Message from Dr. Joseph Castro, President of Fresno State University

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Through the I Am Ready campaign, Fresno Unified School District students and parents are encouraged to consider a wide array of higher education options.

As the president of California State University, Fresno, I am pleased to partner with the district and other organizations to support the success of all students.

Fresno State provides a quality, affordable higher education for students throughout the Central Valley and beyond. In 2016, Washington Monthly ranked Fresno State in the Top 25 nationally among universities.

Our 24,500 talented and diverse students, over half who come from Fresno County, pursue degrees in areas such as agriculture, arts, business, education, engineering, health, and science. We also have a successful Division I athletic program with 21 varsity sports.

Fresno State provides one of the best values in higher education. Our annual tuition and fees -- at $6,300 -- are the lowest in the California State University system and over 80% of our students receive financial aid. Last year, we allocated $230 million in financial aid (mostly grants and scholarships), which helps to ensure that our students graduate with relatively little or no loan debt.

I encourage you to prepare for Fresno State by meeting with your high school counselor and enrolling in A-G courses (

Applications are due during the month of November prior to the fall semester (which begins in August). By successfully completing A-G courses with a B or an A, you will maximize your chances of being admitted as a freshman. You may also attend Fresno City College or another community college upon graduation from high school and transfer to Fresno State (after successfully completing the appropriate courses).

Last fall, Fresno State joined the district, Fresno City College and other K-12 school districts and community colleges in Fresno County to launch the Central Valley Promise.

The Central Valley Promise provides one semester of free tuition at Fresno City College for district students who meet admission requirements. This initiative will include programs and support services for middle and high school students and parents to help students be prepared to enter Fresno City College, Fresno State or another university.

College graduates earn, on average, over $1 million more during their lives than those without a college degree. While college is not for everyone, I urge all to consider it. As the first person in my family to graduate from a university, I know first hand how a higher education transforms in positive ways the lives of students and families.

Every Fresno Unified student can seize the opportunity to achieve their goals and fulfill their dreams -- right here at home at Fresno State. I urge all students to #BeBold and prepare for a university or college degree or certificate.

I believe in every Fresno Unified student! Go 'Dogs!

Joseph Castro: Twitter: @josephicastro

Instagram: @josephicastro