Coalition of community leaders join “Priority One Coachella Valley” as a new campaign launches to support a CSU campus and promote education equity

In the fast-growing Coachella Valley, it’s more important than ever to provide more higher education opportunities to its diverse population. That is why Priority One Coachella Valley is launching a new campaign to highlight the needs and opportunities that a new independent California State University (CSU) campus can address.

The campaign includes a new website & social media pages where community members and stakeholders can learn more about the benefits of bringing the campus to the City of Palm Desert and show their support by signing their petition. 

Priority One Coachella Valley is designed to provide strategic planning and implementation of initiatives to secure a 4- year stand-alone CSU campus in Palm Desert.

“Close access to a four- year university becomes the equalizer for students of low social economic means to transform their lives and the lives of their family members,” Coachella Mayor Steve Hernandez told Uken Report.

According to Priority One,  one-time impacts of a CSU campus would include:

  •  $710 Million in total project costs
  •  $1,016 Million total economic impact
  •  8,380 Jobs
  •  $100 Million in tax impact

Annual Impacts would include:

  •  $189 Million in off-campus spending & operational expenditures
  •  $289 Million total economic impact
  •  2,635 jobs created
  •  $88 Job income impact
  •  $26 Million tax impact

“The Coachella Valley is rich in many things but a four-year college is not one of them. Access to higher education is a big challenge for our communities. We welcome the community-based effort to help bring a four-year university here.”  Assemblymember Chad Mayes, I-Yucca Valley, said in a prepared statement.

In addition to the campaign, Priority One Coachella Valley has announced a new Advisory Committee (see list here) comprised of key business, political and community leaders who are putting their support behind the efforts for Palm Desert to be named the next home of a CSU campus. The campaign and advisory committee are both key steps in showing the decision makers in Sacramento all the passion and enthusiasm behind the proposed project.

“Access to a quality four-year university is necessary to meet the growing needs of our region and help our residents to fulfill their dreams,” Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella, said in a prepared statement. “We must continue our strides to rectify the higher education disparities in our community and expand these critical educational and economic opportunities.”

Why Coachella Valley?

Proponents maintain that:

  • Coachella Valley offers the California State University system access to a growing diverse population that currently is underserved by higher education options within the region.
  • The Coachella Valley has the highest share of historically underrepresented minorities and is the only site to rank significantly higher than the statewide average.
  • Palm Desert is shovel-ready—Palm Desert already has 168 acres within its campus boundary that is available for a potential campus and the master plan was already environmentally cleared through a 2017 programmatic level FEIR.
  • The Coachella Valley’s population has the second lowest share of population with an associate degree or higher which indicates the potential for the site to serve a large population of first-generation college students.
  • One of the lowest median household incomes of the evaluated locations.
  • The agriculture and energy industries in the area must import skilled workers so there are many opportunities for job placement and potential for an industry partnership.

“A four-year independent California State University in the Coachella Valley would open up the door to so many opportunities for me and other local residents,” said Monserrath Zamora, a Senior at Coachella Valley High School. “My top choice for college has always been California State University Northridge, but the university is too far from the Coachella Valley and I prefer to remain local. I wish the Coachella Valley had a university that offered a real college experience with sports, sororities and fraternities, and a full array of courses.”

Currently, the California State University San Bernardino Palm Desert satellite campus is the only public four-year university presence in the region, and its capacity and range of degrees are limited. The CSUSB- PDC satellite campus is located 72 miles from the main CSU San Bernardino campus, 94 miles from Cal Poly Pomona, and 63 miles from UC Riverside. Additionally, the Coachella Valley does not have a comprehensive private university such as the University of the Pacific in Stockton or University of Redlands. That is why Priority One Coachella Valley believes now is the time and Palm Desert is the place for the next CSU expansion.

Image Sources

  • Graduates: Facebook