Registration is now open for fall semester classes starting August 17 at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges, where a range of support from technology to basic needs is available to students for mostly online classes because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than 95% of the courses offered at the two colleges will be online. Many faculty have spent the summer learning ways to make online classes engaging and accessible. The in-person, socially distanced classes on campus will consist of science labs, allied health classes and career education classes that don't lend themselves to online instruction.
At only $46 a unit for California residents, classes are affordable and financial aid is available to those who qualify. First-time college students planning to attend full time are eligible for free tuition through the Grossmont-Cuyamaca College Promise. More details are available at mycollegepromise.net.
Lynn Neault, chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District, said Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges offer an excellent option for high school graduates who don't want to pay high fees to attend an online university this fall.
"As leaders in transfer to San Diego State University and many other four-year institutions through the state and nation, Grossmont and Cuyamaca Colleges have robust transfer programs that provide a seamless pathway to a bachelor's degree," Neault said. "In fact, more than half of CSU graduates and 30% of UC graduates began their studies at a community college."
With research showing the pandemic has hit community college students particularly hard because of income and accessibility challenges, both colleges have adopted policies ensuring students receive support for basic needs.
Both Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges are accepting student applications for emergency grants funded by the $5 million the campuses collectively received from federal funding through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, along with grants from the Foundation for Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges, and other program and college funding.
Cuyamaca College distributed laptops over the summer packaged with free hotspots and wireless service agreements for internet access to more than 100 low-income students, including former foster youth, those with disabilities, students of color and others receiving state assistance. Additional laptops will be distributed at both colleges this fall.
Besides addressing technology and basic needs, the colleges are adopting new ways to provide student services remotely, ensuring public health concerns remain a priority during the COVID-19 crisis.
Cuyamaca College is providing virtual student success workshops and has implemented e-advising and an online appointment system to improve access. Similarly, Grossmont College is adapting existing student services to an online environment by launching hourlong e-counseling appointments for students. Further, both Grossmont College and Cuyamaca College launched a financial aid chatbot, which can answer basic financial aid questions at all hours in English or Spanish.
The fall semester also introduces exciting new learning opportunities.
At Grossmont College, the Computer Science Information Systems department has two new offerings: programs in the growing fields of data science and cybersecurity. Students can earn a certificate in data science or a certificate or degree in cybersecurity.
At Cuyamaca College, a two-unit class - Bus 113: Gig Economy: The New Entrepreneurial Path - provides information on mixing together short-term jobs, contract work, and freelance assignments in disciplines where gigging is common: music, ornamental horticulture, automotive, graphic design and business. The class will touch on freelancing, entrepreneurship, business and legal aspects, and tech developments, with emphasis on employment and entrepreneurial opportunities.
Cuyamaca College is also offering a new certificate of specialization in CADD and Manufacturing Technology that prepares students for entry-level jobs in the metal-work industry and covers engineering graphics, 3-D solid modeling, the technology of machine tools, and advanced CADD/manufacturing. Students learn to use computer-assisted drafting to design objects which then can be produced using 3-D printers.
To meet workforce needs in water and wastewater technology, Cuyamaca College and National University are offering a seamless pathway for students completing their transfer associate degree in WaterWorks Management at Cuyamaca College to transfer into the university's Public Administrationi baccalaureate degree program.
For information on applying and registering for classes at both colleges, go to www.gcccd.edu/now.