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Colleges / California State University, San Marcos

About CSU San Marcos

California State University, San Marcos Overview

California State University, San Marcos is a public, state school in a suburban setting in San Marcos, California. CSU San Marcos was founded in 1990 and now enrolls around 14,643 students a year, including 13,962 undergrads. CSU San Marcos offers housing for students. The majority of students live on campus.

There are many ways for students to get involved at CSU San Marcos! Love music or performing? Sing in a chorus or perform with one of CSU San Marcos's theater groups.

Interested in journalism or communications? CSU San Marcos students can write for the campus newspaperor be a producer for the student-run television channel.

Thinking of pledging? CSU San Marcos has fraternities and sororities.

Planning to play sports? CSU San Marcos has many options for athletes. See them all and learn more about life at CSU San Marcos on the Student Life page.

Learn more about life at CSU San Marcos on the Student Life page.

Mark your calendar! The final application deadline for Fall 2022 is November 30.

2021 CSU San Marcos Facts At-A-Glance
Academic Calendar Semester
Overall Acceptance Rate 79%
Early Decision Acceptance Rate ED not offered
Early Action Acceptance Rate EA not offered
Average GPA 3.4
Applicants Submitting SAT scores 94%
In-State Tuition $5,742
Out-of-State $15,246
Percent of Need Met 43.1%
Average First-Year Financial Aid Package $11,262

Is CSU San Marcos a Good School?

Different people have different ideas about what makes a "good" school. Admissions difficulty and admitted student statistics can give you a sense of how selective a university is, but they don't tell you how happy or successful students are. However, there are a few good ways to get a better sense how satisfied students are and how well a school supports its student body.

Let's take a look at each of these factors to get a clearer idea of what CSU San Marcos offers and if it could be a good fit for you.

2021 Acceptance Rate for California State University, San Marcos

It is moderately difficult to get into CSU San Marcos. CSU San Marcos admitted 79% of all applicants in 2021. Last year, 15,398 students applied to CSU San Marcos and 12,230 were admitted.

Retention and Graduation Rates at CSU San Marcos

Retention is the number of students that stay enrolled at a school over time. This is a way to get a sense of how satisfied students are with their school experience, and if they have the support necessary to succeed in college.

Out of all the first-year, full-time undergrads who start at CSU San Marcos, around 84% return for their sophomore year. Around 57% of students who started at CSU San Marcos earn their Bachelor's degrees within six years. The average six-year graduation rate for U.S. colleges and universities is 61% for public schools, and 67% for private, non-profit schools.

Job Outlook CSU San Marcos Graduates

Job placement statistics for recent graduates can give you a sense of the return on investment a school offers.

Check with CSU San Marcos directly, for information on any information on starting salaries for recent grads.

Tuition and Financial Aid at CSU San Marcos

Cost is another important factor when choose a college. Some colleges may have high tuition, but do a better job at meeting students' financial need. CSU San Marcos meets 43.1% of the demonstrated financial need for undergraduates. First-year students that attend CSU San Marcos full-time are awarded $11,262 a year in financial aid, on average.

The average student debt for graduates in the class of 2021 was around $26,018 per student, not including those with no debt. For context, compare this number with the average national debt, which is around $36,000 per borrower.

The 2022-2023 FAFSA Opened on October 1st, 2021

Some financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, so fill out the FAFSA as soon as you can. Visit the FAFSA website to apply for student aid. Remember, the first F in FAFSA stands for FREE! No one should ever pay to fill out the FREE Application for Federal Student Aid, (FAFSA), so be very wary of anyone asking you for money.

Learn more about Tuition and Financial Aid at CSU San Marcos. Based on this information, how does CSU San Marcos sound? Remember, a school that is perfect for one person may be a terrible fit for someone else! So ask yourself: Is CSU San Marcos a good school for you?

If California State University, San Marcos seems like a school you want to apply to, click the heart button to save it to your college list.

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CSU San Marcos Community Forums

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Where is California State University, San Marcos Located?

CSU San Marcos is located in the suburban setting of San Marcos, California, less than an hour from San Diego.

If you want to see CSU San Marcos for yourself, plan a visit. The best way to reach campus is to take Highway 78 & I-5 to San Marcos, or book a flight to the nearest airport, San Diego International Airport.

You can also take a virtual campus tour to get a sense of what CSU San Marcos and San Marcos are like without leaving home.

Considering Going to School in California?

See a full list of colleges in California and save your favorites to your college list.

College Info

333 South Twin Oaks Valley Road San Marcos, CA 92096-0001

Campus Setting: Suburban

CSU San Marcos Application Deadline

First-Year Applications are Due

Nov 30

Transfer Applications are Due

Nov 30

The deadline for Fall first-year applications to CSU San Marcos is Nov 30.

The deadline for Fall transfer applications to CSU San Marcos is Nov 30.

Check the school website for more information about deadlines for specific programs or special admissions programs


Wondering what your chances are of getting into California State University, San Marcos?

Complete your profile to get your personalized, AI-calculated prediction score.

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CSU San Marcos ACT Scores


ACT Range

17 - 22

Estimated Chance of Acceptance by ACT Score

ACT Score

Estimated Chance

22 and Above


17 to 22


17 and Less


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ACT Scores Needed to Get Accepted

The median ACT score of an admitted student to CSU San Marcos is 20. Students with an ACT score of 22 and above have a good chance of getting into CSU San Marcos. Students with an ACT score that falls between 17 and 22 have an average chance of getting admitted, and students with an ACT score of 17 or below have a low chance of being offered admission.

CSU San Marcos SAT Scores


Composite SAT Range

950 - 1120


Math SAT Range

470 - 560


Reading SAT Range

480 - 570

Estimated Chance of Acceptance by SAT Score

SAT Score

Estimated Chance

1120 and Above


950 to 1120


950 and Less


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SAT Scores Needed to Get Accepted

The median SAT score for CSU San Marcos students is 1035. Applicants with SAT scores of 1120 and above have a good chance of being admitted to CSU San Marcos, while applicants with SAT scores between 950 to 1120 have an average chance of admittance, and prospective students with an SAT score below 950 have a low chance of being offered a spot at CSU San Marcos.

CSU San Marcos Tuition & Fees

Tuition & Fees


In State


Cost Breakdown
In State
State Tuition

Student Life

Wondering what life at CSU San Marcos is like? There are approximately 14,643 students enrolled at CSU San Marcos, including 13,962 undergraduate students and 681 graduate students. 83% percent of students attend school full-time, 96% percent are from CA and 4% percent of students are from other states.


Full Time


Part Time


In State



* Data provided by IPEDs and Peterson's Databases, © 2020 Peterson's LLC. All rights reserved.

Quick Facts

Total Enrollment


Campus Setting


Acceptance Rate


Tuition and Fees

In State




Fall Freshmen
Application Deadline

Nov 30
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