On most days San Diego High School graduates Rebeca Yanez and Arturo Vasquez are carpooling by 7 a.m. to make it to class on time across the border in Tijuana. As the two English-speaking business majors approach the border, there’s barely a line. That’s how it is on most days, and Yanez usually makes the trip in half an hour — but not always.
“It’s not that hard. It’s sometimes kind of stressful, because of the problems at the border,” Yanez said. “Sometimes I’d get a text saying they’re closing the border. Or, oh, there’s a lot of traffic. And I’d say, ‘Oh! I need to get to school,’ it’s just little moments like that. But it’s been pretty good so far.”
Yanez and Vasquez are among a growing number of U.S. students crossing into Mexico to pursue college degrees at CETYS, a private university in Baja California. In addition to Tijuana, it has campuses in Mexicali, across from Calexico and in Ensenada along the Baja coast.
After the 2008 financial crisis in the U.S., California began cutting support for its state universities. To make up for the financial loss, those universities began to increase tuition. It was during that time that administrators at CETYs began noticing an uptick in their number of U.S. students.
There are currently 337 students at CETYS who graduated from Southern California high schools. In 2010, that number was only 50.