Colleges See Huge Increases in Graduates

May 6, 2015 | Jack Beresford

The San Diego Community College District (SDCCD) is seeing a huge jump in the number of students earning associate degrees this spring, and a few thousand of them will take part in commencement ceremonies that begin May 15 at San Diego Miramar College.  

The SDCCD is awarding 3,314 associate degrees this year, up 37 percent from the 2,414 degrees awarded last year.  The increase comes as the district this spring launched a campaign to boost the number of degrees conferred.  The Earn More Than A Degree campaign is part of a larger, districtwide effort to double the number of students who earn a degree or certificate by 2022. Previously, the district’s goal was to see a 10 percent annual increase.

"By earning more associate degrees, students at City,  Mesa, and Miramar have improved their  competitiveness in seeking a career, since they can  demonstrate their ability to successfully complete and  master a program,” said SDCCD Chancellor Constance  M. Carroll.  “They have also protected their academic  standing in the event their university studies are  interrupted since they will still have an earned degree on  their record.”

 Students who transfer with an associate degree are 77  percent more likely to earn a bachelor’s degree within  four years, compared to students who do not have an associate degree.  And associate degree holders earn $421,000 more over a working lifetime than someone with a high school diploma.  Almost half of students who graduated with an associate degree – even those who did not transfer to a university – earned more than $54,000 annually five years after securing their diploma. 

Following is the schedule of commencements for the second largest community college district in California. 

San Diego Miramar College. Friday, May 15, at Miramar College’s Compass Point in front of the Library and Learning Resource Center (LLRC), 10440 Black Mountain Road, San Diego. Miramar will award at least 755 associate degrees and 430 certificates during the academic year, and an estimated 200 students are expected to take part in the commencement ceremony. San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman will be the keynote speaker. Ceremonies begin at 1 p.m.

San Diego Mesa College.  Saturday, May 16, at the University of San Diego’s Jenny Craig Pavilion, 5998 Alcala Park, San Diego. Mesa will award at least 1,607 associate degrees and 310 certificates this academic year. An estimated 400 students are expected to take part in the commencement ceremony.  Former Mesa College student and U.S. District Court Judge Anthony J. Battaglia will be a keynote speaker. Ceremonies begin at 4 p.m.  

San Diego City College. Friday, May 22, Balboa Park Organ Pavilion, 1549 El Prado, San Diego.  City College will award at least 952 associate degrees and 475 certificates this academic year, more than 300 students are expected to attend the commencement ceremony. Ceremonies begin at 5 p.m.

San Diego Continuing Education. Friday, May 29, at Balboa Park Organ Pavilion, 1549 El Prado, San Diego. San Diego Continuing Education is awarding a total of 3,802 vocational certificates and 151 high school diplomas. The ceremony is a collaboration with the San Diego Unified School District’s Adult Education program and begins at 5 p.m..

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