By Pablo Jaime Sáinz
While enrolled at Southwestern College, Yoanna Gaytan wanted to transfer to a 4-year university but at the same time wanted to stay close to home, to her job and to her family.
Some of the options she had were the University of California, San Diego, and San Diego State University.
Although still in San Diego County, she said it would’ve been a hassle to drive from her home in Chula Vista to La Jolla or to the College Area for school. Her job and family commitments made it difficult.
“Traffic on the freeways takes a lot of time,” she said.
So when Gaytan heard of a new program that lets undergraduate students enroll and take Alliant International University courses at the Southwestern College campus, she said she had found the perfect option.
“It was just convenient to remain on the same campus, near my house, without having to drive far for classes,” the 21 year old business administration major said.
The program is called “University Within a College,” and it was creatd to give Southwestern College and South Bay students the chance to complete their bachelor’s degree in their own backyards.
Thanks to an agreement between Southwestern and Alliant International University, which has its main campus in Scripps Ranch some 25 miles north of Chula Vista, qualified students of the two-year Chula Vista-based College can remain on Southwestern’s campus for their four year degrees, with Alliant offering the final two years of coursework on-site.
“This partnership is unique in higher education,” said Dr. Eric Gravenberg, Vice President for Undergraduate Education for Alliant International University. It provides expanded educational opportunities for the students, families, and communities of the South Bay region. It is a pathway for educational success, career, and lifelong fulfillment for the students who participate in this program.”
The “University Within a College” program is the fulfillment of part of the “Alliance for Success” partnership between Alliant International University, Southwestern College and Sweetwater High School District that was formed in June 2006.
The first set of students will start the semester on January 22. So far, 12 former Southwestern students are taking advantage of this new opportunity and have transferred to Alliant, Gravenberg said.
The degrees offered will be a BS in Business Administration, International Business and a BA in Psychology. Alliant also offers a bachelor’s of Business Administration degree on-line.
“Now you can complete your education in your community,” said Joel Levine, South-western’s dean of the School of Languages and Humanities and the Southwestern representative in the agreement.
Levine said that Southwestern has given some office space to Alliant so that it can bring academic and financial aid counseling to the Chula Vista campus.
Alliant will have student services representatives several times a week to help its students with questions and concerns, Gravenberg said.
Although paying for a private university Alliant’s tuition and fees was one of the concerns for Gaytan, one of the students who are starting the program next week, she said she was able to receive financial aid in the form of loans to pay for it.
“It’s a good investment,” she said.
Levine said that Alliant offered tuition and fee reductions to attract Southwestern students to the program.
Alliant’s program will directly compliment South-western’s existing general education and core requirements and elective curricula, allowing students of the two-year community college to make a seamless transition into a bachelor’s degree program and ensuring timely graduation.
“We can guarantee students that they’ll finish with their degree in two years, not like overcrowded public universities, where at the end, you end up paying more because you take more time to complete your degree,” Gravengerg said.
Students can still apply for Spring 2007. Classes begin January 22, 2007. For more information contact Stephanie Musson at firstname.lastname@example.org or (858)-635-4544.