Tuition and Fees

San Francisco State University is working diligently with the California State University system to mitigate the financial impacts of COVID-19 while maintaining academic continuity, provide a vast array of student support services, and maintain our students’ progress toward degree, while safeguarding the health and well-being of all students, faculty and staff.

Because instruction and related expenses are continuing, it is not appropriate to reduce tuition.  It is likewise inappropriate to reduce mandatory campus fees except in very limited circumstances.  Reducing tuition and mandatory campus fees in the midst of the economic impacts would adversely affect course availability, academic programs, and time to graduation. To ensure that the university can make its programs and facilities available to students now and in the future, they must be financially supported and maintained during the pandemic.

We have worked hard, though, to reduce fees where we can. We are pleased to announce that, for fall 2020 the Gator Pass fee, which is normally $180 per semester, will be reduced to zero.  Students will continue to receive their normal semester transit benefits as the Student Fee Advisory Committee approved using program reserve funds for the fall transit expense.  

In addition, the IRA Athletics fee will be reduced from $68 to $58.  The IRA Athletics fee reduction combined with the Gator Pass means that local mandatory fees will be reduced by $190 or 22%.  The fall 2020 the Recreation and Wellness Center fee, which is normally $169 per semester, will be reduced to $144, a $25 reduction or 15%. 

Students who have already paid the fees will receive a credit in their student account and if there are no other amounts owed the money will be refunded. More information about fees may found on the Campus-Based Fees Summary web page.

Instruction on all CSU campuses will be primarily virtual this fall, with some hybrid models for courses and programs that also require in-person instruction. This approach will ensure that students continue their education and progress toward degree completion, while maintaining personal safety and well-being despite the current public health crisis.  Likewise, a vast majority of campus-based academic and student support services have switched to primarily virtual and some hybrid delivery, and will continue to be available to all students.  We are working hard on instructional design and delivery while providing significant professional development to faculty and staff to optimize the student educational experience during this global crisis that sadly will persist for some time.     

The CSU Board of Trustees is responsible for setting system-wide tuition, and all students – at all campuses – are charged at the same rate each academic year, regardless of instructional modality.  With our ongoing commitment to affordability, CSU tuition is amongst the lowest in the nation, and over the last eight years, tuition has been increased just one time.  Tuition covers approximately half of the university’s costs for delivering instruction, academic programs, and services.  The remainder is covered by the State of California, and by campus-based mandatory fees which cover specific, campus-based fixed costs and ongoing expenses of maintaining and operating student programs, services and facilities. Students pay tuition and campus mandatory fees regardless of whether they are a full-time student, part-time student, online student or a student studying abroad – and even if they do not expect to ever use the programs or facilities they support. 

Tuition and campus mandatory fees generally cover fixed and ongoing expenses that the university continues to incur during the pandemic to maintain instruction, and operate student programs and facilities, many of which remain available to students virtually. Examples of these expenses include but are not limited to ongoing costs for faculty and staff  wages and benefits, utilities, repair and maintenance, payment of existing financing and long-term debt obligations for some facilities, academic retention and support courses, library research and resources, academic advising,  the Tutoring and Academic Support Center, career development programs, Associated Student  programs, virtual recreation services and programs, diversity and inclusion programs, physical health services, and mental health services from our student health centers, student clubs and activities, and mentorship and internship programs .

The most significant costs associated with delivering all CSU instruction and programs, whether virtual or in-person, are personnel costs.  Additionally, for the upcoming 2020-2021 academic year, funding from the State of California for the CSU has been substantially reduced as a result of the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, which creates an additional financial strain on the university.   

Mandatory non-resident tuition rates for any student who is not a resident of California are governed by CSU system-wide policy and laws enacted by the California legislature.  By statute, non-residents are required to pay for the full cost of their education, as the state does not provide funding for the cost of their education as it does for California residents.  CSU cannot discount non-resident tuition.  There is a clear policy reason for charging non-resident students higher tuition rates than those who are California residents, in part because a portion of CSU’s revenue comes from the state, and is funded by California taxpayers.  Unlike non-resident students, California residents and their families pay these state taxes annually.  For these reasons, we are unable to offer non-resident students reduced tuition rates.

We strongly encourage you to contact our Financial Aid Office by phone (415) 338-7000 or via email at finaid@sfsu.edu to explore whether you might qualify for any available need or performance-based grant or aid.  International students and others not eligible for financial aid but in financial need may be eligible for funds from the HOPE Crisis Fund.