March 2, 2001

UCSD, Grossmont College, Cuyamaca College, Grossmont Union High School District to Launch `UniversityLink'

El Cajon — "UniversityLink," a partnership between the University of California, San Diego, the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District, and the Grossmont Union High School District will be formally launched 8 a.m. March 2, 2001 at the East San Diego County Regional Chamber of Commerce First Friday Breakfast program.

UCSD Chancellor Robert C. Dynes, Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District Chancellor Omero Suarez and Grossmont Union High School District Superintendent Granger Ward will sign a "UniversityLink" agreement that guarantees East County student participants admission to UCSD. The signing ceremony will be held at the American Legion Post 282 at 8118 University Ave. in La Mesa.

UCSD's "UniversityLink" program has two primary goals:

To increase the transfer rates of educationally and socially disadvantaged students.

To facilitate a smooth transition from high school to community college to the university for the diverse student population in East County.

Seniors at the 10 GUHSD high schools who are continuing on to Grossmont or Cuyamaca college in the fall are encouraged to sign "UniversityLink" agreements requiring that they complete a minimum of 60 transferable semester units, maintain a minimum 2.8 grade point average in all UC-transferable courses, and meet UC subject eligibility. They will also participate in a host of program activities, including individual counseling, which ensure that they stay on course to transfer. If they fulfill the agreement, they are guaranteed that they can transfer into UCSD as juniors.

"The UniversityLink program is extremely important for East County students because it links academic opportunity with streamlined assistance and financial savings," Chancellor Suarez said. "We are excited about the doors that are opened with this program.

"It is especially fitting that this program be unveiled at a Chamber of Commerce function because of the integral connection between education and the business community."

Chancellor Dynes said UCSD created UniversityLink to emphasize to high school seniors that the door to UCSD is still open to them, should they choose to first attend a community college.

"We want these seniors to ultimately become UCSD students, and our UniversityLink agreement demonstrates how committed we are to helping these students achieve that goal," he said.

Superintendent Ward said key to the program is the support from community college and UCSD staff that will be provided to students from the outset. At the high schools, the involvement of UCSD, Grossmont College and Cuyamaca College staff will be outreach and providing information about UniversityLink.

Once students begin classes at Grossmont or Cuyamaca, those who have signed on with the program will receive extensive backing, including counseling and other services, from community college and UCSD staff.

"This connection sends a great message to students who may never have dreamed of a UC education: `You can do it. We'll help,'" Ward said.

Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges are among four colleges launching "University-Link" partnerships with UCSD in Fall 2001. Also signing on are Miramar and Palomar colleges. Already participating are East Los Angeles, Mira Costa, San Diego Mesa and Southwestern colleges, along with their "feeder" high schools.

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