Mesa Secures $6 Million for Baccalaureate Pilot Program

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Junnette Caldera, Staff Writer

Mesa College secures $6 million in start-up costs for the new Baccalaureate Pilot Program, awarded by State Senator Marty Block, to support the overall management of the program.
After launching their four-year pilot program in Health Information Management back in August, San Diego Mesa College President Pamela T. Luster was presented a $350,000 check by Block to also help with hiring faculty, assisting programs and other costs.
The Senate Bill 850 was authored by Block creating California community college baccalaureate pilot programs that could potentially benefit the economy and prepare students for well-paying jobs in a high-demand workforce potentially benefiting the economy in the future.
Block said, “Securing support for the pilot will help ensure its success and that we can meet an expected need of 1 million more adults with baccalaureate degrees by 2030.” Also stated that it will be a game changer for students and the states workforce.
At 15 Community colleges in California the state is funding one new bachelor’s degree program in each. Among these colleges they will be offering bachelor’s degree programs in career-technical fields like dental hygiene, automotive technology, biomanufacturing and airframe manufacturing technology. The courses offered are courses that California’s public universities do not offer, such as California State University or University of California.
With the establishment of the new pilot program Block took into consideration affordability. Students enrolled in the baccalaureate pilot program will pay a total of $10,560 for fees and tuition, for their four-year degree. Where as California State University in-state students will pay $27,036 for their four-year degree. The pilot program is estimated to be saving students a fraction of the cost of what private university costs are.
Chancellor Constance M. Carroll commented by saying, “I am very pleased that our district and Mesa College are leaders in this new California effort. This is indeed an accessible doorway to an improved local and state economy, as well as an entry to the middle class.”
It is estimated that the starting salaries for San Diego Mesa College’s first 32 Health Information Management graduates, are expected to range from $83,000 to $144,000, entering a strong demand workforce.
“The California Community Colleges Board of Governors selected the bachelor’s degree programs at these pilot colleges based in part on demonstrated labor market demand for workers in these applied fields,” said California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice W. Harris. He goes on to state that the funding is secured to help the bachelor degree programs ensure that students benefit from the great offerings, leading to good paying jobs. Along side 22 other states which allow community colleges to grant four-year degrees, that has been proven to benefit each states economy.