With the closest California State University being over fifty miles from Yuba College, to some local students, the notion of a higher education may only be a dream.
“It was hard enough earning my AA while working,” said Jonathan Hall, a former Yuba College student. “I work in Yuba City and live in Olivehurst. There’s no way I can go to Sac State or Chico.”
But when told about the possibility of a BA program in the Yuba-Sutter area, Halls face lit up. “I would love to go back to school. I really hope it happens.”
That is Assemblyman Bill Maze’s (R-Visalia) plan, to make higher education within reach for those who reside in rural communities like the Yuba-Sutter area.
Maze recently introduced Assembly Bill 1280 which was co-sponsored by Assembly Higher Education Chairperson, Judy Chu (D-La Cañada Flintridge).
AB 1280 would establish the California Community College Baccalaureate Partnership Program. That program would provide rural districts the opportunity for their local community colleges to develop baccalaureate degree programs in conjunction with California State University campuses.
“This bill is the product of a lot of hard work by a lot of good people up here in Sacramento,” Said Maze. “I’m proud this measure has bipartisan support; we’ll need it for the long road ahead.”
Maze is familiar with the long and hard road that is higher education. He has penned two previous bills similar to AB 1280 that never made it out of the Assembly’s appropriations committee.
But Maze continues to fight the fight that is higher education and is confidant that AB 1280 has what it takes to win. “This is my third attempt in three years in Sacramento,” Maze said. “I think people around here are finally getting the picture that I’m serious about higher education.”
Maze sees an end to his fight for higher education, and will stop at nothing to see his bill through to the finish line. “We need something real and substantive,” Maze continued. “I want a program and classroom, instruction and degrees. We are beyond the conceptual stage, and I will push this issue until something is signed into law.”
While Maze is neck deep in a state wide mêlée for higher education, officials from the Yuba Community College District and California State University, Chico, are working on the issue as well. Their collaborative goal is a Chico State University satellite campus nestled next to Yuba College.
“A university would really help this region. It would change the face of the community,” County Supervisor Dan Logue told the Appeal-Democrat in late August. “As a supervisor, I want to see Yuba-Sutter with higher education that will lead to higher-level jobs.”
If a Chico State satellite campus becomes a reality, CSU classes would first be held at Yuba College and later consideration would be given as far as erecting a CSU Chico extension campus in the area.
A 40 acre lot of unused land owned by Yuba College on North Beale Road is being considered for the permanent location of the Chico State Satellite Classrooms.