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About Hartnell College

Hartnell College is one of the oldest educational institutions in California. Founded in 1920 as Salinas Junior College, the school was renamed Hartnell College in 1948. The Hartnell Community College District was formed the following year.

The college moved to its present location at 411 Central Avenue in Salinas in 1936. (The location was first identified as being at 156 Homestead Avenue, but renovations and additions eliminated the entranceway on that street, so the address was officially changed in 2008.) The main campus is located in Monterey County just a 20-minute drive from the scenic Monterey Coast.

Hartnell College serves the Salinas Valley, a fertile agricultural region some 10 miles wide and 100 miles long. The College draws most of its students from Salinas and the surrounding communities of Bradley, Castroville, Chualar, Gonzales, Greenfield, Jolon, King City, Lockwood, Moss Landing, San Ardo, San Lucas, Soledad, and adjacent rural areas. It also attracts students from many Peninsula towns and from surrounding counties who are drawn to Hartnell’s excellent academic opportunities, nursing and technical programs, and strong and successful athletic teams.

Hartnell serves nearly 10,000 students (7,100 FTES) with an ethnic profile that includes 56% Latino/a, 19% White, 4% Asian, 3% Filipino, 2% Black, 1% Native American students, and 1% multi-ethnic. (16% of students did not report ethnicity). Hartnell has thus earned the federal designation as an Hispanic Serving Institution, and this year was awarded two major Title V grants to improve student access and success for underrepresented groups in the STEM disciplines.

Hartnell has been lauded by NASA, the NAACP, and UCSC as being among the top community colleges in the country in promoting and achieving success for its underrepresented students in the STEM disciplines. Hartnell has done this, in part, through intensive mentoring and internship programs with academic and research partners like the University of Santa Cruz Baskin School of Engineering, the Naval Postgraduate School, United States Department of Agriculture, Monterey Institute for Research in Astronomy, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, University of California at Davis, Fremont Peak Observatory, and many others. Hartnell’s Alisal Campus is now home to a NASA Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Aerospace Academy (SEMAA) laboratory for K-12 students and their families, the only SEMAA site on the West Coast.

The College offers the first and second years of a college program, basic skills courses in English and math, and workplace and career training. It awards the associate of arts degree, associate of science degree, and certificates of proficiency. The college has a strong and successful nursing and allied health program, allowing its graduates to become LVNs, RNs, EMTs, and respiratory therapists. For the last several years, Hartnell’s nursing graduates have achieved NCLEX pass rates of at or near 100%.

The college’s state-of-the-art library and learning resource center provides access to electronic databases and is the hub of information and learning technologies. The college has committed to pursuing technology enhancements, and is embarking on virtualization and server enhancement projects that will increase productivity and access for its students and employees, giving them technological advantages that most college and university students and personnel do not yet have.

Hartnell’s vibrant theater arts program includes a theater arts company called The Western Stage, which is consistently ranked among the highest caliber theaters in the Monterey Bay area. Its programming is both traditional and experimental, including world premieres of works by contemporary Latino playwrights. Hartnell theater arts faculty partner with the Alisal Center for the Fine Arts, to engage and encourage area youth in their artistic pursuits. Hartnell hosts a community orchestra and chorus, and Hartnell writers publish the Homestead Review, a poetry and literary journal.

The College has transfer agreements with many California State University (CSU) and University of California (UC) campuses which guarantee admission for Hartnell students who have completed the two-year requirements.

Day, evening, and weekend courses are offered in both classroom and online settings. Hartnell is sensitive to its diverse community and offers classes in modified formats to meet the needs of students who work or have other outside commitments, such as those that begin after the regular semester does or are offered in a condensed format. Additionally, Hartnell’s recently-built advanced technology campus in the Alisal District of Salinas houses its Agricultural Business and Technology Institute, its Sustainable Design and Construction Center, a diesel program, an automotive technology program, and its computer science program. Hartnell holds classes at its education center in King City and at numerous off-campus locations in north and south Monterey County.

Hartnell Campus at Night, Library, LRC and Student Center


The college offers a full complement of services to assist students' educational progress in a one-stop student services format. Services include web-based, telephone, and in-person registration, academic and personal counseling, financial aid and scholarship services, international student services, re-entry services, veterans services, sports counseling, disabled students programs and services, assessment testing, career and transfer assistance, and more. In addition, students are encouraged to become involved in the many clubs on campus and student government through the Associated Students of Hartnell College.

Statement of Hartnell College Objectives
Prepare students for admission with advanced standing to four-year colleges and universities

Prepare students for employment with a background of both technical and general education

Increase opportunities to develop and improve abilities to read, to listen with understanding, and to communicate effectively

Provide opportunities for students to develop critical thinking processes

Provide counseling services to help individuals discover their interests and abilities and to determine an appropriate educational program

Assist persons seeking career change or advancement, or re-entry into a career field

Provide opportunities for students whose prior academic achievements are latent in relation to their stated educational and vocational goals

Provide educational services for those neither preparing for a career nor seeking a degree

Promote opportunities to develop an understanding of and appreciation for our rich heritage of creativity in the arts, humanities, and sciences