Senate Bill 444 – Establishes The Mathematics, Engineering, Science, Achievement (MESA) Program And Encourages Community College District Establish MESA Programs At College Campuses

CATEGORY: Public Education Matters
CLIENT TYPE: Public Education
DATE: Dec 06, 2023

SB 444 encourages community college district establish and implement MESA programs at community colleges.  Programs should be directed at identifying students affected by social, economic, and educational disadvantages; increasing the number of eligible students served under MESA programs; and increasing student success in transferring and completing baccalaureate degree programs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics majors at four-year higher education institutions.

The bill requires the Board of Governors adopt regulations for the operation of MESA programs at community colleges that align with the programmatic components of MESA programs.  The bill also requires the operation of MESA programs and the regulations adopted by the Board of Governors to accomplish the following goals:

  • Increasing the number of socially, economically, and educationally disadvantaged students pursuing baccalaureate degrees in STEM majors who are eligible to transfer to four-year higher education institutions.
  • Implements efficient processes and practices and uses existing college transfer centers to achieve greater MESA program student transfers to four-year higher education institutions.
  • Implements strategies to increase the rate at which MESA program students are deemed transfer-ready in STEM majors to four-year higher education institutions.
  • Improves the academic performance of MESA program students.
  • Increases the leadership skills and raises the educational expectations of MESA program students.
  • Strengthens relationships with educators and prospective employers in business and industry to establish student internships, scholarships, and other career opportunities for MESA program students.
  • Establishes partnerships with the University of California and the California State University MESA programs and Mathematics, Engineering, Science, Achievement College Preparatory programs, California Alliance for Minority Participation programs, or similar programs in an effort to provide optimal student support services.
  • Implements strategies to collaborate with campus programs, such as the Student Equity and Achievement Program and the Student Success and Support Program to leverage additional resources and opportunities for MESA program students and ensure integrated of MESA program in campus culture and infrastructure.

SB 444 does not permit the governing board of a community college district to utilize funds received from the state for the operation and administration of MESA programs to supplant existing college resources, programs, or services.  The governing board may use MESA program funds to meet the matching requirements to receive federal funds, or funds granted by nonprofit foundations, designated for the same purposes as described in this bill.

Finally, MESA program support provided by a community college shall supplement, but not supplant, the regular educational programs offered by the college to encourage and support the enrollment of MESA program students who seek a baccalaureate degree in STEM majors at four-year higher education institutions.

(SB 444 adds Part 52.8 (commencing with Section 88680) to Division 7 of Title 3 of the Education Code.)

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