A mini campus within a campus
PC partnership expands bachelor offerings.
Beginning in January, students wishing to obtain a bachelor’s degree in business administration, may do so at Porterville College. The new course is part of an expansion by National University which has partnered with Porterville College to offer bachelor degree programs.
“This is the newest piece of our partnership agreement with Dr. Rosa Carlson and Porterville College,” said Bernell Hirning, associate regional dean, National University, Fresno and Bakersfield campuses. “Some community colleges, because of their locations, don’t have a lot of options unless the students relocate or travel.”
Porterville is such a place, he said — with students traveling to Fresno or Bakersfield to pursue a bachelor’s degree.
“With gasoline more than $4 a gallon, it’s difficult,” he said. “And for some, relocation is not an option. By National bringing the program to Porterville College, it’s allows those students to stay in Porterville, finishing their bachelor degree and start earning a living. It’s a big win for Porterville College and a big win for the Porterville community.”
Porterville’s National campus, one of 8 to 10 such programs, is National’s most successful partnership, Hirning said.
“We’re making a splash in the community by starting a bachelors in business administration program,” said Jonathan Schultz, admissions counselor with National University, a non-profit university that offers a wide range of educational opportunities, at the Porterville College campus. “To qualify, students must meet criteria — have more than 30 transferable units, and a 2.0 grade point average.”
Schultz also schedules all of the classes during the 17 to 19 months of the program — assuring that not one single student is left out.
“We’re trying our hardest to never turn down students. There’s no add day and no drop date,” Schultz said. “If a student comes here, we don’t look at them or their education like a sell. There’s no pressure — no quota we have to meet. We look into the best interest of the students. We don’t start people just to get our numbers higher. We don’t set people up to fail.”
To obtain the bachelors in business administration, students must complete 180 quarter units — 76 of them at the upper-division level. In addition, students also choose one of several fields of study — accountancy, alternative dispute, business law, economics, entrepreneurship, finance, hospitality and casino, human resource management, marketing, professional golf management or project management — which will add a concentration minor to their degree.
“We have several to choose from but what we are going to do is let the students vote and if they all want the same concentration minor, that’s what we will offer,” he said. “If they don’t all agree, then we will cover a little about each one and they will not get the concentration minor. Or they can leave our program and take the last four classes and do their own program online to get the concentration minor. We’re not telling them what to do. We’re letting them decide. The students have all the power.”
When it comes to cost, the cost per unit is slightly higher than a state college but lower than a university cost.
Another advantage is that the students can live at home or pay less for local housing — potentially saving them tens of thousands of dollars.
National also utilizes FAFSA and accepts almost all grants and scholarships, including Pell grants, state grants, Cal grants and student loans. They can not accept specific college scholarships.
The bachelor in business administration is not the only bachelor’s program offered. Numerous students began the road toward their bachelor of arts in interdisciplinary studies, with a preliminary multiple-subjects teaching credential, in January. It was so popular, a second class followed in July.
“The January class has 19 students and the July has 20,” Shultz said, adding that the average age of the students is 30 years of age.
The January class actually began in February, with each month counting as a term and three terms as a quarter.
“It’s a non-traditional quarter system,” Schultz said.
The first month or two was difficult for students but they promptly adjusted, he said.
“It’s a form of culture shock at first because students are used to taking three or four classes at once,” Schultz said. “Here, they take one class for one month and it’s over — they move on to the next class. Usually the first month, students will come and say, ‘I feel I can’t handle this,’ but then they get the hang of it and they love it.”
Lisa Marie Velasquez, a Lindsay High and Porterville College graduate, agreed.
“I love it because I don’t drive. It is perfect for me that it was right here in Porterville,” shes said. “Also, the classes are great. You just go to one class at a time. That helps a lot.”
But National University is not stopping there. The college is already looking into getting a bachelor of math degree started within a year.
“We’re hoping all teachers for National are taught by Porterville College professors,” Schultz said. “Approximately 95% are PC employees.”
Schultz said he talks to students and investigates areas of interest for future bachelor and master degrees.
“Our hope is that by the time the first group graduates, we hope to have a master program for them to transition into if they want to do that,” he said.
Several students have appointments to meet with Schultz through September to investigate the new program.
“The students’ interest in the program has exceeded our expectations. It’s a very good partnership for us as we expand our opportunities,” said Steve Schultz, vice president student services, Porterville College. “We’re excited with what they’ve done so far and we are planning for the future. With college getting harder to reach due to budget cuts, the program provides opportunities for students in the community to get educated without moving away.”
For more information about the programs, to have transcripts evaluated, or to enroll in a program, call Schultz at 791-2217.
Contact Esther Avila at 784-5000, Ext. 1045. Follow her on Twitter @Avila_recorder.