Grossmont College is a public, associate degree granting institution, located in El Cajon, California. Part of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District (GCCCD), it is one of two colleges operating therein. Founded in 1961, the college has educated diverse students from the district and the surrounding region, in keeping with its vision of offering educational excellence for a productive citizenry. The college mission is to provide learning opportunities that are accessible by all, promote student success, support harmonious campus and community relationships, secure high quality staff, and promote standards of accountability. Offering both college transfer and vocational programs, the institution has served more than 15,000 students each semester since 1974. Enrollment peaked in Fall 2002 with a student body of 18,241, prior to statewide funding reductions for community colleges.
Geographic area and population characteristics: The GCCCD is situated in Eastern San Diego County, California. It includes four major incorporated communities, El Cajon, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, and Santee, and several unincorporated population centers adjacent to them, as well as scattered rural communities. Among these population centers are three of the largest of the 21 Native American Reservations in San Diego County. The population of the District in 2000 was 567,102, 19% of that of the entire county. Several freeways serve this population, including a major East-West Interstate Highway, I-8. The southern boundary of the District is also the international boundary with Mexico, comprising about 40 miles of sparsely populated, wilderness and mountainous territory.
The population of the District includes significant numbers of people of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. According to the 2000 Census, populations in the four incorporated communities totaled 227,511, while that of the San Diego County totaled 2,911,468. While the populations in the four communities were dominated by older whites, those under 18 years of age were predominately of Hispanic, Black, American Indian, Asian, Hawaiian and Pacific Islander, or other composition; these same trends were apparent in San Diego County. Within the District’s diverse populations, there were many whose first language was not American English. The median ages in the four communities ranged from 32 – 37, while that of the County was 33.7. Population growth in the four communities ranged between 0% to 7%, while the entire region experienced a growth rate of 13%, during the previous decade.
Educational attainment of the populations in the four communities who were 25 or older in 2000, revealed a range of 79% - 89% in those who had completed high school or more and 15% - 28% who had completed the baccalaureate. The region’s population attained high school diplomas or more at the 83% level, while 30% had earned bachelor’s degrees.
Projections for population growth between 2000 and 2030, range from 10% to 74% in the four communities, and 36% in the region. Projected increases in housing units in the four communities will not keep pace with projected population growth, since anticipated housing unit growth between 2000 and 2030 ranges only from 4% to 24%, following vacancy rates of 2 – 3% in 2000; the same is true of the region, which has projections for the same period of population growth of 38% and housing unit additions of 33%. In the four communities in 2000, owner occupancy rates of housing units ranged from 41% to 71%, with the populations having median household incomes, ranging from $35,566 to $53,624;the District’s median household income was $44,266. By contrast, in San Diego County, owner occupancy rates of housing units were 55%, and the median household income was $210,801. (All data available at SANDAG: San Diego’s Regional Planning Agency http://www.sandag.org)
In summary, the trends for the District include expanding populations of greater youth and diversity, with lesser levels of education than the county as a whole, living in more crowded housing, and having less capacity to own housing, because of lower levels of income than that earned by households in the county as a whole.