Frequently Asked Questions
for CFA members & potential members

If your question is not answered in this FAQ, please feel free to contact the CFA State Office Membership Department at:
  • Email:
  • Phone: (916) 441-4848 and ask for Membership Coordinator Iris Smith
  • Fax: (916) 441-3513
  • Postal Mail: California Faculty Association, Membership, 1110 K Street, Sacramento, CA 95814-2716

Q1: How do I know whether or not I’m a CFA Member?

If your paystub deduction says “DuesCFA” or “CFA-Mem” then you are a member.

If your paystub says “FS-CFA” or “CFANonMem” then you are not a CFA member unless you teach in Extended Education only.  Those faculty who teach in Extended Education (Extension Deduction Code A54) (Extension) will see deductions appear as non-member deductions due to limitations of the State Controller’s Office (SCO) system.

Note: If you have had a break in service, Members may see a single month of the non-member deduction on return. If this happens two months in a row, you should submit another request to Join CFA

Q2: What are the deduction codes regarding CFA membership that appear on my paycheck?

Dues-CFA or CFAMem indicate CFA Active Membership Dues Deduction. This means you are a CFA Member.

FS-CFA or CFANonMem: This is the “FairShare” (also called “Agency Fee”) deduction. This is the deduction for people who are NOT CFA Members.

However, if you teach only in Extended Education, you will see “A54 (Extension) deductions” that appear as non-member deductions due to limitations of the State Controller’s Office (SCO) system. (See more in the previous question.)

Q3: Is my Social Security Number required?

To Join CFA, we request your full 9-digit SSN (Social Security Number), and require at least the last 4 digits to process the application.

When you make inquiries about membership matters, it is optional; we ask that you provide the first 5 digits. This helps us locate your data and prevents confusion with people who have similar names.

Q4: Is the DocuSign electronic CFA Membership Application technology secure?

Yes. DocuSign technology is approved for use by the California State Controller’s Office, which manages payroll for the CSU. DocuSign explains:

“DocuSign meets and exceeds the most stringent US, EU, and global security standards. No other Digital Transaction Management (DTM) company can match the enterprise security and operations investments DocuSign has made—and third-party audit reports back it up. DocuSign is the only eSignature provider to be xDTM, ISO 27001 and SSAE 16 certified and tested internationally, across the entire company and its data centers.”

Learn more at the DocuSign web site

Q5: Can I join another way besides online?

Yes. You can print out a CFA Membership Application form, fill it out, and return it.

You can return it by:

  • Fax to (916) 441-3513
  • Postal Mail addressed to California Faculty Association, Membership, 1110 K Street, Sacramento, CA 95814
  • Email by scanning the completed form and emailing the scan to

Please note: Since you must sign your CFA Membership Application, CFA can not accept membership applications via phone.

Q6: Will you send me a confirmation when I join?


If you join using the DocuSign electronic membership form, you will get a confirmation by email immediately. The message will not include your Social Security Number.

If you join another way, you will get a confirmation when the application is processed by the CFA State Office.

Q7: Who can become a CFA Member?

Bargaining Unit 3 employees of the California State University (CSU) are eligible. The California’s Public Employment Relations Board determines who is included in Unit 3.

Unit 3 includes professors, lecturers, librarians, counselors, and coaches who teach in the CSU system.

Q8:  I’m a Lecturer teaching only one course at the CSU. Should I still join CFA?

However little you are teaching at any given time, you get the full advantages of being a member of CFA, most importantly the improvements in compensation and working conditions that collective bargaining produces.

All members of the union are equal in terms of voting eligibility, and each member counts as a full member, whatever your time base. And don’t forget the $1 million professional liability insurance policy that is yours with your membership (through NEA). The university will not defend you if you are sued by a student or by alumni.

Q9:  My department chair mentioned that it’s not important or good to be a union member and that s/he isn’t. I’m a lecturer/junior faculty. I’m afraid if I join, there will be repercussions.

Only CFA knows who is a member or not a member, unless you tell others.

It is not your department chair’s affair whether you are a CFA member or not. Nor is it proper for a department chair to pressure or lobby faculty against or on behalf of the union. Department chairs are members of Bargaining Unit 3 like any other faculty.

If openly joining or being active in the union seems to affect your RTP, schedule, or other treatment in your department (or you are concerned that it does), that is retaliation, which is prohibited under Article 6.16 of our faculty contract. See your CFA Chapter Faculty Rights Representative (find your rep on your campus CFA Chapter web page).

Q10: I haven’t worked at the CSU for a few months. Do I need to sign up as a CFA member again?

If you have signed up once before as a CFA member, your membership dues will  be reinstated automatically when you return (in either your first or second paycheck). There is no need to submit another membership form.

However, if you have changed your home or office address, please update your address/phone/email by using the “Update Information” link on the CFA Member Help Desk

Q11: When is my paycheck issued?

CSU Paychecks are issued by the State Controller’s Office (SCO) at the END of the month. So, for example, you receive your January paycheck around February 1.

Q12: When will my CFA membership take effect?

If your paycheck is in the payroll system in time, and your membership form was received by the 5th of the month you should see your dues deducted with the next paycheck.  

Otherwise, it will take one additional month.

For example, if you submit a request to Join CFA on January 9, you may not see a “Dues-CFA” deduction until your February paycheck, which is issued around March 1.

Q13: How do I update my contact information?

To change your address, phone, or email, please choose “Update Information” on the CFA Member Help Desk

Note: Please also contact your campus payroll department to change your information with the CSU administration; CFA can not do that for you.

Q14: I am leaving the CSU. How do I end my CFA membership?

When you leave employment at the CSU, you don’t need to take any action. Your membership automatically becomes “Inactive.” 

If you return to work in a Unit 3 position, your membership will become “Active” automatically.

Q15: I am retiring from the CSU. What happens to my CFA membership?

When you retire completely (and no longer are in FERP/the Faculty Early Retirement Program) your membership becomes “Inactive.”

However, we urge you to consider a CFA-Retired membership. It’s only $3/month ($4.67 if you also wish to be an AAUP member) and is paid via automatic deductions from your CalPERS retirement check.

You can learn more about CFA-Retired membership on the CFA web site.

Q16: I am changing to a position that is not in Unit 3: Faculty. What happens to my CFA membership?

When you move to a non-Unit 3 position within the CSU (such as Staff or MPP), you don’t need to cancel your membership.

However, you do need to notify CFA of the change so that we can halt your payroll deductions. Please use the contact information at the top of this page.

Q17: How do I cancel my CFA Membership?

Please keep in mind, current faculty members lose a lot of benefits by canceling your membership. Meanwhile, you will continue to pay an “Agency Fee.”

If you have a concern about your CFA representation or other matter, we encourage you to discuss it with the president of your CFA Campus Chapter

For legal reasons, CFA can not accept cancellations electronically.

To cancel your CFA membership, you must send a written letter to CFA via mail or fax. Please include your Social Security Number and sign the letter.

California Faculty Association
c/o Membership Coordinator
1110 K Street
Sacramento, CA 95814-2716