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Palomar College receives $2 million award from state

SAN MARCOS — Palomar College recently received a $2 million award from the state for innovation in higher education, the only college in the county to receive the award.

The state’s Committee on Awards for Innovation in Higher Education, awarded 14 community colleges and districts statewide with the $25 million award, which was given to schools that had developed programs to increase community college completion and make attending community colleges more affordable.

The award specifically highlighted the state’s interest in redesigning curriculum and instruction, such as the implementation of three-year bachelor’s degrees; allowing students to make progress toward completion of degrees and credentials based on their demonstration of knowledge and competencies, including skills acquired through military training, prior learning, and prior experiences; and creating programs that make college more affordable by making financial aid and other supports and services more accessible, including by increasing the number of students who apply for these programs, or by reducing the costs of books and supplies.

Palomar College in recent years has initiated several programs that help students either fully or partially pay for tuition, such as the Palomar Promise Program, which will provide free tuition and $1,000 in free textbooks over a student’s first two semesters for students who attend 21 local high schools.

The college in 2016 also created a program that guarantees San Marcos Unified School District students with a minimum 2.5 grade point average free tuition at the college for two years.

“We are so proud and happy to receive this award,” Palomar College Superintendent/President Joi Lin Blake said. “It shows how Palomar has already stepped up to the needs of our students and our community with innovative programs and procedures. The extra funds will allow us to go even farther in helping students reach their goals in a timely and economic manner.”

A committee consisting of the state’s director of finance, four members selected by Gov. Jerry Brown, an appointee of the state Senate Committee on Rules and an appointee of the Speaker of the state Assembly reviewed the applications and selected the winning campuses.