About San Francisco State University

Is San Francisco State University the School for You?

Known by several names, San Francisco State University (SFSU) sits on 142 acres of land in the urban environment of San Francisco, California, according to the U.S. News & World Report. As a large, public university, SFSU offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Review the following information to figure out if SFSU is the right school for you:


  • Ranked #50 in the 2013 Regional Universities (West) by U.S. News & World Report
  • The graduation rate was six percentage points higher in 2009 than the national average
  • High number of academic programs available


  • Total expenses in 2011-2012 were $6,564 more than the national average
  • Acceptance rate in 2010 was 4.5 percentage points lower than the national average
  • Student-to-teacher ratio was higher than the national average

Ranking & School Analysis

As a high ranked university on the West Coast, SFSU offers you plenty of academic programs, student services and research opportunities. As noted by the U.S. News & World Report, some of the most popular degree programs at SFSU include management and operations, liberal arts and sciences, communications, humanities, English language, media studies, literature, psychology, business administration and general studies. According to SFSU's website, undergraduates can choose from 124 degree programs and minors. If you are a graduate student, you have the option of selecting from any of the 102 master's degree program areas.

Information from its website shows that SFSU is known for such programs as international education, community service learning, business, civic government, educator training and the liberal arts. Although the university has a wide range of available programs, as a large school with over 25,000 individuals enrolled, the student to teacher ratio was 25:1 in 2012, which means large class sizes. The U.S. News & World Report showed that in 2013 only about 20% of SFSU classes had less than 20 students. While classes may be large and somewhat overcrowded, information recorded from students who started courses in 2005 showed that 46% graduated in four years, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), and the 2009 national average for graduation rates was only 40%.

Admissions & Financial Aid at San Francisco State University

Information from the SFSU admissions page shows that admissions applications are submitted completely online through use of the CSUMentor software program. The university asks students to submit the normal documentation, including high school transcripts and ACT or SAT test scores. You may be interested to know that SFSU does give priority registration to freshman applicants who graduated from high schools in nearby Bay Area counties, which may or may not benefit some applicants.

First-time freshmen must select a major upon application, according to SFSU's website, but there are certain impacted majors that they cannot choose, such as dietetics, psychology, visual communication design, nursing, industrial arts, interior design and social work. SFSU recommends that students interested in these areas consider registering as undeclared majors.

In fall 2010, NCES reported that nearly 30,000 people applied to SFSU. Although 61% were accepted, only 20% decided to enroll. Total average expenses for SFSU students in 2011-2012 were $23,700 for on-campus students and $25,086 for off-campus students, per NCES. The national average on-campus total student expenses during that same school year was $17,136. If you break down the numbers, though, the 2011-2012 cost for SFSU tuition and fees were only $6,276 for in-state students, according to NCES records. Living in a major metropolitan area such as San Francisco may explain why other expenses were so high.

Applications & Tuition Info
Regular Application Deadline (Fall 2013) November 30, 2012*
Financial Aid Priority Application Deadline (2013-2014) March 2***
Admission Notification Date (Fall 2013) December 2012-March 2013*
Application Fee (2013) $55*
Acceptance Rate (2010) 61%**
In-state Tuition & Fees (2011-2012) $6,738**
Average Financial Aid Package (2012) $11,119***
Percent of Students with Need Met (2012) 61%***
Average Student Debt at Graduation (2012) $18,850***
Student Loan Default Rate (2009) 5.2%**

Living at San Francisco State University

Although SFSU is a large campus, there really isn't enough on-campus housing to go around, and the majority of students actually live off-campus and commute to school. According to the U.S. News & World Report, there are more than 300 student clubs and organizations available, including sororities and fraternities. The Greek life Web page on the SFSU's website states that there were 30 Greek organizations as of 2012. Records from NCES showed that as of 2011, SFSU was a highly ethnically diverse campus, with 27% of the student population being Asian, 27% white, 20% Hispanic, 7% non-resident aliens, 5% African-American and 1% Pacific Islander or Native American.

The U.S. News & World Report indicated that SFSU provided a multitude of student services, including day care facilities, women's centers, health insurance options, tutoring and a health services department. Security on campus includes 24-hour patrols as well as emergency telephone services. If you plan on taking late-night classes, security guards can provide escort services to your vehicle.

Student Life Info
Campus Setting Major urban city*
Student Population (2011) 29,541*
Male-to-Female Student Ratio (2011) 41.7% male to 58.3% female*
% of Full Time Students (2010) 60%**
% of In-state Students (2010) 97%**
% of International Students (2010) 2%**
Retention Rate (2011) 81%**
Campus Housing Available Yes*
% of Students Living on Campus 12%***

Sources: *University website, **NCES and ***College Board.

School Contact Information

  • Address: San Francisco State University, Office of Admissions, One Stop, Student Services Building, 1600 Holloway Ave., San Francisco, CA 94132
  • Phone: (415) 338-6486