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Highway 1
San Luis Obispo, CA 93403-8106
p. 805-546-3100

Cuesta College

Cuesta College Rating: 4.0/5 (1 votes)

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Cuesta College is a two-year institution that is part of the greater San Luis Obispo County Community College District. San Luis Obispo is located along the Pacific coast of California, between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The college provides students with many services and programs to enhance their education. Roughly 9,000 students attend the San Luis Obispo campus, earning associate degrees and certificates.


Academic tracks of study include both associate degrees and certificates to its students. There are several instructional programs for students to pick from, including vocational/technical training, distance education, continuing education, and lower division academic transfer courses. As a commuter’s college, the school offers classes both during the day and in the evening to accommodate busy schedules. There are over 60 Associate of Arts degrees and Associate of Science degrees offered. One hundred nineteen certificate programs are also offered.

Students are able to study a wide variety of subjects, including:

  • Culinary Arts
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Hospitality
  • Interior Design
  • Leadership
  • Nutrition
  • Recreation

Many other traditional subjects are also available for students.

Most Popular Fields of Study


In addition to the normal college application requirements, students interested in attending can find a tremendous amount of support from the admissions staff. All students who would like to apply have to be placed in both English and math courses through qualified assessments. There are a variety of ways students can qualify for each of the two subject areas.

New students interested in taking an English course will be placed one of the following ways:

  • Submit a high school transcript and take the English Placement Exam.
  • Submit a high school transcript and earn a 3.7 GPA and an A in a high school senior level English course.
  • Submit a high school transcript and complete an English placement exam at another public California college or university.
  • Earn at least a C in an English course taken at another college or university.
  • Score at least 24 on the ACT English exam.
  • Score at least 680 on the SAT English Writing exam.
  • Score at least 8 on the UC Analytical Writing Placement Exam.
  • Gain a “Ready for CSU College-Level English Course” status on the Early Assessment Program.
  • Score at least 3 on the AP English Literature or Composition Exam.

New students interested in taking a math course will be placed one of the following ways:

  • Submit a high school transcript and take the Math Placement Exam.
  • Submit a high school transcript and complete a math placement exam at another public California college or university.
  • Earn at least a C in a math course taken at another college or university.
  • Score at least 23 on the ACT math exam.
  • Score at least 550 on the SAT math exam.
  • Gain a “Ready for CSU College-Level Math Course” status on the Early Assessment Program.
  • Score at least 3 on the AP Calculus or AP Statistics Exam.

Financial Aid

Students are able to get financial assistance through many different channels. The multiple opportunities for students to apply for monetary aid allows students to get an education without finances as a barrier.

One way for students to gain assistance is to apply for the Board of Governors Fee Waiver. This is available to all California residents intending to enroll in a community college in the state. The funds are used to cover registration fees but does not waive optional fees for students. In addition, students are not held accountable for future fee increases. The Board of Governors Fee Waiver is available for the fall, spring, and summer semesters.

Grants are also available. These are competitive federal grants that students can apply for through filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). There are also state grants available for California residents only. These are the Cal Grants, based on both academic performance and financial need. Special grants are also available for foster youth who would like to attend.

Students who are in financial need may also opt to work in the Federal Work Study (FWS) Program. Wages begin at $8.00/hour and students can work up to 20 hours per week while school is in session. They must maintain a 2.0 cumulative GPA in order to remain employed. Work study students also need to be enrolled in at least 6 units in order to be eligible.

The Cuesta College Foundation provides students with scholarships to offset their tuition. Several scholarships are awarded, including those from the Governor’s Scholarship Program, Osher Scholarship, and the Child Development Grant Program.

Student Financial Aid Details

Ranks 4741st for the average student loan amount.
Secrets to getting the best scholarships and financial aid in California.


Students are able to participate in a myriad of activities throughout the school year. Many on-campus events are in collaboration with the different departments, programs, and organizations. The ASCC Social Club is also available for students. Current students are able to benefit from the club’s facilities and amenities, which include a big screen TV, a foosball table, X-Box 360 and Kinect, a pool table, and a smorgasbord of comfortable couches to lounge around on during the day and into the night.

Students can also practice their broadcasting skills at KGUR, the student-run cable channel. Students host musical programs as well as produce and present their independent pieces through the station. Students are able to practice their communication, production, and technical skills at KGUR.

Student Enrollment Demographics


The alumni association was established, in 1973 as a nonprofit corporation for the sole purpose of promoting the welfare of Cuesta College. The foundation supports the college in attaining scientific, cultural, and educational goals. Individual organizations and businesses in the San Luis Obispo area support the college through donations.

College personnel support former students in maintaining relationships by organizing activities for alum. Typically, alumni will gather together to work on a legacy project, the latest being Cougar Park, which provides a scenic setting on campus for students and visitors to enjoy.

Information Summary

Ranks 243rd in California and 2561st overall
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Contributed Photos

College Art Music Building :: Cuesta College college Logo :: Cuesta College

Campus Crime Statistics

Ranks 0th in California and 17th overall on StateUniversity.com‘s Safe School Index
  Incidents per 100 Students
Aggravated assault N/A N/A
Murder & Non-Negligent Manslaughter N/A N/A
Rape N/A N/A
Robbery N/A N/A
Arson N/A N/A
Burglary 5 0.05
Larceny N/A N/A
Vehicle theft N/A N/A
Arrest 3 0.03

Local Crime Statistics

  Incidents per 100 People
Aggravated assault 74 0.16
Murder & Non-Negligent Manslaughter 2 0.00
Forcible Rape 24 0.05
Robbery 34 0.07
Arson N/A N/A
Burglary 330 0.72
Larceny 1,345 2.95
Vehicle theft 107 0.23

Carnegie Foundation Classification

Associate's — Public Rural-serving Large
Undergraduate PopulationMixed part/full-time two-year
EnrollmentExclusively undergraduate two-year
Size & SettingLarge two-year

General Characteristics

Title IV EligibilityParticipates in Title IV federal financial aid programs
Highest offeringAt least 2, but less than 4 academic yrs
Calendar SystemSemester
Years of college work requiredN/A
Variable Tuition
Religious AffiliationN/A
Congressional District624

Special Learning Opportunities

Distance LearningN/A
ROTC — Army / Navy / Air Force  —   /   / 
Study Abroad
Weekend College
Teacher Certification

Student Tuition Costs and Fees

Ranks 4163rd for total cost of attendance
  In District In State Out of State
Effective as of 2014-09-19
FT Undergraduate Tuition $1,196 $1,196 $6,370
FT Undergraduate Required Fees $34 $34 $34
PT Undergraduate per Credit Hour $46 $46 $245
FT Graduate Tuition N/A N/A N/A
FT Graduate Required Fees N/A N/A N/A
PT Graduate per Credit Hour N/A N/A N/A
Total Cost of Attendance — On-Campus $2,940 $2,940 $8,114
Total Cost of Attendance — Off-Campus w/out Family $18,375 $18,375 $23,549
Total Cost of Attendance — Off-Campus with Family $7,215 $7,215 $12,389

Student Tuition Cost History and Trends

Prior year cost comparison
  In District In State Out of State
Published Tuition & Fees $970 $1,230 $970 $1,230 $5,884 $6,404
  Cost (regardless of residency)
Effective as of 2014-09-19
Books & Supplies $1,656 $1,665
On-Campus – Room & Board N/A(N/C)
On-Campus – Other Expenses N/A(N/C)
Off-Campus w/out Family – Room & Board $10,071 $10,962
Off-Campus w/out Family – Other Expenses $3,897 $4,158
Off-Campus with Family – Room & Board $4,194 $4,275

Admission Criteria

 = Required,   = Recommended,   = Neither required nor recommended
Open Admissions
Secondary School GPA / Rank / Record N/A /  N/A /  N/A
College Prep. CompletionN/A
Formal competency demoN/A
Admission test scoresN/A
Other testsN/A

Admission Credits Accepted

Dual Credit
Life Experience
Advanced Placement (AP)

Athletics - Association Memberships

Sports / Athletic Conference Memberships NJCAA

Student Services

Remedial Services
Academic / Career Counseling
PT Cost-defraying Employment
Career Placement
On-Campus Day Care
Library Facility

Student Living

First-time Room / Board Required
Dorm CapacityN/A
Meals per WeekN/A
Room FeeN/A
Board FeeN/A

Student Completion / Graduation Demographics

Total 3 11 221 38 10 788 39 1,150
Accounting Technology/Technician and Bookkeeping 2 2
Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science, General 2 1 3
Agriculture, Agriculture Operations, and Related Sciences, Other
Animal/Livestock Husbandry and Production
Apparel and Textile Marketing Management 1 1
Architectural Technology/Technician 2 1 3
Autobody/Collision and Repair Technology/Technician 2 4 6
Automobile/Automotive Mechanics Technology/Technician 6 12 3 21
Biological and Physical Sciences 1 23 10 1 115 157
Biology/Biological Sciences, General 1
Building Construction Technology 1 1
Business Administration and Management, General 7 2 1 44 4 58
Chemistry, General 1 2
Child Care Provider/Assistant 1 11 2 14
Computer Science 1 3
Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunications
Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance 1 3 4
Cooking and Related Culinary Arts, General 1 7 8
Criminal Justice/Police Science 3 10 1 14
Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts, General
Drawing 2 6 8
Electrical/Electronics Equipment Installation and Repair, General
Electrician 2 1 3
Electromechanical and Instrumentation and Maintenance Technologies/Technicians, Other 1 4 5
Emergency Medical Technology/Technician (EMT Paramedic) 1 5 6
English Language and Literature, General 2 3
Fashion/Apparel Design 1 2 1 4
Health and Physical Education/Fitness, General 1 1
History, General 1 1 2
Hospitality Administration/Management, General 1 6 7
Human Development and Family Studies, General 3 5 8
Humanities/Humanistic Studies 1 16 1 2 55 2 80
Interior Design 3 3
International Relations and Affairs 1 1
Journalism 2 2
Legal Assistant/Paralegal 1 11 1 13
Legal Studies, General 3 16 2 21
Liberal Arts and Sciences/Liberal Studies 1 4 90 9 4 265 11 400
Library and Archives Assisting 1 2 11 1 15
Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurse Training 8 3 15 1 27
Mathematics, General 9 1 13 2 26
Medical/Clinical Assistant 1 1 3 5
Music, General 1 7 8
Parks, Recreation and Leisure Studies 1 1
Physics, General 1 1
Political Science and Government, General
Pre-Engineering 1 4 5
Psychiatric/Mental Health Services Technician 5 15 3 1 36 61
Psychology, General 1 7 9 1 19
Radio and Television 1 2 3
Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse 6 66 6 84
Sales, Distribution, and Marketing Operations, General 6 6
Sociology 1 4 1 6 12
Web Page, Digital/Multimedia and Information Resources Design 1 1
Welding Technology/Welder 2 8 1 11

Faculty Compensation / Salaries

Ranks 1118th for the average full-time faculty salary.
Effective as of 2014-09-20
Tenure system N/A
Average FT Salary $73,043 ($77,459 male / $73,137 female)
Number of FT Faculty 153 (67 male / 86 female)
Number of PT Faculty 445
FT Faculty Ratio 0.3 : 1
Total Benefits $4,669,259

Elisabeth Bailey+

Elisabeth Bailey is a freelance writer and editor with particular interests in academics, food,and sustainability . She is also the author of A Taste of the Maritimes: Local, Seasonal Recipes the Whole Year Round and writes regularly for Canadian Farmers’ Almanac and the National Wildlife Federation. Elisabeth and her family live and enjoy great local food in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

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