A Southwestern College delegation met with representatives from UABC at the university's Tijuana campus.
A Southwestern College delegation meets with representatives from UABC at the university’s Tijuana campus for a ceremonial signing to certify their partnership.

Southwestern College sent a delegation to visit Universidad Autónoma de Baja California’s (UABC) Tijuana campus on Thursday afternoon to sign a historic memorandum of understanding. The signing certified the collaboration and academic partnership between the two institutions of higher education. 

The partnership between both institutions will create academic opportunities for the region’s students, study abroad programs, and help support diversity and equity efforts at both institutions. The partnership will allow cohorts of low-income UABC students to attend Southwestern College and pay California in-state tuition rates. 

Superintendent/President Dr. Mark Sanchez called the historic partnership an incredible way to contribute to the academic, cultural, social and workforce development of the San Diego-Tijuana region.

“I believe this is the beginning of an amazing collaboration that will be a benefit to our binational communities,” Sanchez said. “This is significant in that our binational region represents a $250 billion dollar economy. Future jobs will require specialized skills usually obtained through a degree, certificate or credential. Therefore, for us to work together to educate our communities is critically important.”

Southwestern College’s delegation was welcomed by administrators from UABC and representatives from the City of Tijuana as well as UABC faculty, staff and students. Maestra Edith Montiel Ayala, vice president of UABC Tijuana, said the partnership with Southwestern College will allow both institutions to work together to create new opportunities for the region’s students.

Dr. Joel Pilco, director of binational and international programs, worked closely with UABC and its administrators to develop the partnership and visit and said it is a step forward to cultivating closer relations with our neighboring institutions along the border region. 

“This partnership expands our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in international education programs,” said Dr. Pilco “Southwestern College will work to create programs that link colleges and universities from both sides of the border, share knowledge, and build a workforce ready to meet the future’s demand.”

Southwestern College has been renewing its commitment to working with universities in Mexico, especially in the border region. Local economic reports indicate that the San Diego-Tijuana border region needs more investment in educational programs and opportunities for underserved students in California and Baja California.