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A Tale of Two City Institutions

A Conversation About the Impact of CSULB and LBCC with Ginny Baxter

By John Grossi

What is the impact of having two institutes of higher learning right here in East Long Beach?


In 2019, California State University Long Beach (CSULB) received 69,578 applicants for undergraduate studies alone. Which means that “little old Long Beach State College,” built in 1949 on uninhabited dirt fields out in East Long Beach, is now one of the top ten most desirable destinations for high school graduates across the nation.

CSULB brings people, talent, jobs, diversity, and expertise to our city in the way only a major university can. But that’s only half the story. Our town has not one, but two thriving colleges working seamlessly together to serve our community in a pioneering, forward-thinking way.

“I don’t think there’s another community college and university working together this closely anywhere,” says Long Beach City College (LBCC) Board of Trustee Area 5 elect, Ginny Baxter.

Baxter has served a lifetime at LBCC as teacher, administrator, Foundation Director, and now an elected Board Member. She says the two colleges have always had an extraordinary relationship in working together, in part because they serve needs that complement each other so well.

While CSULB continues to grow its prestige in competitive majors like engineering, math, science, and more, LBCC remains committed to its closer Long Beach community and most of all preparing residents to enter the workforce, change careers, or have a competitive advantage to attend CSULB right here in their hometown.

Due to a long-running partnership called the Long Beach College Promise, Long Beach Unified School District students are guaranteed admission to LBCC upon graduating high school. They are even eligible for a free year of tuition! Furthermore, as long as they stick to certain guidelines, they are granted priority admission to CSULB after completing two years at LBCC.

For families, this promise creates an invaluable sense of security in knowing their children are guaranteed a path to higher education so long as they dedicate themselves and apply the effort needed to complete the required coursework.

That’s not the only reason these colleges make a big impact in Long Beach. Each school provides a convenient place for Ginny Baxter LBCC Board of Trustee Area 5 Elect residents to gain top-notch education in a convenient way. LBCC in particular is set up as our city’s hometown college ready to serve students of all ages and interests.

“At our school [LBCC] you can take classes no matter what age you are. Our offerings are data-driven and provide training for real careers that need employees now. Residents can pivot careers in a quick and affordable fashion utilizing their community college,” says Baxter.

You can enroll in any unit at LBCC for a fee of $46 or less. The college offers both “curriculum

classes,” which count toward a traditional degree; and “community service” classes, which offer residents a chance to broaden their horizons in valuable industries including everything from drone operation to logistics and goods movement. Their computer training classes are especially popular among older adults!

The latest news at LBCC is all about the $30 million donation just received from philanthropist

Mackenzie Scott. This award was given in recognition of LBCC’s leadership and transformative work in responding to its changing demographics, closing equity gaps, and work in racial justice.

With global recognition, ample funding, and meaningful research and work being done at both CSULB and LBCC, the question isn’t “What impact do they have?” but rather, “If these institutions have not yet been a part of your life, well, why not?”



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