Southwestern College-Chula Vista, CA

Learn what degree programs Southwestern College offers. Read about its academics, admission requirements, and financial aid to make an informed education decision.

About Southwestern College

Southwestern College (SWC) in Chula Vista, CA, is the only college out of California's 112 public community colleges to serve southern San Diego County. The 156-acre campus is located between San Diego and the U.S.-Mexican border and serves nearly 20,000 students each semester. In 2012 the Diverse Issues in Higher Education magazine ranked Southwestern College as one of the nation's top schools for conferring associate's degrees to minority students. Additionally, the school directly contributes about $74.8 million to the local economy through salaries and operational expenditures.


Southwestern College offers more than 320 associate's degree and certificate programs. The school provides a number of technical training programs, including emergency medical technology. Many of these programs can be completed in shorter time than associate's programs. For example, the Real Estate Certificate of Achievement program encompasses 31-33 units. Students seeking associate's degree programs can choose from areas of study like various sciences, foreign language, journalism, child development, dance, computer science, and psychology, among several others.

Southwestern College has Transfer Admission Guarantees (TAG) with eight four-year universities, including San Diego State University, National University, and six University of California campuses.

The requirements for each TAG vary for each university. For example, the University of California (UC) - Irvine will only admit transfer students who have completed their SWC curricula with overall GPAs of 3.0 or better, while the UC - San Diego campus only transfers credits in which the student earned a 2.8 or better.

SWC also offers non-credit continuing education classes. These courses are sponsored by the state and are tuition-free. Fee-based community service classes are also provided and taught by industry professionals.


Any high school graduate, GED-holder or adult who demonstrates he/she can benefit from a college education is eligible to apply to Southwestern College. Applications for the next semester can be submitted starting six weeks after a semester starts. Students fill out an online application and receive a registration appointment shortly thereafter. Applying for the continuing education classes requires a noncredit application, and a fee class registration form is necessary for the community service classes.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Students pay tuition according to their residency status and credit load. Resident students paid $46 per credit, and non-resident students paid $236 per credit as of Summer 2012. In the 2011-2012 school year, this resulted in estimated annual tuition of $1,052 for resident students and $6,372 for non-resident students. Additional fees may have included parking fees, student center fees, and health fees.

Among other things, the student activities card makes students eligible to apply for scholarships. The Southwestern College Foundation directly administers a handful of scholarships, including the Bravo Foundation scholarship for licensed vocational nursing students with a Latino background. The Transfer Center can also connect students with other scholarship opportunities, such as the 'Garden of Giving' series of scholarships directed toward students in math, engineering, and science majors.

School Type Two-year, public*
Degrees Offered Less-than-one-year certificate*
One but less-than-two-year certificate*
Associate's degree*
Religious Affiliation Not applicable*
Academic Calendar Semesters**
School Setting Large suburb*
Student Body 20,409 (all undergraduates) in 2011***
Student Housing Not available*
Programs More than 50 Associate of Arts, 80 Associate of Science and 100 certificate programs**
Student-Faculty Ratio 26 to 1 in 2011*
Most Popular Fields of Study by Degree Level (Number of Recipients) For 2010-2011:
Less-than-one-year certificate: Criminal Justice/Police Science (31)*
Associate's: Liberal Arts and Sciences/Liberal Studies (372) *
Undergraduate Graduation Rates 12% overall (students beginning Fall 2008)*
Admission Rate Open admissions*
Entering Class Size 3,425 in 2011***
First-Year Retention Rates 70% full-time and 43% part-time students (for students beginning Fall 2010 and returning Fall 2011)*
Tuition As of Summer 2012:
$46 per unit for resident students
$236 per unit for non-resident students**
Financial Aid Sources Available (Percent of Full-Time First-Year Students Receiving it) In 2010-2011:
-Federal grants (48%)
-State/local government grants or scholarships (71%)
-Institutional grants or scholarships (1%)
-Federal student loans (2%)*
Percent of Full-Time First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Aid 73% in 2010-2011*

Sources: *College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics, **Southwestern College, ***IPEDS Data Center, National Center for Education Statistics.

School Contact Info

  • Address: Office of Admissions, Southwestern College, 900 Otay Lakes Rd., Chula Vista, CA 91910
  • Phone: (619) 482-6550
  • Website:

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