A first-ever study of recent community college graduates in San Diego and Imperial counties shows that nearly 9 out of 10 have either transferred to a university or are in the labor force, and their community college education played a key role in getting them there.
The report, based on a survey of more than 1,400 spring 2014 graduates, was conducted by San Diego State University’s School of Journalism & Media Studies on behalf of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Community Colleges Association (SDICCCA), a consortium of the nine community colleges in the two-county region.
“This survey illustrates the commendable job that community colleges do in preparing students for further education and the workforce,” said Cindy L. Miles, SDICCCA president and chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District.
Among the findings:
· More than half of the community college graduates had transferred to a four-year college or university, with 77 percent attending a California State University campus and 15 percent attending a University of California campus. Most graduates have remained in the area to complete their bachelor’s degree.
· Seventy-nine percent of the surveyed graduates who continued their education agreed with the statement, “Academically, my community college prepared me well for my current studies.”
· About 75 percent of the graduates surveyed agreed with the statement, “My community college gave me a chance to figure out what I wanted to study.”
· About 96 percent who pursued work after graduation found a job within six months, with 60 percent working in a field related to their studies.
· More than nine out of 10 working graduates found employment in San Diego or Imperial counties.
· Some 86 percent of the working graduates who were surveyed agreed with the statement, “I am satisfied with the skills and knowledge I gained while attending my community college.”
Students who responded to the study graduated from one of the nine community colleges in the two-county region: Cuyamaca, Grossmont, Imperial Valley, MiraCosta, Miramar, Palomar, San Diego City, San Diego Mesa and Southwestern College. Several attended more than one community college.
The nine community colleges in San Diego and Imperial Valley serve more than 145,000 students each year and annually contribute $6.6 billion to California’s economy.