New CSU online tool reveals potential earning power after graduation

Published September 7, 2022

Students and parents can now see for themselves how rewarding a degree from a campus in the CSU system can be through a website that tracks employment data. allows users to visually compare the return on investment of different majors and degrees from Cal State Long Beach and five other area CSU schools known as the CSU5: Dominguez Hills, Fullerton, Northridge, Channel Islands and Pomona. The website has tracked employment data of more than 680,000 students from those campuses for the past 15 years. 

CSU5 campuses collaborate to develop innovative ways to serve the region as a whole. The CSU5 is committed to joining with others to lead Greater Los Angeles forward by creating and supporting long-term strategies and tactics that engage the campuses and the broader resources of region.

“Selecting a college major should not be based solely on the financial outcomes of attaining a degree,” said President Jane Close Conoley, who also serves as lead president for the CSU5. “However, this online app clearly demonstrates the financial advantage a CSU education provides as well as the economic expectations for the future.”

By plugging in a major and a designated campus on the website, users can see what they might earn, and in which industry they are likely to work, if they complete a specific program.  

For example, someone interested in business administration could see that a student who dropped out would earn an average salary of $56,000 a year 15 years after leaving. If that student had earned a bachelor’s degree, he or she could make an average of $87,000 a year, or $113,000 annually if that student had earned a graduate degree. 

“The whole idea behind the development of this website was to dispel any kind of myth that college is a waste of money,” said Richard Moore, a professor in management at Cal State Northridge and co-founder of CalStatePays. 

“What we see from the data is graduates earn more than similar people who don’t complete college. Earnings go up over time, faster than inflation, and the gap between graduates and those who don’t complete gets bigger over time.” 

CalStatePays launched in 2017 with funding from the Strada Foundation and data input from schools in the CSU5, along with Cal State Fullerton and Channel Islands. The CSU5 campuses leverage the power of five universities to forge ongoing relationships that connect education to professional practice and community life.