Accreditation comes to Norco, Moreno Valley

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By Dean Mayorga / Staff Writer

A new future- The Norco Campus’s library is just one of many services that will establish itself as a separate entity with the college’s accreditation. (RCCD Public Affairs)

By Dean Mayorga / Staff Writer

For students feeling pressure from rising enrollment fees or growing class sizes, hope was seen March 1 as the Moreno Valley and Norco campuses were officially recognized by the Board of Governors.

The accreditation of both colleges is very important for the Riverside Community College District. It comes in a time where trying economic situations of the state have greatly influenced how learning institutions operate.

The benefits of accreditation include, among other things, economic relief.

“There are two areas that will receive additional funding,” said Moreno Valley President Monte Perez. “The first is base budget or base allocation.”

An estimated $1.4 million will be available for the Moreno Valley campus. This funding can go into projects such as new facilities.

Along with the base budget, direct funding will also be affected. Direct funding includes state programs, Extended Opportunity Programs and Services, as well as aide to disadvantaged students.

It is projected that no revenue will come sooner than July 1.

Accreditation will make other visible changes in student life.

Diplomas will now bear the name of the specific campus the student attended. This does not, however, mean that a student cannot take classes freely between campuses.

“One of the core principles (of RCCD) was to maintain a common curriculum. A student can take an English 1A class at any of the campuses,” said Jim Parsons, associate vice chancellor of RCCD Public Affairs and Institutional Advancement.

A common curriculum includes the general education courses required for transfer. Specialized courses, such as health or engineering, will remain available solely at the campus that offers them.

“This accreditation status provides students…easier transfer of satisfactorily completed credits when those credits are appropriate to the receiving institutions, and the opportunity to access federal financial aid,” Norco President Brenda Davis said.

The effort and time it took for both campuses to become the 111th and 112th Community Colleges in California proved to be a great task.

Accreditation can be viewed as a three step process of eligibility, candidacy and initial accreditation.

Moreno Valley, for example, became eligible in 2000, but didn’t reach candidacy until 2007.

The long wait added to the ultimate satisfaction of the achievement.

“I was absolutely elated. It was the result of a lot of work from everybody including the students,” Perez said.

With this new status comes the responsibility of maintaining that status. Both campuses must now adhere to the standards of the Accrediting Commission and the State Chancellor’s Office.

The new standards lead to new goals after accreditation.

“The next goal is just to organize the campus to fully serve students so that they become more successful,” Perez said.

Both campuses can continue providing classes to their students and receive funding from the state.

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