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Concurrent enrollment bill signed into law

Lauren J. Mapp

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Trustee Bernie Rhinerson announced that Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 288 for Concurrent Enrollment during the San Diego Community College District Board of Trustees meeting at San Diego Mesa College on Oct. 8.

“Today, governor Brown signed AB 288, which is a long overdue revision to the concurrent enrollment law,” Rhinerson said during the meeting. “It’s really exciting to announce that here at Mesa, which really is really a flagship for concurrent enrollment with your work with the high schools in getting college students here early and saving money on tuition and it’s just such a wonderful program I know that you have here.”

AB 288 allows community colleges to create dual enrollment programs where high school students may take college courses while still attending high school. The new law sets up protocols to help public colleges in California to create concurrent enrollment programs and allows high school students to enroll in up to 15 units worth of college classes.

The original Assembly bill’s text states that expanding concurrent enrollment programs helps to reduce high school dropout rates; increase and expedite college degree completion rates; and improves “the level of preparation of students to successfully complete for-credit, college-level courses.”

“With this law, other community college districts around the state will be able to set up concurrent enrollment programs in a much easier fashion than what our campuses had to do,” Rhinerson said.

The college district Board of Trustees was in support of the law before it was signed into legislation, and college district Chancellor Constance Carroll wrote a letter to Brown in support of the assembly bill.

According to Carroll, there are about 2,000 students that are currently attending classes in the college district via dual enrollment, but the district is not yet sure how many more students will be enrolled under AB 288. San Diego Unified School District and the college district will work together to design the Pathway Programs, which will include classes on high school campuses created exclusively for high school students, Carroll said.

“[AB 288] will allow the district to work with the San Diego Unified School District to design specific pathways for high school students to ensure they are prepared for college, to prepare for career technical programs and be transfer-ready,” Carroll said.

An item of new business discussed during the meeting was the establishment of a “San Diego Community College District Promise” that will address the California and national promises to increase access to college and waive enrollment fees for qualifying, responsible students. This initiative will address what Carroll referred to as “making community colleges free access institutions” and will be voted on by the Board of Trustees before the end of the fall 2015 semester.

“We are very eager to proceed with working on this, which would be a policy change for our board,” Carroll said during the board meeting.

Mesa College President Pamela T. Luster, students and faculty presented an annual status report during the meeting about their new Summer CRUISE (Creating Rich Unique Intellectual Student Experiences) program, the SEEDS (STEM – Science Technology Engineering Math – Engagement for the Enrichment of Diverse Students) Scholar program, professional development and other programs at the college.

“As you might recall last year, we talked a lot about the ‘new beginnings’ of the work we were doing with Title V (Grant), SSSP (Student Success and Support Program Plan) and student equity and we were really getting underway – what I will say is ‘oh, the places we have gone,’” Luster said during the Mesa College presentation. “Currently underway are searches for 24 tenured faculty that we’re hiring right now for spring semester.”

Trustee Mary Graham was absent during the Oct. 8 meeting due to a work conflict, Chancellor Carroll said via email.

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Concurrent enrollment bill signed into law