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Facilities Review

University or Community College Educational Centers

The process for each public higher education system to establish a new educational center, as defined in the definitions section of the guidelines, is as follows:

Preliminary Notice

At such time as a public higher education system, including a community college district, begins a planning process to establish a new educational center, a new community college, or a new university campus, or to convert an educational center to a community college or university campus, the governing board of the system or district shall forward to the Commission a Preliminary Notice of the planning event. This notice shall indicate only the general location of the proposed new institution, the type of institution under consideration, the estimated enrollment size of the institution at its opening and within five years of operation, and a copy of the agenda item discussed by the local district or system governing board, if any. A Preliminary Notice shall represent only an informational process, and will not require formal consideration or approval by the Commission.

Letter of Intent

University of California and the California State University

Not less than two years prior to the time it expects the first capital outlay appropriation for the new educational center, the University of California Regents or the California State University Trustees should submit to the Commission (with copies to the Department of Finance, the Demographic Research Unit, and the Office of the Legislative Analyst) a Letter of Intent.

A Letter of Intent to establish a new educational center should contain the following information:

  • A preliminary five-year enrollment and attendance projection (headcount and FTES) for the new educational center (from the center's opening date), developed by the system office, including itemization of all upper division and graduate enrollments. The system office may seek the advice of the Demographic Research Unit (DRU) in developing the projection, but Unit approval is not required at this stage.
  • When converting an off-campus operational center to an educational center, the enrollment history of the off-campus operation.
  • The geographic location of the new educational center in terms as specific as possible. A brief description of each site under consideration should be included.
  • Maps of the area in which the proposed educational center is to be located, indicating population densities, topography, road and highway configurations and any other features of interest.
  • A time schedule for development of the new educational center, including preliminary dates and enrollment levels at the opening, intermediate, and final build out stages.
  • A tentative five-year capital outlay budget starting on the date of the first capital outlay appropriation.
  • A copy of the resolution by the Regents or the Trustees authorizing the new educational center.
  • The identification of neighboring public and independent institutions in the area in which the proposed university campus is to be located.
The Commission Executive Director shall respond to the chief executive officer, in writing, no later than 60 days following submission of the completed Letter of Intent to the Commission. If the plans appear to be reasonable, the Commission's Executive Director will advise the system chief executive officer to move forward with site acquisition or further development plans. The Commission Executive Director may in this process raise concerns about shortcomings or limitations in the Letter of Intent that need to be addressed in the planning process. If the Commission Executive Director is unable to approve the Letter of Intent as submitted, he or she shall, within 30 days, indicate to the chief executive officer the specific reasons why the Letter of Intent is incomplete.

California Community Colleges

Not less than two years prior to the time it expects to convert an off-campus center operation to a community college educational center, a district should submit a Letter of Intent (with copies to the Commission, Department of Finance, the Demographic Research Unit, and the Office of the Legislative Analyst) to the Chancellor of the California Community Colleges. Upon completing its review, the Board of Governors, or the Chancellor, if so delegated by the Board, will forward its recommendation to the Commission, with copies to the Department of Finance and the Legislative Analyst.

A Letter of Intent to establish a new community college educational center should contain the following information:

  • A preliminary five-year enrollment projection and attendance (headcount and FTES) for the new educational center (from the center's opening date), developed by the district and/or the Chancellor's Office. The Chancellor's Office may seek the advice of the Demographic Research Unit (DRU) in developing the projection, but DRU approval is not required at this stage.
  • When converting an off-campus operational center to an educational center, the enrollment history of the off-campus operation.
  • The location of the new educational center in terms as specific as possible. A brief description of each site under consideration should be included.
  • Maps of the area in which the proposed educational center is to be located, indicating population densities, topography, road and highway configurations and any other features of interest.
  • A copy of the district's most recent five-year capital construction plan.
  • A time schedule for development of the new educational center, including preliminary dates and enrollment levels at the opening, intermediate, and final build out stages.
  • A tentative five-year capital outlay budget starting on the date of the first capital outlay appropriation.
  • A copy of the resolution by the district governing board authorizing the new educational center.
  • The identification of neighboring public and independent institutions in the area in which the proposed campus is to be located.
The Commission Executive Director shall respond to the chief executive officer, in writing, no later than 60 days following submission of the completed Letter of Intent to the Commission. If the plans appear to be reasonable, the Commission's Executive Director will advise the system chief executive officer to move forward with site acquisition or further development plans. The Executive Director may in this process raise concerns about shortcomings or limitations in the Letter of Intent that need to be addressed in the planning process. If the Executive Director is unable to approve the Letter of Intent as submitted, he or she shall, within 30 days, indicate to the chief executive officer the specific reasons why the Letter of Intent is incomplete. The Executive Director of the Commission will act on a Letter of Intent only after it has been approved by Board of Governors or the Chancellor of the California Community Colleges.

Needs Study

The Needs Study provides the findings from a comprehensive needs analysis for the project. The purpose of a Needs Study is to provide evidence of the need for and location of new institutions and campuses of public higher education. A Needs Study is considered complete only when it fully addresses each of the criteria listed below.

General description and overview

The opening section of the Needs Study must include: A general description of the proposal, a physical description of the site, and a social and demographic analysis of the surrounding area. Data describing the socioeconomic profile of the area or region should be included, with income levels and racial/ethnic categorizations provided. Inclusion of various descriptive charts, tables, or other displays is encouraged.

Enrollment projections

Enrollment projections must be sufficient to justify the establishment of the educational center. For a proposed new community college or university campus, enrollment projections for the first ten years of operation (from opening date) must be provided.

The Demographic Research Unit (DRU) of the Department of Finance must approve enrollment projections. As the designated demographic agency for the State, the DRU has the statutory responsibility for preparing systemwide enrollment projections. For a proposed new institution, the DRU will approve all projections of undergraduate enrollment developed by a system office of one of the public systems proposing the new institution. Enrollment projections developed by a local community college district must be approved by the Chancellor's Office. Upon request, the DRU shall provide the system with advice and instructions on the preparation of enrollment projections.

Undergraduate enrollment projections and attendance for a new institution shall be presented in terms of Fall Term headcount and Fall Term Full Time Equivalent Students (FTES). Enrollment projections for California Community Colleges should also include Weekly Student Contact Hours (WSCH) and WSCH per headcount student.

Graduate and professional student enrollment projections shall be prepared by the system office proposing the new institution. In preparing these projections, the specific methodology and/or rationale generating the projections, an analysis of supply and demand for graduate education, and the need for new graduate and professional degrees must be provided.

For a new University of California center, statewide enrollment projected for the University should exceed the planned enrollment capacity of existing University campuses and educational centers. If the statewide enrollment projection does not exceed the planned enrollment capacity for the University system, compelling statewide and/or regional needs for the establishment of the new educational center must be demonstrated.

For a new California State University center, statewide enrollment projected for the State University system should exceed the planned enrollment capacity of existing State University campuses and educational centers. If the statewide enrollment projection does not exceed the planned enrollment capacity for the system, compelling regional needs for the center must be demonstrated.

For a new community college center, enrollment projected for the district proposing the college should exceed the planned enrollment capacity of existing district colleges and centers. If the district enrollment projection does not exceed the planned enrollment capacity of existing district colleges or centers, compelling regional or local need must be demonstrated.

Alternatives

Proposals for new institutions should address at least the following alternatives:
  • the expansion of existing institutions within the region;
  • the increased utilization of existing institutions, particularly in the afternoons and evenings, and during the summer months;
  • the shared use of existing or new facilities and programs with other postsecondary education institutions, in the same or other public systems or independent institutions;
  • the use of nontraditional modes of instructional delivery such as television, computerized instruction, instruction over the Internet, and other "distributed education" modes and techniques; and
  • private fund raising or donations of land or facilities for the proposed new institution.
  • cost-benefit analysis of alternatives, including a consideration of alternative sites for the new institution, must be articulated and documented. This criterion may be satisfied by the Environmental Impact Report, provided it contains a comprehensive analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of alternative sites. Overall, the system proposing the new institution must demonstrate substantial analytical integrity with regard to the site selection process.
Where a four-year system, or a community college district, already owns or will have received as a donation the site on which a new institution is proposed to be located, and has not considered other sites, a strong justification for "sole-sourcing" the site in question must be included. Options to be discussed should include the sale of the site, with the resulting revenue used to purchase a better site, or an alternative delivery system such as a collaboration with another public or private institution or organization.

Academic Planning and Program Justification

For University educational centers, a preliminary description of the proposed academic degree programs must be included, along with a description of the center's proposed academic organization. The description must demonstrate conformity with such State goals as access, quality, intersegmental cooperation, and diversification of students, faculty, administration, and staff.

For a community college educational center, a preliminary description of the proposed academic degree and/or certificate programs must be included, together with a list of all course offerings, whether or not they are part of a degree or certificate track. A description of the center's academic/occupational organization must be included. These descriptions must demonstrate conformity with such State goals as access, quality, intersegmental cooperation, and diversification of students, faculty, administration, and staff.

Student Services and Outreach

The proposal for the new institution must include a description of the student services planned for the new campus including student financial aid, advising, counseling, testing, tutoring, educational opportunity programs, compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and outreach services to historically underrepresented groups.

Support and Capital Outlay Budget Projections

Proposals for educational centers must include a five-year capital outlay projection that includes the total Assigned Square Feet (ASF) anticipated to be required for each year of the projection period, with estimates of the average cost per ASF.

The proposal must include a five-year projection of anticipated support costs including administration, academic programs (including occupational/vocational as appropriate), academic support, and other standard expense elements. The number of Personnel Years (PY) should be indicated.

Geographic and Physical Accessibility

The proposal must include a plan for student, faculty, and staff transportation to the proposed campus and compliance with the American Disability Act. Reasonable commuting times must be demonstrated.

Plans for student and faculty housing, including projections of needed on-campus residential facilities should be included if appropriate.

Effects on Other Institutions

Other systems, institutions, and the community in which the new institution is to be located should be consulted during the planning process, especially at the time that alternatives to expansion are explored. Strong local, regional, and/or statewide interest in the proposed facility must be demonstrated by letters of support from responsible agencies, groups, and individuals.

The establishment of a new university center must take into consideration the impact of a new facility on existing and projected enrollments at neighboring institutions of its own and other systems.

The establishment of a new community college educational center must not reduce existing and projected enrollments in adjacent community colleges either within the district proposing the new community college, or in adjacent districts, to a level that will damage their economy of operation, or create excess enrollment capacity at these institutions, or lead to an unnecessary duplication of programs.

Environmental Impact

The proposal must include a copy of the Summary Draft or Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the site or the project. The system governing board shall provide the Commission with detailed sections of the Draft or Final EIR upon request.

Economic Efficiency

The Commission encourages economic efficiency and gives priority to new institutions where the State of California is relieved of all or part of the financial burden. When such proposals include gifts of land, construction costs, or equipment, a higher priority shall be granted to such projects than to projects where all costs are born by the State, assuming all other criteria listed above are satisfied. A similar priority shall be given to a new proposed center that engages in collaborative efforts with other segments to expand educational access in underserved regions of the State as determined by the Commission.

Upon receipt of a Needs Study, the Commission Executive Director shall certify to the system chief executive officer, in writing and within 60 days, that it is complete, or that it requires additional information. If it is incomplete, the Executive Director shall indicate the specific deficiencies involved. When the Executive Director has certified that all necessary materials for the Needs Study have been received, the Commission, within 6 months, will approve or disapprove the new institution.

Once the Commission has taken action on the proposal, its Executive Director will notify the systemwide executive officer, appropriate legislative committee chairs, the Department of Finance, and the Office of the Legislative Analyst.

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