The California Community Colleges Board of Governors recently granted full center status to both of Southwestern College's higher education centers in National City and San Ysidro.
“What it means is that these campuses are officially recognized as centers within the California Community College System,” Southwestern College’s Superintendent Dr. Melinda Nish said. “The centers are more than just (offering) classes. It’s a full service center.”
Beginning July 1, when the college’s new fiscal year starts, students can continue to have access to the same services offered at Southwestern’s main campus.
Students can still see a counselor, inquire about financial aid, and register for classes at the National City and San Ysidro campuses.
“Student demand in National City and San Ysidro is growing faster than that in our Chula Vista campus,” Nish said.
As part of getting full center status, Nish said the Board of Governors will give the college about $2.2 million in additional funding which will be added to next year’s budget.
That money will be split evenly at $1.1 million and go directly to the National City and San Ysidro campuses to maintain the classes and services that are already offered, Nish said.
Before getting full center status, the higher education centers used money from the college’s general fund for these services, Nish said.
Now, as a full center, the National City and San Ysidro campuses can fund their services from the $1.1 million that they are getting from the Board of Governors.
Nish said the college applied for full center status in 2011, and after a rigorous review by the board, full center status was awarded.
“It’s not every day that you get full center status, so it’s kind of a big deal,” Nish said.
One of the main components in the approval of the National City and San Ysidro centers is that both facilities had more than 1,000 full-time equivalent students.
FTES is a measurement that calculates the number of students equivalent to the number carrying a full load of coursework.
At Southwestern, a full-time student is a student who takes 12 units or more any given semester.
For the higher education centers to get growth funding, the campuses have to maintain an FTES of 1,000, Nish said.
The college doesn’t have to keep applying for full-time center status, it just has to maintain the same criteria that was approved when the Board of Governors does its review.
The National City campus’s signature programs are dental hygiene, medical lab technician and micro enterprise family child care program, which will all now be maintained with the additional funding, Nish said.
Nish said a lot of hard work went into getting full center status.
“This was a few years in the making. We’ve been growing enrollment for a number of years,” she said.