Starting fall 2019, incoming first-year students will select from an array of pathways when enrolling at Santa Ana College.
Think of Guided Pathways as color by numbers. The design is a potential career, the numbers are two-year plans, and the colors are areas of interests that help them step onto their selected pathway.
“Imagine if a student’s ‘next step’ was not just obvious, but dancing off the page in pulsating neon letters,” said California Community College Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley. “Imagine that ‘next step’ was a literal step, on a literal pathway, with a clear and determined destination.”
All of SAC’s nearly 300 degrees and certificates are being re-organized into seven broader Career and Academic Pathways, which will provide students with resources specific to their interests.
For example, a student wanting to earn a certificate in entrepreneurship and innovation will be placed with like-minded students under the Business and Paralegal Career and Academic Pathway and given a comprehensive plan for completion.
Alongside educating the various learning communities, increasing completion of certificates and degrees helps SAC receive money through a new point-based funding system.
Each point is $876. The value for students receiving the Federal Pell Grant is an additional $660.
Three points equate to an associate and a student under the Federal Pell Grant who completes an associate degree earn SAC $4,608, according to the 2018-2019 Funding Formula.
In previous semesters, students were encouraged but not required to have an education plan, which led some to take courses unnecessary for completion.
“What we know, unfortunately, is that not all students [have an education plan] and that’s really integral to student success,” said Fernando Ortiz, SAC’s Dean of Academic Affairs. “If you don’t have a [education] plan, you don’t really know what to take next semester.” Guided Pathways intends to help California community college students complete courses towards their interests, potential career and chosen majors faster.
Additional Reporting by Chris Castro