Advantages to Attending the IVUP Program in the Imperial Valley

BY NATALY VASQUEZ

The IVUP program stands for Imperial Valley University Partnership and it is collaboration between San Diego State Imperial Valley and Imperial Valley Office of Education, a partnership with Imperial Valley College and San Diego State University. Barbara Romero, who is the IVUP Admissions Coordinator, explains how the IVUP program works and its advantages of attending the program.

Students participate and attend both campuses, SDSU Imperial Valley and IVC for the first two years in the four year program. Students can apply through the website www.csuentor.edu however; there will be some changes this year for fall 2018 admissions. The starting date is always October 1st to November 30th for IVUP first time freshman. The new change will be through the website www2.calstate.edu/apply. The advantage of being in the pro
gram is that it is based on a cohort structure, meaning there is a lot of support for the students. Also, the students have the opportunity to work with the staff directly and there are counselors at both institutions specifically for IVUP students. “The idea is for the students to get out of Imperial Valley College within two years, some of them might finish in less time, depending if they carry more units or attend summer school,” says Barbara.

IVUP students have the advantage of having priority registration at SDSU and IVC, so that gives the students the benefit to get their classes earlier than regular students. The requirement to apply to the program is that the incoming freshmen need to have their A-G courses completed with a “C” or higher. They need to have taken their ACT or SAT exams and their GPA has to be a 2.0 or higher. However, the majority of the students who apply to the program have higher than a 2.0 since the program is becoming more competitive. If the student has a GPA lower than a 2.0, then their ACT or SAT scores have to obtain a higher score.

There are currently six majors available through the program which is: Criminal Justice, History, Liberal Studies, Psychology, Public Administration, and Spanish. The Spanish major, however, is exclusively for students that have an advance placement exam score in Spanish with a score of 3 or higher. Those students qualify for the Spanish major. The majority of the general education courses are taken at Imperial Valley College and the major preparations are taken at San Diego State Imperial Valley. For Liberal Studies majors, for example, the students can focus on a subject like math or English, but after their junior year of the program.

The first two years of the program are very crucial; therefore, Barbara guides the students during those two years. The staff and Barbara try their best to email the students at all times, they also contact them by phone, and call them for appointments. They check on the students regularly to see how they are doing academically and if they are in track with their schedule. Other staff members help the IVUP students like Clarissa Teran, who is the Administrative Assistant. There is also Jennifer Van Der Linden, who is the IVUP program counselor at IVC. Dolores Rivera is also an important role in the program because she helps the student with their class schedule for the first two years of the program. After their first two years, the students transition their academic status and see their advisor instead. After the student’s sophomore year, they enter the upper division classes.

Some students are required to attend summer school, it is called Summer Fast and it is a requirement for all Cal State schools. The students that are required to take summer school are those that do not get cleared for English or Math with their ACT, SAT, EPA, AP scores, or if they score low on their placement exam. Summer school is about six weeks long and the students attend for English, math, or both. However, some students only take one remedial class, it depends what subject they did poorly on. If the student has financial aid, they have the elective to take a general education class so that they can have their six units in order to receive financial aid during the summer. If the student fails to attend Summer Fast, they will not be able to attend school during the fall semester. Once they do start the IVUP program, students have the advantage of taking summer school their upcoming year at both institutions. They can also take classes during winter session, but only at IVC in order to get ahead and finish faster.

Anybody can apply to the IVUP program even if the student is from outside the Imperial Valley. However, students that apply outside the Valley are contacted and reassured that the IVUP program is not in San Diego, that way there is no confusion. If there is confusion, the student is redirected to the main campus. They have until November 30th to make the change because after that date, it could be too late to turn in the application to the main campus in San Diego.

Parents are also involved during the student’s first year of the program. It is important that the parents are involved in case they need to know information about the cost and how the program works. There is also orientation in the beginning of the fall semester for both parents and students. The orientations are so students and parents know how the campus works and there is different presentations regarding different career paths. There is also information about scholarships, which are promoted through the web page www.ivup.org and also promoted during career affair events at different local high schools. “We try to get out there and get the exposure because a lot of people still don’t know that we have a university here in the valley. Let alone something for freshmen, we are hoping later, we will offer more majors for the students such as Nursing, Science, or Business. Hopefully in the near future,” says Barbara.

College life in both campuses is very rewarding because IVUP students can participate in the clubs that are offered in both institutions. For example, they can start a club at SDSU as well as at IVC, they can also participate in both student governments, and there are study abroad opportunities offered at SDSU. There are students who have studied abroad to Europe, Brazil, New York, and many other parts of the world. A lot of the students that receive financial aid save their money in order to go study abroad.

The total cost of attending the IVUP program is about $1,704, but the students save about $9,000 compared to other universities in San Diego or Los Angeles. The fee the students pay at SDSU and IVC are separately, but about 70-80 percent of the students are on financial aid. The financial aid they receive at SDSU can cover their fees at IVC. At Imperial Valley College, students also receive aid through the Board of Governors Fee Waiver; the student would only pay $20 if they qualify for the waiver, which in most cases many students do qualify.

Barbara suggests that High School seniors consider the IVUP program as an option. “We are a four year institution, we have six majors, good quality education, opportunity to travel, and could save money.”