UPDATE: As of March 2014, 31 of the original 32 students were still enrolled in the program and next year's class was being recruited. Read more here.

Innovative 3-year program to start fall 2013

Students will be able to earn bachelor’s degrees in computer science and information technology in three years through an innovative partnership program announced Dec. 13 by leaders of Hartnell College in Salinas, Cal State Monterey Bay and the Matsui Foundation.

Computer science student Leigh Anne Warner works in CSUMB's networking labStudents admitted to the program, called CSIT-in-3, will benefit from $3 million in student scholarship aid pledged by the Matsui Foundation over the first three years of the program.

Eduardo M. Ochoa, interim president of Cal State Monterey Bay, and Hartnell President Willard Lewallen praised the generosity of Andy Matsui, a long-time supporter of educational programs in the area.

The scholarship money is designed to allow students to attend classes full-time without having to work at outside jobs.

“The money is very important, “ Ochoa said. “Even more important is the faith that the scholarship signifies for students. That sense that they believe in us and we can do this is going to make all the difference.”

Lewallen pointed out that planning for the program began when different leaders were in place at each institution – Phoebe Knight Helm at Hartnell and Dianne Harrison at CSUMB.

 “There has been and continues to be the highest levels of cooperation between our institution. The collaboration between faculty members at both of our institutions has been like nothing I have seen during my academic career,” Lewallen said.

Both presidents pointed to the importance of the three-year duration of the program in allowing students to move more quickly into high-demand jobs in the workplace.

Ochoa said that the cohort-based approach, in which students will take courses with the same classmates throughout the duration of the program, and its plans for sustained student support are proven approaches to improving student outcomes.

“I intend to tout it (the CSIT-in-3 program) back in Washington as a best practice for other institutions to emulate,” said Ochoa, who previously served as an assistant secretary for postsecondary education in the Obama Administration.

Program organizers are reaching out to high school science and technology teachers from around the area to identify students to enroll in the first cohort, who would begin classes in the fall. Applications for the program will be accepted through April 8, or until the cohort is full.

The program is structured so that most classes would be at Hartnell for the first year-and-a-half of the program before shifting to Cal State Monterey Bay for the final year-and-a-half. In the second summer semester, students would work at internships.

More information about the program can be found at csumb.edu/csitin3.

Listen to a story on National Public Radio about the program