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History & Fact Sheet

Palomar College - Today and Tomorrow

Palomar College is a comprehensive community college that was established in 1946 in the wake of the GI Bill to serve Escondido, Fallbrook, and Vista. Today its service area has grown to thirteen communities and six American Indian reservations and encompasses 2,555 square miles with an estimated population of nearly one million people.  The College’s main campus is in San Marcos with an additional eight off-campus centers in Fallbrook, Camp Pendleton, Escondido, Pauma Valley, Borrego Springs, Ramona, Poway, and Rancho Penasquitos.

The college is governed by a five-member, locally elected board and a student trustee. Enrollment reached a peak in fall 2002 with a combined credit and non-credit program headcount of more than 32,000. Palomar College has maintained this 30,000+-student population stablished.  The College projects that expanded classrooms on the main campus, the addition of a Fallbrook campus and renovation of the Escondido Center will increase the student population to nearly 50,000 in the next ten years.

Through the years Palomar College has maintained a reputation of excellence in community college education.  One of the oldest community colleges in the California State Community College System, Palomar has excelled in the arts, humanities, liberal arts, mathematics, sciences, communications and transfer education.  The College also plays a dynamic roll in workforce development with a comprehensive curriculum in vocational education, which sends hundreds of skilled employees into the community each semester.

In the past fifteen years, the college’s student population has begun to mirror the demographic changes of its surrounding service areas. For instance there has been a dramatic increase in Hispanic enrollments from 10% in 1985 to over 25% of the total student enrollment today.

It is estimated that as many as 50% of the population in Palomar’s service area have some connection with the military.  As a continued reflection of the demographics in our territory we anticipate a dramatic increase in veterans returning to college as military personnel return from their Middle East deployment.  Veterans returning from the Vietnam conflict grew to 28% of the student body during the mid 1970s.
Palomar's Military Connection

Because so many men and women enlist directly after high school, or soon thereafter, ninety percent of enlisted personnel do not have a bachelor’s degree or higher.  375,000 troops are separating from the military each year to resume their civilian lives.   While many potential employers value their service, we are simply not equipping our veterans with the education they need to fairly compete in today’s competitive job-placement environment.

While the G.I. Bill still provides some financial assistance, and stands as a landmark pledge to those who serve our nation, it falls short of its promise because of the rising cost of higher education. 

Palomar Community College District | 1140 W. Mission Road, San Marcos, CA 92069 | Tel. 760-744-1150
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