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Facilities Review

Joint-Use Educational Centers

Demographic changes, economic conditions, educational reforms, and progress in preparing students for postsecondary education are all factors that are converging to produce substantial increases in demand for higher education in California. Between 1998 and 2010, this demand generally referred to as "Tidal Wave II" is estimated to result in an increase of more than 714,000 students seeking enrollment at all levels of public higher education. The Commission, in its recent report, Providing for Progress: California Higher Education Enrollment Demand and Resources in the 21st Century (CPEC 001), estimated that California would need to spend $1.5 billion annually over the next 10 to 12 years for the existing physical plant and enrollment growth.

The Commission recognizes that this spending plan is a challenge, particularly in an era of state budget reductions. The explosive growth in demand for higher education and limited budgets are straining California's system of public higher education. These pressures present an opportunity for the State's higher education segments to encourage and implement cooperative, intersegmental approaches to providing access to higher education.

Joint-use educational centers are a viable policy alternative for accommodating enrollment growth with limited resources. As far back as 1990, the Commission, in its long-range planning report Higher Education at the Crossroads: Planning for the Twenty-First Century (CPEC 901) strongly encouraged the development of collaborative, joint-use facilities in meeting the educational needs of California's diverse populations.

The educational needs of students should serve as the overall goal in establishing joint-use centers. The Commission therefore supports the following goals:

  • Promote a seamless system of higher education services: Sharing facilities between two or more segments could substantially ease the flow of students from one segment to another, potentially increasing transfer rates.
  • Expand access to higher education in underserved or fast-growth regions of the state: Joint-use educational centers increase opportunities for a university education to be available to place-bound students who are often from historically underrepresented socioeconomic groups. With this principle in mind, the Commission acknowledges that existing State-supported community college off-campus centers provide a significant opportunity for collaborative ventures with public and independent universities to expand university programs throughout California.
  • Improve regional economic development opportunities: The Commission recognizes the nexus between access to a university education and a region's economic development. Joint-use educational centers can advance this linkage.
  • Encourage capital outlay cost savings to participating segments: By encouraging the pooling of capital outlay resources between two or more education segments, joint-use educational centers can contain State capital outlay costs. These potential cost savings will stretch scarce state capital outlay funds.
  • Advance the efficient utilization of physical facilities: Joint-use facilities have the potential to achieve higher levels of utilization than single purpose facilities. A jointly used classroom can yield utilization efficiencies by providing access throughout the day to both full-time and part-time students.
  • Expand the variety of academic programs offered in a single location: Joint-use educational centers that include community colleges and universities increase the depth and breadth of the academic programs offered in a single location. This benefits both the educational needs of the students and the labor market needs of regional economies.

Joint-use Educational Centers Subject to Review by the Commission:

Joint-use Educational centers subject to the review and approval of the Commission are those that:
  • Meet the definitional requirements of a joint-use center specified on page 6 and 7 of the guidelines; and
  • Advance one or more goals articulated in the Preamble; and
  • Have the support of the participating systems.

Preliminary Notice

A Preliminary Notice must be submitted at such time as a public higher education segment, including a community college district, engages with another education institution to establish a joint-use center. The governing board of the system or district or the president, chancellor, or district superintendent participating in the collaborative shall forward the Preliminary Notice to the Commission, with copies to the Office of the Legislative Analyst and Department of Finance. This notice shall:
  • Identify the participating educational institutions;
  • Indicate the general location of the proposed collaborative facility;
  • Provide the actual and estimated enrollment size of the collaborative facility over the next five years of operation;
  • Provide the estimated total state capital outlay funds required for the development of the collaborative facility; and
  • Include a copy of the agenda item discussed by the local district or statewide governing board, if any, with action taken by the governing body.
  • A Preliminary Notice shall represent only an informational process, and will not require formal consideration or approval by the Commission.
  • The Commission Executive Director shall respond to the chief executive officers, in writing, following the submission of the Preliminary Notice. If the preliminary plan appears reasonable, the Commission's Executive Director shall advise the chief executive officers of the systems and institutions to move forward with development plans and the submission of a formal proposal. If the Commission Executive Director is unable to approve the Preliminary Notice as submitted, he or she shall indicate to the chief executive officers the specific reasons why the Preliminary Notice is incomplete.

Letter of Intent

Not less than two years prior to the time the first capital outlay appropriation would be needed for the proposed joint-use educational centers, the appropriate governing boards 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. Proposals for joint-use educational centers involving one or more California community colleges must also be submitted to the California Community College Chancellor's Office for review.

A Letter of Intent to seek approval for joint-use should contain the following information:

  • A brief overview of the need for and goals of the proposed joint-use educational center, including a description of the nature of the collaboration between the educational segments involved in the partnership.
  • An enrollment history and a preliminary five-year enrollment projection (headcount and FTES) for the proposed joint-use educational center (from the projected opening date), developed by the systemwide central office, including an itemization of all lower division, upper division and graduate enrollments. The systemwide central office may seek the advice of the Demographic Research Unit (DRU) in developing the projection, but DRU approval is not required at this stage.
  • The geographic location of the proposed joint-use educational center in terms as specific as possible.
  • A brief description of each alternative site under consideration, if appropriate.
  • Maps of the area in which the proposed joint-use educational center is located or is to be located, indicating population densities, topography, and road and highway configurations and access.
  • A time schedule for the development of the new joint-use educational centers, including preliminary dates and enrollment levels at the early, 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 resolutions by the appropriate governing boards authorizing the proposed institution.
The Commission Executive Director shall respond to the chief executive officers, 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 systemwide chief executive officers to move forward with site acquisition, if appropriate, 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 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 prior to notifying the Department of Finance and the Legislative Analyst.

Joint-use Educational Center Proposal

A Proposal for the establishment of a joint use educational center should contain the following information:

General description and overview

This section should include: a general description of the collaborative, 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 charts, tables, or other displays is encouraged.

Enrollment projections

Enrollment projections must be sufficient to justify the establishment of the joint-use educational center. Enrollment projections for the first ten years of operation (from opening date) must be provided. A description of the methodologies used in the allocation of Full Time Equivalent Students (FTES) between the participating systems must be included

The Demographic Research Unit (DRU) of the Department of Finance must approve the enrollment projections. As the designated demographic agency for the State, the DRU has the statutory responsibility for preparing systemwide enrollment projections. Upon request, the DRU shall provide the system with advice and instructions on the preparation of enrollment projections.

Undergraduate enrollment projections for the proposed institution shall be presented in terms of FallTerm 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 systemwide central office proposing the new institution. The system wide central office participating in the joint use center shall prepare graduate and professional student enrollment projections. 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.

Enrollments projected for the proposed joint-use center should exceed the planned enrollment capacity of the participating public institutions participating in the collaboration. If the enrollment projection does not exceed the planned enrollment capacity for the parent institutions, compelling regional needs for the proposed institution must be demonstrated.

For a new community college joint-use center, enrollments projected for the district proposing the joint use center 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.


Proposals for new joint-use educational centers should address at least the following alternatives:

The feasibility of establishing an educational center instead of a joint-use educational center;

  • 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 use of non-traditional 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.
A cost-benefit analysis of alternatives, including a consideration of alternative sites for the joint-use, must be articulated and documented. This criterion may be satisfied by the Environmental Impact Report (EIR), provided it contains a comprehensive analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of alternative sites. Overall, the system proposing the joint use center 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 joint-use 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

A description of the proposed academic degree programs must be included, along with a description of the joint-use educational center's proposed academic organization and the nature of the articulation, including administrative relationships, between the participating postsecondary education institutions. The description must demonstrate congruence with the Commission's academic program review guidelines and with such State goals as access, quality, intersegmental cooperation, and diversification of students, faculty, administration, and staff.

If the academic plan includes the offering of certificate programs, provide a preliminary description of such programs, 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

A description of the student services planned for the new joint-use educational center 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

Provide 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.

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.

Provide a statement of agreement between the institutions concerning which institution will submit the capital request if an independent state fund source is not defined.

Geographic and Physical Accessibility

The proposal must include a plan for student, faculty, and staff transportation to the proposed campus or existing site. 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 joint-use educational center 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 joint-use 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 joint-use 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 statewide governing board shall provide the Commission with detailed sections of the Draft or Final EIR upon request.

Economic Efficiency

Since it is in the best interests of the State to The Commission encourages maximum economy of operation, priority shall be given to proposals for new joint-use centers 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 borne by the State, assuming all other criteria listed above are satisfied.

Collaborative Arrangements

The intersegmental nature of joint-use educational centers requires that each segment clearly articulate the respective responsibilities of each participating segment, including but not limited to:
  • The participating institution, state agency, or other entity that will own the joint-use facility and, if appropriate, which participating system(s) will lease the facilities;
  • The participating public system of higher education that will exercise operational control and responsibility of the facilities, including such responsibilities as building and grounds maintenance;
  • The financial arrangements between the participating segments for the development and operation of the joint-use facility. Arrangements describing the establishment and collection of student fees must be discussed.
  • The nature of curricular cooperation and faculty responsibilities between the participating institutions; and
  • The nature of cooperative arrangements to provide academic support services and student services to all students attending the proposed collaborative facility.

Proposal Review

The Executive Director of the Commission shall respond to the chief executive officers of the segments and institutions (with copies to the Office of the Legislative Analyst and Department of Finance), in writing and within 60 days, and shall comment on the reasonableness of the proposal. The Executive Director may, in this process, raise concerns about the limitations of the proposal and request additional information. When the Commission Executive Director certifies that all necessary materials for the proposal are complete, the Commission will have six months to take final action.

Commission Notification

After the Commission takes final action on the proposal, its Executive Director will notify the chief executive officers of the participating institutions and segments, appropriate legislative committee chairs, the Department of Finance, and the Office of the Legislative Analyst.

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