What you need to know: Skyline College

At Skyline College, students and faculty members tend to believe that being academically and professionally prepared for future success is no walk in the park.

This medium-sized educational institution, which is located between the coastline of Northern California and South San Francisco, was established in 1969, committed from the beginning to its goal of nurturing a global community of learners. Student activities held have been an integral aspect of how the school contributes to students’ intellectual development, sense of belonging and participation in community-related affairs.

Cherie Colin, the director of community relations and marketing for Skyline College, described the friendly environment and supportive attitudes of the individuals as being unique aspects of the Skyline campus. She described how faculty tend to go out of their way to help students out, because they care, and want to make sure success is within reach.


What you need to know: Student population
A Skyline College annual report from 2018-2019 communicated the importance of welcoming diversity and preserving equity in their curriculum.

According to the Skyline College Student Enrollment Dashboard, about 15,463 students have enrolled in the academic year 2019-2020. Colin had clarified that even though their campus is the smallest in the three-school district, it also boasts the largest population of students compared to College of San Mateo and Cañada College. The ethnic makeup of Skyline’s student body, according to the most recent fact sheet, are as follows: 2.7% are black or African American, 1.3% are Pacific Islander, 0.1% are American Indian/Alaska Native, 32.4% are Hispanic/Latinx, 18.7% are white, 17.8% are Asian, 16.3% are Filipino, 7.5% are multiracial, and the races of the remaining 3.3% are unreported.

A busy at the Skyline College The Learning Center pre-pandemic. (Skyline College Marketing, Communications and Public Relations)

The college also hosts over 60 different clubs and culture-based learning communities. Colin mentioned CIPHER, which is a hip hop-based learning community, and the Kababayan Learning Community, which incorporates Filipino-American culture into learning and building a community.
Other learning communities can be found at Skyline as well:

  • Umoja-ASTEP Learning Community focuses on African-American culture, identity, history and experience.
  • Puente Learning Community brings “Chicano/Latino literature and writings” together with academics and extracurricular activities.
  • The Proficiency in American Culture and English (PACE) aims to help non-native speakers of English improve their knowledge of the language and of American history.


What you need to know: College history
In fall 2019, Skyline College celebrated its 50th anniversary. Colin described the event as having consisted of many individual celebrations, noting how fun it all was for both students and staff. Furthermore, the newly-constructed Environmental Science Building was opened around the time of the anniversary.

Skyline College students falling in line to grab delicacies from Señior Sisig during the 50th Barbecue in fall 2019. (Skyline College Marketing, Communications and Public Relations)

Over the course of its history, Skyline College has found itself involved in numerous issues that has put it in hot water. These include concerns with paying tuition fees, dangers unfolding unexpectedly upon students, and loss of financial support for the campus, among others.

As far as student activism has gone, there has been a conflict due to the college being in violation of the “50% law”. Students, professors and certain organizations used their voices to speak up for the part-time professors who are burdened with an overwhelming amount of time teaching and performing other tasks, outweighing the compensation and benefits they received. On March 4, 2010, 200 students from Skyline College took part in a statewide protest against budget cuts, seeing as how they were a threat to affordable education, and would not have been a proper solution to solve problems in a falling economy.


What you need to know: Academic programs and student fees

Skyline College is well-known for its programs in respiratory care and allied health. The college is also held in high regard for its automotive program and cosmetology program. An article from Patch.com written in 2015, revealed that Skyline College had been approved to be one of the community colleges throughout California to offer a four-year bachelor’s degree. The respiratory care program offers this opportunity.

Colin described how affordable the enrollment is at Skyline College. California residents pay $46 per unit. “That’s really about a third of the cost of a university,” she said. “So you’re saving a lot of money by going to Skyline College for your first two years.”

Colin mentioned how Skyline alum David Canepa, who is the president of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, had provided support to the community colleges in the district. “He loves the college so much,” Colin said. “In fact, we were able to secure $2 million for the District Promise Program from the County of San Mateo, thanks to David’s leadership.”


What’s next for Skyline College?

Skyline College Marketing, Communications and Public Relations

Skyline College continues to stay committed to preparing its students to accomplish long-term goals through educational and social fulfillment. The standards live up to being one of the recommended two-year colleges in the state, guiding dedicated individuals towards transfer to a university.

Just recently, San Mateo County has awarded the college district a $2 million grant to fund the Promise Scholars Program, which allows certain students to study for free.

Colin shared her advice for students concerning asking questions and seeking help at the college.

“We’re your team, and we’re here to help and cheer you on,” she said. “Always ask for help — There’s usually a resource out there for you. And also, don’t be afraid to voice your opinion. There’s a lot of opportunities to be part of the community and learn how to be an active participant.”

To Skyline College, the key to success and showing the world what the individual is intellectually and sustainably capable of begins with the foundation of building connections with peers, and putting passion into what is being learned.