MiraCosta, Mesa colleges to offer first four-year degrees under Block’s legislation


Two San Diego schools were among 15 campuses selected statewide to pilot the first- ever offering of four-year degrees at community colleges under legislation written by Sen. Marty Block.

On Jan. 20, MiraCosta College and Mesa College were named among the schools pioneering the new program.

“This is a major step in keeping California’s higher education system affordable and accessible while also keeping our state economically competitive in the future,” Block said in a release. “It’s also why SB 850 earned the support of a diverse group of business leaders, veterans, educators and students.”

In late 2014, Block introduced Senate Bill 15, a comprehensive plan to give more students access to higher education, afford college and finish their degrees in four years.

Senate Bill 15 aims to stops a 5 percent UC tuition hike, provides funding to increase UC enrollment by 5,000 and CSU enrollment by 10,500, and establishes completion incentive grants for students.

UC tuition has doubled in the past 10 years, and without SB 15, it is projected to rise further. According to Hilary Nemchik, a community representative from the senator’s office, the bill will provide significant economic benefit to the emerging workforce by helping students graduate on time.

It is estimated that of this year’s entering CSU class of 62,000 students, only 9,900 students will graduate in four years. An estimated 14,900 students will take five years and 11,800 students will take more than six years.

“We’re really excited because we think it’s going to help with the workforce gap,” Nemchik said at a recent Carmel Valley Community Planning Board meeting.

SB 15 will proceed through the legislative process this year.

Block was named the 2014 California School Boards Association Legislator of the Year for his commitment to improve educational opportunities for all students in the state.