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Senate committee approves feasiblity study for a CSU in Antelope Valley

Posted: June 28, 2014 8:03 p.m.
Updated: June 28, 2014 7:44 p.m.

A bill calling for a comprehensive study into whether it would be feasible to establish a California State University campus in the Antelope Valley has received approval from a key Senate committee.

Members of the Senate Education Committee last week unanimously approved Assemblyman Steve Fox’s bill authorizing the study. Fox, D-Palmdale, said his proposal, AB 736, now will be considered by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

If ultimately approved and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, it will authorize officials to take a deep look at the potential impacts of a four-year state university in the Antelope Valley.

A growing tech industry in the Antelope Valley, and high graduation rates among local high school and community college students begs the need for a CSU campus to serve the region, Fox’s office said in a news release.

Although Antelope Valley students graduate “at a higher rate than the rest of their peers in California,” they fall behind the rest of the state when it comes to completing four-year and graduate degrees, the release said.

“Our region is home to many aerospace companies where engineers, computer experts and technicians are in high demand,” Fox said in the release. “Having a CSU in the Antelope Valley will allow us to educate and retain our people and fuel our local economy.”

Among other things, the study would look at enrollment projections over the next 10 years, regional work force needs, potential economic impacts tied to job creation in the region, the availability of infrastructure for a new campus and how an Antelope Valley campus might impact CSU-Bakersfield and CSU-Northridge, the two closest existing campuses.

Both campuses are about an hour and a half drive from the Antelope Valley, the bill’s language states.

The study also would analyze environmental and social impacts, as well as capital outlay projections.

“Non-state sources” would fund the study, although the bill doesn’t specify where the money would come from.

If signed by Brown, the study would be completed not more than 18 months after the bill becomes law.

Ultimately, Fox’s bill could pave the way first for a satellite campus, then for a full-fledged university in the Antelope Valley, the assemblyman’s news release said.


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