Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) - Admissions

  • How much does it cost for a student to attend CSB, and who pays that cost?
    The cost for CSB differs based upon whether the student is a day student or a residential student.

    Residential students are defined as those who "reside beyond a 60-minute commute each way between home and CSB using transportation the local educational agency (LEA) provides for day pupils." Residential students come to CSB on Sunday evenings and return home on Friday afternoons, on a weekly basis, residing in a dormitory on campus during the school week. The cost to the district for a residential student is 10% of the unreimbursed costs to the state for educating and housing the student. This includes educational services, residential services, food, board, and all transportation costs. Generally, this amount can vary between $17,000 to $18,000 annually. This amount is deducted directly from the state allocation of funds for the school district; the district is not invoiced or billed.

    For day students, CSB does not charge the district any fees and no funds are taken from the district. However, the district is fully responsible for transporting day students to and from CSB each day.

  • A parent in our district is requesting placement at CSB. What happens next?
    Please refer to our Admissions Process page for information regarding the process for referring a student to CSB.

  • Can the parents make the referral to CSB themselves?
    No. The California Code of Regulations (§17665(a)) requires that the LEA (school district) make the referral to CSB by submitting an application packet to CSB. If a parent calls CSB requesting an application packet, they will be referred back to their LEA to make the request.

  • Can families and districts take a tour of CSB before making the decision to refer?
    Absolutely! We love having families and districts tour our campus and see all that CSB has to offer. Tours also provide the opportunity to have many of your questions answered. You may schedule a tour by contacting Carla Shah, who can be reached at 510-936-5623 or

  • Can CSB attend an IEP meeting before a referral has been made to CSB, so that we can learn more about the program options at CSB?
    CSB does not attend Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings for students who are not currently enrolled in our program. We are happy to send written information regarding our referral process as well as our range of program options, but are unable to attend IEP meetings or make recommendations or programming commitments for student who have not yet been referred to CSB. You (or the family) are also welcome to contact CSB directly for further information regarding the referral process and available programs.

    One thing we do highly encourage is that the district and/or family take a tour of CSB prior to the referral. This is a great way to see what CSB has to offer and familiarize yourself with our campus and programming. Tours are coordinated by Carla Shah, who can be reached at 510-936-5623 or

  • I am an LEA representative looking for a referral packet. Where do I find one?
    Contact Carla Shah in the CSB Admissions Office at 510-936-5623 or to request a referral packet.
  • Is there a deadline to submit referral packets?
    No. CSB offers rolling admissions and accepts referral packets year-round. Referring teams hoping to schedule an Assessment of Suitability for Placement at CSB during the current school year are encouraged to submit a completed referral packet by February 1st. Referring teams hoping to schedule an Assessment of Suitability of Placement at CSB to begin at the start of next school year are encouraged to submit a completed referral packet by May 1st.
  • We have a student who is graduating high school in a few months but could still benefit from blindness-specific skills instruction. Can students attend CSB after high school graduation?
    No. To attend CSB, students must be eligible for special education. Special education eligibility ends when students receive a high school diploma or reach their 22nd birthdays, whichever comes first. Referring teams are encouraged to contact the Department of Rehabilitation External link opens in new window or tab. to learn about programs and services available to high school graduates in need of blindness-specific skills instruction.

  • We received an email from CSB stating that more information was needed in order for CSB to process the referral. What's going on?
    Included in the referral packet is a referral packet checklist that lists everything CSB needs from the district to process a referral. All the supplemental documents must be submitted to CSB along with the completed application forms. Once CSB receives a referral packet, it is reviewed for completeness and any missing documents are requested via email. If you need another copy of the referral packet checklist, or have any other questions about the referral packet, contact Carla Shah in the CSB Admissions Office at 510-936-5623 or

  • At our son's last IEP meeting, the team agreed to submit an application for admission to CSB. That was months ago, and we haven't heard anything. What's going on?
    Contact your son's IEP case manager for a status update. You are also welcome to contact Carla Shah in the CSB Admissions Office at 510-936-5623 or to inquire if a referral packet has been requested or received for your son. The Admissions Office at the California School for the Blind (CSB) is available to assist districts and families move through the many steps of CSB's admission process. We are committed to keeping the process flowing smoothly from step to step and to minimizing unnecessary delays through ongoing communication with referring teams. Referring teams are encouraged to contact the CSB Admissions Office by phone or email for updates along the way.
  • We received an email from CSB stating that the next step in the application process is for CSB staff to observe our student in her current school, why?
    CSB staff frequently observe applicants in their current programs to determine which CSB educational program is the best fit for the applicant, and to plan for the applicant's Assessment of Suitability for Placement at CSB. Observing the student in a school setting provides an opportunity to meet the student and see her "in action," completing academic tasks, using assistive technology, and traveling with a cane. Observation also gives CSB staff an impression of the student's independence and self-advocacy skills.

  • We received an email from CSB offering our student an Assessment of Suitability for Placement. What is this?
    For every applicant whose district submits a completed referral packet, CSB will plan and offer an Assessment of Suitability for Placement (ASP) at CSB to determine if the applicant meets admission criteria. Please refer to our Admission Criteria page for detailed information about eligibility criteria to enroll at CSB. Consistent with other special education assessment timelines, the ASP lasts up to 60 days. The ASP offer may include temporary assignment to CSB, or the assessment may be conducted in the applicant's current placement. Temporary assignment to CSB for the duration of the ASP does not guarantee admission. For purpose of stay put, a temporary assignment to a State Special School shall not constitute the last agreed upon placement 5CCR 17660(e); 5 CCR 17664(e).

    An assessment that takes place while an applicant is temporarily assigned to an educational program at CSB is an immersive experience for the applicant. The applicant participates fully in all activities and school events and is eligible to join sports teams and clubs. While the applicant is participating in the educational program at CSB, the applicant's assessment team will assess the applicant's present levels of functioning in the skill areas selected on the assessment plan. The classroom teacher will prepare weekly reports to keep the family and district informed about the applicant's progress at CSB, as well as to communicate any areas of concern. For applicants staying in the dorms during the ASP, the dorm counselor will also prepare a weekly progress report.

  • The IEP team carefully timed the referral to CSB so that the student could start an Assessment of Suitability for Placement at the beginning of middle school. We have been informed that the student still needs to enroll in a middle school program in the district, why is this?
    All applicants to CSB must maintain enrollment in a district program prior to and for the duration of the Assessment of Suitability for Placement at CSB for two reasons: (1) To ensure uninterrupted access to instruction. Fall assessments are typically scheduled to begin after the first day of instruction at CSB. Applicants are encouraged to attend school in their districts until their Assessment of Suitability for Placement at CSB begins; (2) To provide a "safety net" program for the student to return to in the event that the assessment team does not offer enrollment at CSB, or CSB's offer of enrollment is declined by the referring team. For the duration of the assessment, CSB follows the applicant's current Individualized Education Program (IEP) from the district program.

  • We received an email informing us that an intake meeting has been scheduled to start our student's Assessment of Suitability for Placement at CSB. Who needs to attend the intake meeting?
    The student and parent/guardian are required to attend the intake meeting in person to sign an assessment plan; meet the classroom teacher and other members of the student's assessment team; and participate in a brief CSB orientation. LEA/district attendance at the intake meeting is optional.

    For applicants temporarily assigned to CSB as residential students, intake meetings will be extended to include an orientation to the dorms and moving into the dorm; confirming weekly transportation arrangements; and delivering medications in their original, prescription bottles to Student Health Services.