Students can get fresh start at Southwestern College

Dr. Mark Sanchez

All the hard-working faculty and employees at Southwestern College have long been committed to removing barriers from our students in their quests to earn degrees, certificates and better lives for themselves and their families.

This was especially evident during the COVID-19 pandemic. As mentioned in previous columns, Southwestern College stepped up with additional economic and support services resources to help our students weather the uncertainty.

We are proud to announce that we are taking that support to a new level. We will be forgiving all student fees and financial holds for all students who were enrolled at Southwestern College during the spring and summer 2021 semesters.

Thanks to the funds available through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA), the college will pay off the outstanding fees of more than 4,200 students. This is a $1.5 million investment in our students to help them continue their academic pursuits by eliminating a significant barrier.

Our ultimate goal is to have our students re-engage with Southwestern College. The timing is perfect because our eight-week Fast Track classes begin Oct. 18. During the Fast Track classes—of which we’ve added 19 more in-person classes in addition to the online classes–students can complete an entire semester worth of work in eight weeks.

If the timing is too soon, our open registration for the spring semester begins Nov. 22. Students can register for our January month-long, intersession classes, or for full-semester classes that begin Jan. 31, 2022. During our spring 2022 semester, we plan to offer 60 percent of classes in person, more than doubling the number of in-person classes we offered in the fall semester.

Students are bound to have many questions about this new opportunity. We invite them to participate in our Jaguar Express event on Friday, Oct. 15. Students can drop in anytime between 3 – 5 pm to get help with applying and registering. At the Jaguar Express, our outreach staff and our peer ambassadors will be on hand to answer any questions. Register at If that date and time doesn’t work, our team is available through our Virtual Lobby Monday through Thursday, 9 am – 4 pm and on Friday, 11 am – 3 pm. Access all our Virtual Lobbies at

Welcoming All Community Members
The Southwestern College Theatre Department will present its first official production in the new Performing Arts Center this month in honor of Filipino American History Month. Students are presenting Kasama, two, one-act plays from the Filipinx community by playwright Thelma Virata de Castro. The free presentation will run at various times from Oct. 20 – 30. For all the information, head to All those attending must show proof of COVID-19 vaccination, or a negative test within 48 hours. All attending must wear a mask in the theater.

As we move towards a greater reopening throughout the community–thanks to the high percentage of vaccinated community members in South County–we invite you to reconnect with Southwestern College.

Sanchez is president/superintendent of Southwestern College.

Students can get fresh start at Southwestern College