UnitED Central Coast
Join Allan Hancock College and Cuesta College to help bring two new bachelor's degrees to our communities.
Launched at a public event on October 5, 2023, UnitED Central Coast is a collaborative effort between Allan Hancock College and Cuesta College to share information about how the colleges will meet local workforce needs with two four-year degrees (one at each college) to be offered under the California Community College baccalaureate program.
The Central Coast is a higher education desert. With no affordable and accessible state universities in our region, students are forced to choose whether to prioritize family obligations over education or obtain the funding to uproot and move far from home to complete a bachelor’s degree. Efforts to create a sustainable baccalaureate program in our area have languished for too long. Our local businesses and our neighbors should have the same access to an affordable four-year degree as most Californians do in other parts of the state. Since 2017, community colleges across the state have successfully launched baccalaureate programs to fill local education gaps.
Send a letter of support by November 15th.
The goal is to elevate higher education on the Central Coast for future generations to come. The vibrant economies of Northern Santa Barbara County and San Luis Obispo County would equally benefit from a better-equipped and dynamic workforce if baccalaureate degrees were available from Cuesta College and Allan Hancock College. Baccalaureate degrees will result in the expansion of employment opportunities for our students, a higher standard of living for our neighbors, and an overall prosperous economic outlook for both San Luis Obispo and Northern Santa Barbara counties.
As a polytechnic university, Cal Poly’s statewide mission sets it apart from traditional CSU institutions. This mission has made Cal Poly very competitive for students who wish to attend. Each year, Cal Poly turns away more than 30,000 applicants. UCSB is a world-class research university that is even more selective, annually admitting approximately 28 percent of more than 100,000 applicants. In addition, students in Northern Santa Barbara County need to drive hundreds of miles per week or spend hours on public transportation to attend either of these universities. This is not financially viable for most of the residents in our region, many of whom work and have families. According to a report from The Civil Rights Project at UCLA, evidence from other states demonstrates that overlapping baccalaureate programs do not create strong competition between the community college and state university when the degrees are offered to address a shortage of opportunity. After thoroughly reviewing our local and regional needs, the goal of UnitED Central Coast is to build two degrees for locals to earn specific bachelor's degrees to broaden opportunities for our community.
Bachelor of Science in Education
The Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Degree in Education provides the required degree students need for careers in teaching and education or working with children in various roles. The curriculum covers a broad range of core courses for those who want to be educators in our community and prepares them for the credentialling process in their specific field. In San Luis Obispo County alone, almost 100 new teachers are needed each year to address K-12 shortfalls in our community. Cuesta already has multiple associate degrees in teacher preparation that would pipeline students into the bachelor's program.
Bachelor of Applied Sciences in Professional Studies
The Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Degree in Applied Professional Studies is an applied career technical education program that provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary to compete and succeed in a constantly evolving job market. Through a combination of coursework and hands-on experiences, students will develop a deep understanding of the key principles that drive productivity and progress in a variety of industries and organizations.
According to the Top Ten Reasons to support Bachelors Degrees, students can earn a four-year degree for a total of just $10,560– less than half the tuition at even the most affordable public universities. Students could graduate with less debt and will draw down less in state financial aid dollars. In fact, 72% of students in current community college baccalaureate programs reported taking out no student loan debt to finance their education.
Students who are unable to commute or move away from home due to family care needs, finances, or other factors will have access to the types of degrees that will help them expand their career options and increase their income. The statewide program was created to make it easier and more affordable for community college students to get a baccalaureate degree and be eligible for a broader array of employment opportunities. The fees for the program will mirror current community college tuition and fees.
Local businesses and schools will have access to new highly skilled local professionals who are more likely to stay in our community.
According to REACH (a multi-county economic development collaborative), the expansion of baccalaureate opportunities will expand career opportunities and increase income for residents, strengthening our local economies.
The first step is to identify local need that a community college can address. Once that is done, college faculty design a curricular outline for the program. The next phase is the submission of the application to the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. The application should include letters of support from local industry. Once the applications are received by the Chancellor’s Office, they are reviewed by staff and shared with the UC and CSU systems to ensure there is no “unnecessary duplication.” Ultimately, the CCC Board of Governors has the final say.
Unfortunately, the process is not quick. Approval may not come until late 2024, meaning that the absolute earliest the program could start would be fall 2025.
We need letters of support explaining how our degrees will support the local economy. The more specific you can be about how a bachelor’s degree from Allan Hancock College or Cuesta College can benefit your business or organization, the better. You can write your own letter or use one of the template letters provided by AHC and Cuesta as a starting point. We need the letters submitted to us by November 15, 2023.
Official CCCCO page:
UCLA Civil Rights Project: