In January, the University of California, Davis, reported that all record high of nearly 80,000 prospective students applied for fall 2015. University of California system statistics indicate that approximately 7 percent, or 5,600 students will be accepted. This trend is not uncommon; some California State University campuses also report being impacted, thereby triggering enrollment caps. As a result, many extremely talented and academically gifted students will face delays and barriers in achieving their educational goals. Community colleges are and continue to be the solution to the transfer needs of our state. Having community colleges provide the first two years of quality higher education, with a guaranteed pathway to transfer if one completes the requirements, is a big step forward in benefiting from the California Master Plan for Higher Educations, improving California’s economy, and keeping career doors open for the increasing numbers of students in need. In 2013-14, more than 72,000 community college students transferred to the UC and CSU systems. Today, 52 percent of CSU graduates and 31 percent of UC graduates started at a community college. The California Master Plan enables streamlined pathways to higher education and career training. The plan is a guide showing the best route from the California community colleges to CSU, UC and other well-respected independent universities. Ventura County community colleges represent the highest quality and best value available in public education anywhere. Graduating with an associate degree for transfer from any of our colleges guarantees admission to a branch of CSU. Completing a career technical education program leads to employment and a rewarding career. The nation, our state, and Ventura County continue to recover from the financial crash of 2008. Many courses and programs are available at Moorpark College, Oxnard College and Ventura College. The campuses, including the Ventura College Santa Paula site, are thriving and filled with quality opportunities for summer and fall classes. The University of California, California State University, high schools, and the community colleges in our county are working together from kindergarten through higher education to create streamlined pathways for student success. The Ventura County Community College District is focused on closing achievement gaps, providing needed programs and student services, and ensuring that the dream of an excellent and affordable college education is a reality at our three colleges. At the Ventura County Community College District, “students first” is our priority. Student success is always on our minds. The Ventura County community colleges are gateways to transferring to world-class universities and colleges and securing employment for thousands of students who dream of a better tomorrow. Many are taking advantage of transfer pathways and career technical education, but we have room for more students and are here to meet current demands. The colleges are strategically located so there is a campus providing access to you and your family to help “achieve the dream.” The Board of Trustees and chancellor of Ventura County Community College District invite you to participate in the higher education opportunities offered by Moorpark, Oxnard and Ventura colleges. Jamillah Moore is chancellor of the Ventura County Community College District. The co-authors of this column are the members of the district Board of Trustees: Stephen P. Blum, Dianne McKay, Larry Kennedy, Bernardo M. Perez and Arturo D. Hernandez.
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