By Pablo De Sainz
Due to the high level of growth among the young population of Chula Vista, Mayor Steve Padilla is forming a committee that will try to find a university, public or private, for the city.
In the past there already existed another committee, composed of 21 members, that for 10 years unsuccessfully tried to get the University of California (UC) to establish a campus in Chula Vista. The new committee, Padilla said, will open up the search to include any university or university system that’s interested in building in the city.
“Now this will be a committee with less members that will look for any institution of quality higher education to build here,” he said. “We won’t limit ourselves to any university system in particular, instead we’ll keep our options open.”
According to Padilla, a university in Chula Vista is really needed to give room to the thousands of students in the area. He also said that the city is a good site for the construction of the institution.
“It is a binational region unique in the whole country. All of that combines to give it a unique place for a university.”
Padilla said that the whole County of San Diego, not just Chula Vista, would receive the benefits of this plan.
“The whole region will benefit from one more university. It will provide many services, and it’s also known that a university also gives a boost to the economy of the surrounding community,” he said.
Murray Habraman, spokesman for the California Postsecondary Education Commission (CPEC), said that before being built, in California any public institution of higher education needs the prior approval of the CPEC.
“To establish a new public university there’s a lot of planning, a lot of analysis,” Habra-man said. “We need to take into consideration the cost of constructing, the impact on the region, the resources available.”
Habraman said that Chula Vista won’t see the results of its search for at least 10 years, time the process takes to open a new public university in California.
He also indicated that there are plans for other universities, such as San Diego State University (SDSU), to establish satellite campuses in Chula Vista. But Padilla wants much more for the city.
“We’re talking about a full-length university, we’re not looking for a satellite campus that depends on another university.”
Padilla said that the committee would include experts in higher education, professors, and economists.
The committee’s first meeting is scheduled for July.
Other college news
A university in San Diego has been named as the institution of higher education that awards the most masters’ degrees to Hispanic students in California.
National University, a private university with central offices in La Jolla and a satellite campus in Chula Vista, reached first place in California and third in the nation, according to rankings released by Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education magazine. The rankings are based on information provided by the National Education Statistics Center.
“Our student body reflects the diversity that exists in California,” said Hoyt Smith, spokesman for National University. “But still, Hispanics continue to be a minority at colleges. National University will continue to promote post-graduate education among Hispanics.”
Although the university awarded 332 masters’s to Hispanic students in the 2000-2001 period, Smith said it is necessary to raise those figures.
“We’re proud of our ranking, but still, as a state, all universities need to make higher education more accessible to people of Hispanic descent,” he said.
National University is university designed for adults that don’t have a lot of time to attend classes. The university offers bachelors and masters in an accelerated format and via Internet.
“It is a format that makes education more accessible for people that work,” Smith said.