The Early Start Program: Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Early Start Program?
The Early Start Program is a tool used across the California State University system to prepare incoming freshmen for college-level English and Math courses. The program was approved by the CSU Board of Trustees and launched at all CSU campuses in 2012.

Will I be required to participate in the Early Start Program?
First-time freshmen in fall 2015 will be required to participate in the Early Start program if their scores on the Elementary Level Mathematics (ELM) and/or English Placement Test (EPT) do not meet the threshold for Early Start exemption. Your MyFresnoState account includes an Early Start Smart Page that will tell you whether or not you need to participate. For more information, visit the Who Should Participate page.

Can I be exempted from the Early Start Program?
Yes. Students may be exempt from Early Start for a number of reasons. For more information, visit the Exemptions page.

How do I indicate the way I will complete the Early Start Program?                                  
Before enrolling in the fall 2015 term, you must notify Fresno State of your plans to fulfill the Early Start requirement.  To submit this information, you must indicate your plan to complete the Early Start Program on the Early Start Smart Page found at your Student Center at

What ways can I complete the Early Start Program?
You may complete the CSU Early Start Program by:

  • Completing an on-campus or online Early Start course at Fresno State.
  • Completing an on-campus or online Early Start course at another CSU campus.

What if I do not complete the Early Start Program?
If you are required to complete the Early Start Program and do not complete it, you will not be permitted to enroll in classes during the fall 2015 semester.

When is the Early Start Program?
The Early Start Program at Fresno State will be offered beginning in mid-June.  Dates may vary at other CSUs. Visit the Course Schedule page for more information, or search for Early Start classes using the MyFresnoState portal.

Can I take Early Start in the fall?
No, Early Start courses must be taken during the summer. You may take Early Start courses at Fresno State or another CSU campus, but you must fulfill the Early Start requirement prior to the beginning of the fall semester.

Is financial aid available for the Early Start Program?
Students who are eligible to submit FAFSA should do so before enrolling in Early Start.  If you have submitted a FAFSA and meet a specific estimated family contribution (EFC), you may be eligible for a waiver of registration fees for the Early Start Program.  The waiver does not cover books or materials for courses.  Students who are not eligible to submit FAFSA, including AB 540 students, should be sure to file the State Financial Aid application prior to enrolling in Early Start.  A formula similar to the EFC is used to determine eligibility for the waiver.

Who can register for Early Start classes?
Only students who earned a score less than 50 in the ELM and/or less than 147 in the EPT are allowed to enroll in Early Start courses.   To see if you are required to participate, you must access your Early Start Smart Page found at your Student Center at It is your responsibility to check your Smart Page and enroll in Early Start courses.
When will the schedule be out?
The CSU system-wide course schedule is posted on this website: The Fresno State course schedule can be viewed through your MyFresnoState account and will include all class sections that are currently open. The first sections will open on May 4, 2015.

How soon can I register for classes at Fresno State?
You should fill out your Early Start Smart Page and indicate that you want to complete your Early Start courses at Fresno State. You should register as soon as possible after doing so.

What classes will be offered?
Fresno State offers 1-unit Early Start courses in English and Math, as well as a 3-unit course in Math. For more information on the course offerings, please click here.

Where will the classes be held?
Classes will be held on the Fresno State campus or online.

Are there any Early Start courses available online?
Fresno State will have a limited number of online seats available. Highly independent learners have the best success with this type of online instruction. Students who plan to travel during the summer months are not exempt from the Early Start requirement and are encouraged to utilize the online course options.

Will an Early Start class count toward my degree?
Early Start is an admission requirement to attend Fresno State. The classes do not fulfill any requirements towards degree programs.

How much are the fees and when are they due?
Fees are $182 per unit and are due by June 5, 2015. Students will also pay a $1.00 Health Center fee and a $1.00 University Student Union fee. See the Costs page for more information.

If you do not register before the June 5 deadline, you may register for Early Start courses after June 8 and up until the first day of each course. After June 8, you will need to pay your Early Start fees within 24 hours of registration.

Will I need to buy any textbooks for Early Start?

Some Early Start classes do require you to purchase textbooks. Your professor will provide details about these costs when the class begins. See the Costs page for textbook cost estimates.

Will I need a Fresno State student ID number and card?

You will receive a Fresno State ID number, even if you are attending another CSU campus in the fall. Your ID number can be found in your MyFresnoState portal. You will need an ID card if you wish to use campus facilities, including the Student Health Center, Student Recreation Center, and the Henry Madden Library. You may also need a card to access the campus’ Pay-for-Print units to print homework assignments or course materials. The ID card can also be used to purchase food on campus. Pay-for-print and food purchases with the ID card require you to preload money.

I need my ID Card for Early Start, but haven’t received it yet. What do I do?

Most Early Start students will receive Fresno State ID cards during their Dog Days orientation. If you need your ID card prior to Dog Days, you may visit the Bulldog Card Office in the Joyal Building, room 156. Please explain to them that you are an Early Start student and require your card prior to Dog Days.

I’m attending another CSU campus in the fall. Can I get a Fresno State ID Card for Early Start?

If you are attending Early Start at Fresno State but are attending another CSU campus in the fall, you will not be able to obtain a Fresno State ID card. However, you may request a Continuing and Global Education (CGE) ID Card for $5. This card will grant you access to the library and pay-for-print services. To obtain a CGE ID Card:

  1. Register for your Early Start course.
  2. Visit the cashiers windows on the south side of the Joyal Building and pay the $5.000 Student ID Card activation fee.
  3. Bring the receipt to the Bulldog Card Office in the Joyal Building, room 156 to obtain the card.

The CGE ID card fee is non-refundable. There is a $10 replacement fee for all lost cards. The card will not be active after the Early Start term.

What student services will be in operation during Early Start?
The Kennel Bookstore on the Fresno State campus will be open. Please check the bookstore website for summer hours.

The Henry Madden Library will be open. Please check the library website for summer hours of operation.

Do I need a parking permit? 
Yes, you will need a parking permit if you plan to drive to your Early Start course. Early Start students will be able to purchase a special parking permit from the University Police Department for $20. Please check the Early Start parking page for details on availability.

I need help finding a building on Fresno State's campus.
Click here for a PDF of Fresno State's building abbreviations.

How do I get special learning/facility accommodations for a disability?

Contact Services for Students with Disabilities at 559.278.2811 or visit their website at Please contact the office as early as possible to ensure that your disability can be accommodated.