The College of the Sequoias Board of Trustees along with its sponsoring group, Friends of College of the Sequoias, have launched a campaign for General Obligation Bond Measure C which will be placed on the November 2022 ballot. The $95-million-dollar bond will provide funding for a University Center to be built on the southeast corner of the Visalia campus and allow for partnerships with four-year universities providing Bachelor and Master Degree programs.
Currently, over 5,000 students from the South Valley attend Fresno State each year. In 2017, the College partnered with Fresno State and opened the Fresno State South Valley Campus on the southeast corner of campus near Mooney and Tulare Avenue. The South Valley Campus is comprised of one repurposed building and offers Bachelor Degree programs in Business, Education/Teaching, Nursing, and Criminology with Ag Business slated to begin in fall 2023. The Campus also offers two Master Degree programs. Measure C would allow the College to expand that partnership and host additional four-year universities.
College of the Sequoias President Brent Calvin, “Our partnership with Fresno State has demonstrated the great demand for local access to four-year degrees. To remain competitive moving forward, it is important for us as a region to meet this demand. And while the College of the Sequoias is taking the lead, this really is a region-wide issue we are addressing.”
For context, Tulare County is the second largest county (out of 58) in the state without a public, four-year university. According to the American Community Data survey released in 2020, Tulare County ranks as the second lowest region in the state for Bachelor Degree attainment of individuals over 25 at 14.5%. Access to four-year university partnerships in the South Valley will allow students to efficiently complete Bachelor or Master Degree programs and enter the local workforce.
The University Center at College of the Sequoias will cater to students who have received a two-year degree at local community colleges and then choose to stay in the region to complete their Bachelor’s degree, thereby reducing the cost of a four-year degree by at least 50%. Community benefits include providing local employers, medical facilities, school districts, and private businesses with an educated workforce; enhancing local career opportunities and demand; and making the County a more attractive relocation destination for businesses by increasing the number of Tulare County residents with Bachelor’s Degrees.
College of the Sequoias currently offers 33 Associate Degrees for Transfer (ADT), the most by any community college in the Central Valley and the third most in the state. Since 2017, over 4,000 College of the Sequoias graduates have received Associate Degrees for Transfer. The bond will cost local property owners in SFID #2 approximately $13 each year per $100,000 of assessed value.