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 attending in the Fall 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. Log into your student portal at to view your Early Start Smart Page which 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 your first semester, you must notify Fresno State of your plans to fulfill the Early Start requirement. Submit this information through the Early Start Smart Page located in your Student Center at

What ways can I complete the Early Start Program?

The Early Start Program is offered at all Cal State campus' and some community colleges.  Check the Cal State Website to see if there is a campus near you offering the Early Start Program.

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 as a Freshman for your first 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 Cal State campuses. Visit the Course Schedule page for more information on the courses offered at Fresno State.

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 required to enroll in Early Start courses. To see if you are need to participate, go to 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 in the Student Center, log into to see all the class sections that are available. The first sections will open in May.

How soon can I register for classes at Fresno State?

As soon as you indicate on your Smart Page that you will take Early Start courses at Fresno State, register for your courses.

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 courses, go to the "What Class Do I Sign Up for?" page.

Where will the classes be held?

Classes will be held on the Fresno State campus and 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.  Register Early!

Will an Early Start class count toward my degree?

Early Start is an admission requirement based on your ELM an EPT scores. The classes do not fulfill any requirements towards a degree program.

How much are the fees and when are they due?

Fees are $182 per unit and are due by June 5, 2016. 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, late registration will begin on 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 you student portal at Use your ID card to access 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 pre-load 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 a Fresno State ID card 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. Inform them that you are an Early Start student and need 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(s).
  2. Go to the Cashiers Windows in the Joyal Building, South Wing, and pay a $5.00 card activation fee.
  3. Take the receipt to the Bulldog Card Office in the Joyal Building, South Wing, Room 156 to obtain a CGE ID Card.

The CGE ID card fee is non-refundable. There is a $10 replacement fee for all lost cards. The card ONLY BE VALID until the end of the Early Start term.

What student services will be in operation during Early Start?

Bookstore - Check the Kennel Bookstore website for the summer hours of operation.

Library - Check the Henry Madden 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.

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

Contact Services for Students with Disabilities as soon as possible to ensure that your disability can be accommodated. 

Phone:  559.278.2811

Website at