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Facilities Review

New University or Community College Campuses

The process for each public higher education system to establish a new university or community college campus, 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 community college or university campus, the governing board of the system or district shall forward to the Commission a Preliminary Notice of the planning activities. This Preliminary Notice shall indicate:
  • The general location of the proposed new institution,
  • The type of institution under consideration and the estimated timeframe for its development,
  • The estimated enrollment of the institution at its opening and within five years of operation,
  • A tentative five-year capital outlay plan, and
  • A copy of the agenda item wherein the new site is discussed by the local district (California Community College) or statewide governing board (University of California or California State University), if any.
A Preliminary Notice represents an informational process, and does not require formal consideration or approval by the Commission.

Letter of Intent

New University of California or State University Campuses

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

A complete Letter of Intent for a new university campus must contain the following information:

  • A preliminary 10-year enrollment projection (headcount and FTES) for the new university campus (from the campus's opening date), developed by the systemwide central office. 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 campus in terms as specific as possible. A brief description of each site under consideration should be included.
  • The identification of neighboring public and independent institutions in the area in which the proposed university campus is to be located.
  • Maps of the area in which the proposed university campus is to be located, indicating population densities, topography, road and highway configurations, airports and any other features of interest.
  • A time schedule for development of the campus, including preliminary dates and enrollment levels at the opening, intermediate, and final build out stages.
  • A tentative five-year capital outlay budget beginning with the date of the first capital outlay appropriation.
  • A copy of the resolution by the Regents or the Trustees authorizing the new campus.
The Executive Director of the Commission shall respond to the chief executive officer, in writing, no later than 60 days following submission of a complete Letter of Intent to the Commission. The Executive Director may raise concerns about shortcomings or limitations in the Letter of Intent that need to be addressed in the planning process. If the plans appear to be reasonable, the Commission's Executive Director will advise the systemwide chief executive officer to proceed with development plans.

New California Community Colleges:

A Letter of Intent provides an overview of the district plans regarding a new community college and explains, in general terms, how the facility's programs and services relate to other approved locations in the district. Not less than two years before it expects its first capital outlay appropriation for a new community college, the community college district should submit a Letter of Intent meeting the requirements below, to the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges (with copies to the Commission, Department of Finance, the Demographic Research Unit, and the Office of the Legislative Analyst). 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. The Commission will not act on a Letter of Intent submitted by a local community college district prior to its approval by the Board of Governors or the Chancellor of the California Community Colleges.

A Letter of Intent for a new community college must contain the following information:

  • A preliminary 10-year enrollment projection of enrollment headcount and FTES attendance for the new community college (from the college's opening date), developed by the district and/or the Chancellor's Office. The district and/or the Chancellor's Office is encouraged to 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 new community college in terms as specific as possible. A brief description of each site under consideration should be included.
  • The identification of neighboring public and independent institutions in the area in which the proposed community college is to be located.
  • Maps of the area in which the proposed new community college is to be located, indicating population densities, topography, road and highway configurations, airports, and any other features of interest.
  • A time schedule for development of the new community college, including preliminary dates and enrollment levels at the opening, intermediate, and final build out stages.
  • A copy of the district's most recent five-year capital construction plan.
  • A tentative five-year capital outlay budget starting on the date of the first capital outlay appropriation (State and local).
  • A copy of the resolution by the district governing board authorizing the new community college.
The Commission Executive Director shall respond to the Chancellor, in writing, no later than 60 days following submission of the completed Letter of Intent to the Commission. 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 plans appear to be reasonable, the Commission's Executive Director will advise the Chancellor that the district should move forward with further development plans.

Needs Study

The purpose of a Needs Study is to demonstrate need for the proposed college or university campus at the location identified. A Needs Study is considered complete only when it fully addresses each of the criteria listed below.

General Description and Overview

An opening section that includes: 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 new campus. 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 systemwide central office of one of the public systems or by the community college district 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 and attendance projections for a new institution shall be presented in terms of Fall-Term headcount and Full-Time Equivalent Students (FTES). Enrollment projections for California Community Colleges should also include Weekly Student Contact Hours (WSCH) and WSCH per headcount student.

A discussion of the extent to which, in quantitative terms, the proposed campus will increase systemwide or district capacity and help meet statewide and regional enrollment demand.

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 campus, 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 needs for the establishment of the new university campus must be demonstrated.

For a new California State University campus, 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 must be demonstrated.

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

Alternatives

Proposals for new institutions should address at least the following:
  • the impact of not establishing a new campus;
  • the possibility of establishing an educational center instead of a university or college campus;
  • 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 instructional delivery modes such as television, computerized instruction, instruction over the Internet, and other "distributed education" modes and techniques; and
  • financing the institution through private fund raising or donations of land or facilities.
A cost-benefit analysis of alternative sites, 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 proposal 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 a donated 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

The proposal must include a preliminary description of the proposed academic degree programs, along with a description of the proposed academic organizational structure. This description must demonstrate conformity with the Commission's academic program review guidelines and with such State goals as access, quality, intersegmental cooperation, and the diversification of students, faculty, administration, and staff.

The Needs Study must show evidence of a process leading to full institutional accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and provide an estimated timeline for attaining accreditation by WASC within a reasonable period of time following the opening of the campus.

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 and how these programs will be sustained over time.

Support and Capital Outlay Budget Projections

The proposal must include a 10-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.

Geographic and Physical Accessibility

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

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

Effects on Other Institutions

The proposal must provide evidence that other systems, institutions, and the community in which the new institution is to be located were consulted during the planning process, especially at the time that alternatives to expansion were 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 proposal must identify the potential impact of the new facility on existing and projected enrollments in neighboring institutions of its own and other systems.

The establishment of a new community college 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 show evidence that the system or district is engaged in a process leading to an Environmental Impact Report (EIR), pursuant to Section 21080.09 of the Public Resources Code. The proposal must include a discussion of any potentially significant environmental effects of the proposed campus. The proposal must include a discussion of the seismic and safety conditions of the site and the site-specific and cumulative impacts of full build-out of the proposed campus. Upon request, the system governing board shall provide the Postsecondary Education Commission with detailed sections of the Draft or Final EIR.

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 collaborative efforts in underserved regional areas of the State as determined by the Commission.

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 further input, elaboration, or adjustment. If it is incomplete, the Commission Executive Director shall indicate the specific deficiencies involved. When the Commission Executive Director has certified that all necessary materials for the Needs Study have been received, the Commission has 12 months to take final action to approve or disapprove the new institution.

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

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