Image: A student from Architecture 351: Architectural Design presents her work over the past quarter (Fall 2019).
Like other universities, Cal Poly follows the progress of its students — both first-year and transfer — by tracking annual cohorts entering in a particular academic year. The university makes yearly measurements of student cohorts' persistence rates and the time required for them to graduate after completing their degree programs. This time-to-degree metric is not an exhaustive description of a large group of students, but it is nevertheless a standard measure of institutional success in higher education, especially when disaggregated across several different variables.
In addition to this cohort-based approach, Cal Poly tracks academic information about its students at large — their class level (first-year, sophomore, etc.), unit load (full- or part-time), enrollment status (first-year, transfer, etc.), and academic standing. The university also tracks a variety of demographic information about its students — including their gender, ethnicity, Pell Grant status (recipient or non-recipient), and first-generation status. These measures support the university's Strategic Plan 2019-2024 in making progress to "create and sustain a more diverse, equitable and inclusive university community that reflects and services the diverse people of California" (Goal 3B).
The following are several key measures that describe our collective student profile. Figures and trends from the last decade can be found on the dynamic Cal Poly Admissions Dashboards and Cal Poly Enrollment Dashboards sites.
Average high school GPA for first-time, first-year students, 2022: 4.04
Average undergraduate quarter unit load, 2022: 14.4
Total number of students enrolled, Fall 2022:
- Undergraduates: 21,778
- Graduate students: 692
- Post-baccalaureate students: 123
Percentage of all students enrolled who identify as female, Fall 2022: 48.9%
Percentage of all students enrolled whose race or ethnicity is designated as underrepresented minority (URM), Fall 2022: 24.0%
Percentage of all students enrolled who are first-generation, Fall 2022: 12.7%
Percentage of undergraduate students enrolled who are Pell Grant recipients, Fall 2022: 17.8%
Number of Cal Poly Scholars enrolled, Fall 2022: 2,082
Note: Cal Poly defines an underrepresented minority (URM) student as one whose race/ethnicity is Hispanic/Latino/a/x, African American, Native American, Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, or multi-racial with at least one of those four ethnicities. First-generation students are defined by the Office of Institutional Research as students whose parents did not attend college.
These statistics were produced by the Cal Poly Office of Institutional Research. Some of these figures can differ slightly from those provided by the CSU or the U.S. Department of Education because of the different reporting dates and URM definitions used by Cal Poly, the CSU, and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.
Last updated 8/3/23