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San Diego Community Colleges Bounce Back From Recession-Era Cuts

Photo caption: A sign at San Diego City College bears the school's name, May 23, 2014.

Photo by San Diego City College / Flickr

A sign at San Diego City College bears the school's name, May 23, 2014.

Classes started Monday for more 100,000 students at San Diego County's community colleges, which are offering upper division courses for the first time.

Classes started Monday for more than 100,000 students at San Diego County's community colleges, which are bouncing back from recession-era cuts with more classes.

Those include, for the first time, courses only typically offered at four-year universities.

A 2014 law by state Sen. Marty Block, D-San Diego, paved the way for community colleges to offer four-year degrees. Local students in those programs will begin their upper division classes this year.

Also new to the region's community colleges: dozens of added course listings, extra enrollment slots and the return of January intersession classes.

A $350 million booster from the state this year is one in a series of cash injections bringing the once-ailing community college system back. During the recession, enrollment plummeted and course offerings shrank by as much as 20 percent statewide.

Around 50,000 students will begin studies at San Diego City, Mesa and Miramar colleges and the Continuing Education campus.

At City College, the second class in a manufacturing engineering technology program will involve the design and construction of custom-made guitars.

College officials said the program is aimed at helping students become skilled manufacturing engineering technicians.

"We're really excited about these guitar-building classes, as they provide yet another way for us to differentiate City College as a forward- thinking and innovative institution," interim President Denise Whisenhunt said. "No other STEM classes end up in a jam session."

Mesa College plans to dedicate a new student commons building next month, while Miramar College will offer certificates for emergency medical technicians and graphics and visual productions.

Fall semester also begins for Cuyamaca and Grossmont colleges in the East County, MiraCosta and Palomar colleges in the North County, and Southwestern College in Chula Vista.

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