SANTA ROSA – University of San Francisco is offering general education lower-division courses on its Santa Rosa campus for half the price of its typical cost starting January 2010.

The courses are offered through USF Steps Up, a new program to help non-USF students unable to get courses due to budget cuts at California's public universities and give them the classes they need to graduate.

"I've heard heartbreaking stories from my colleagues at state schools," said Jennifer Turpin, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of San Francisco. "Students are begging to get into classes, but they can't graduate because they can't get the classes they need. We realized we could help these students and California by offering these classes at our regional campuses, where USF already has a presence."

Through USF Steps Up, the university will offer introductory classes at all four of its regional campuses in Northern California to help students satisfy course requirements in the University of California and California State University systems. The three-unit courses will include lower-division classes in philosophy, U.S. history, writing, public speaking, Spanish, statistics, psychology, politics and sociology. One section of each course will be offered at each regional campus, located in Sacramento, San Ramon, Santa Rosa and Cupertino.

“We already have the campuses in place,” said BJ Johnson, vice provost and dean of academic and enrollment services. “We hope this helps fill in the gap in the communities we are located.”

The discounted price for each unit in the program will be $560, which is 55 percent less than the regular cost of these courses on the private university's main campus in San Francisco.

Established in 1855, USF is San Francisco's oldest university and has roughly 8,800 students.

For more information, visit www.usfca.edu/usfstepsup.