The Senate Education Committee passed Assembly Bill 736 allowing a feasibility study to be performed which could pave the way for a California State University campus in Antelope Valley.
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The bill, authored by Assemblymember Steve Fox, D-Palmdale, is in front of the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration as of Tuesday.
Assembly Bill 736 authorizes leaders of the California State University System to study the need for a four-year university in the Antelope Valley area.
“Our region is home to many aerospace companies where engineers, computer experts, and technicians are high in demand,” said Fox, who first introduced AB 736 on Feb. 21, 2013. “Having a CSU in the Antelope Valley will allow us to educate and retain our people and fuel our local economy.”
The population in the Antelope Valley has grown by 85 percent since 2000. The students in the Antelope Valley graduate high school,attend college and obtain an associate’s degree at a higher rate than their California peers.
However, since they do not have the same access to a public four-year university, they fall behind when completing a four-year degree, as well as a graduate degree, Fox stated in the release.
The cost would come from the CSU budget, as the bill directs the chancellor to undertake the study.
The study includes enrollment projections, regional workforce needs, the potential for job creation in the region, as well as the effects of a new campus on other local educational institutes.
One-time non-state cost of around $600,000 for the feasibility study, which would include
physical and academic planning and environmental and traffic studies, according to Assembly floor notes.
The development of a new CSU campus would probably require initial capital outlays of tens of millions of dollars and at least several million dollars annually in start-up costs.
“Access to higher education must be a priority in all parts of California,” Fox said. “In my district, high school graduates have fewer options to attend college than their peers in other parts of the state. This bill aims to allow our students to get a local education and create the jobs we need for tomorrow’s economy.”
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Source: Santa Clarita News