The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

SBCC dual enrollment program grants students a head start

Chantille Marquez (left) and Angelica Contreras of SBCC’s Dual Enrollment program with Albert Martinez, PEAC Program Supervisor. Photo Courtesy of SBCC Office of Communications

Going through college and getting a degree is an important milestone for young adults, but the route to college doesn’t look the same for everyone. City College’s dual enrollment program is an alternative for high school students.

Dual enrollment students take college level courses while still in high school, allowing them to work toward college credits and career goals before graduating high school. 

At City College, the program serves thousands of students through classes on campus, online and at its partnered high schools, including Dos Pueblos High, Santa Barbara High, San Marcos High, and Carpinteria High.

Local high school students can take college courses at their own high school, while also fulfilling the A-G requirements to apply to California’s public colleges. These courses are available to students at a low cost through the California College Promise Grant, which waives the per-unit enrollment fee for eligible students. 

For students in Santa Barbara Unified School District, a grant waives the remaining fees for students. Additionally, the dual enrollment program at City College offers a book grant to cover the cost of textbooks.

“[We’re] trying to remove all barriers for students so they can focus on going to school,” said Angelica Contreras, acting director of the dual enrollment program.

Because of these grants and waivers, dual enrollment is free or nearly-free for most students. 

The program offers almost 130 different sections at high schools, where most dual enrollment students take classes. These courses range from general education to specific career pathways that give students a head start in their preferred field of study. Completing general education requirements reduces these students’ college workload and gives them a head start if they decide to pursue higher education. 

Pathways are a combination of City College programs and programs that already existed at the high schools. They offer career-based coursework such as entrepreneurship, marketing, and culinary arts.

The dual enrollment classes are available in a range of sizes. The biggest is an engineering class at Dos Pueblos High with a roster of 104 students.

This integration of City College pathways and pre-existing programs give students a chance to earn college credits for courses that they would have likely taken regardless. 

“Students are completing some of those courses while they’re in high school, it’s one or two less courses that they have to complete while they’re in college,” Contreras said, commenting on the way these courses assist low income students and what it means to her. “Just doing all that work is exciting to me.” 

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