HSU President Tom Jackson, Jr. “We are excited to contribute to the vibrancy and development of the region and state.”
CSU Provides Ample Return on California’s Investment
The economic impact study provides an even more comprehensive look at the return on California’s investment in the CSU. For every dollar invested by the state in the CSU, $6.97 of positive economic activity is generated in the state. When the impact of the enhanced earnings of CSU alumni is factored in, the figure is even greater – $23.26 in total economic activity for every dollar invested. This figure demonstrates the ripple effect that each dollar of spending by the CSU and its students has on the state.
The study also points to the return on investment into CSU campuses in regions throughout the state.
For every dollar the state invested in the Bay Area CSU campuses, $7.24 in statewide spending is generated.
For every dollar the state invested in Central Coast CSU campuses, $7.94 in statewide spending is generated.
For every dollar the state invested in Los Angeles area CSU campuses, $5.94 in statewide spending is generated.
For every dollar the state invested in Inland Empire CSU campuses, $6.72 in statewide spending is generated.
For every dollar the state invested in Humboldt State University, $6.08 in statewide spending is generated.
For every dollar the state invested in CSU campuses in the Sacramento Valley region, $8.07 in statewide spending is generated.
For every dollar the state invested in CSU campuses in the San Diego region, $8.64 in statewide spending is generated.
For every dollar the state invested in CSU campuses in the San Joaquin Valley region, $7.23 in statewide spending is generated.
The report also examines the CSU’s impact on several of California’s most essential industries as well as those positioned for growth including agriculture, water research, biotechnology and healthcare, and energy and environment among others.