Doug Ernst

Napa Valley Register columnist Doug Ernst.

When thousands of people come together to support education, the community benefits.

That’s what happened two weeks ago when an estimated 3,500 people attended the 75th anniversary of the founding of Napa Valley College.

In a perfect world, NVC would be a source of academic advancement and job training for every family in our community, but the truth is, that kind of opportunity is being enjoyed only by those who get to know the college and enroll in classes.

At an annual breakfast the college hosted for high school counselors on April 19, I learned more about how the college helps local families looking for educational opportunities. For example:

Dual enrollment

We learned that high school students who also take college courses at NVC are more likely to complete college and save money in the process.

Tuition is free for high school students. Details can be found at napavalley.edu/studentaffairs/AR/Pages/HighSchoolStudents.aspx

I know a father whose child is looking for additional learning opportunities while attending high school.

The high school student is considering dual enrollment by meeting with NVC counselors who can explain the benefits for students who want to get a head start on college-credit classes.


We heard a success story from an American Canyon High School graduate who recovered from failure at San Jose State University by returning home to attend NVC.

With the help of counselors who connected her with Kaiser Permanente, she discovered her purpose in life is to become a physician for underserved women.

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Guaranteed transfer

I know a father whose daughter could not complete her UC course work and returned home to Napa.

He is now searching for a way to help his daughter continue her university education.

After completing a series of courses at NVC known as “transfer pathways,” she can be guaranteed a transfer to UC. A similar guarantee for placement in the California State University system is available under the Associate Degree for Transfer program.

Transfer success

We heard from the Vice President of Instruction Erik Shearer who said that students who transfer to CSU and UC from community colleges like NVC get better grades because they have been acclimated to college and are more focused about what they want to achieve.

I know a father who is frustrated because his daughter was not accepted by a university charging $60,000 per year.

I am urging him to consider saving about $58,000 per year by enrolling her at NVC and securing a guaranteed spot in a CSU or UC.

Financial aid options

We also heard from Patti Morgan, dean of financial aid, who invites parents of all financial means to hear about the financial resources available to NVC students.

The fathers I know can use that information.

More importantly, their kids can use the money to improve their opportunities in life.

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Doug Ernst is the Napa Valley College public information officer. Reach him at DErnst@napavalley.edu or (707) 256-7112.