The Southwestern College Higher Education Center at National City was established in 1998, the Higher Education Center opened with more than 600 students registered for one or more of the 39 classes offered at the Center. Today, the Center enjoys an enrollment of over 3,000 students per semester. The Centers' 200 plus courses offers a full array of classes for students who wish to pursue an Associate's degree, complete general education and major preparation requirements for transfer, and/or develop occupational skills for employment, such as dental hygiene or computer programming.

Southwestern College praises the vision of the leaders of the city of National City and all of its collaborative partners. As former Dean William C. Kinney stated “by establishing the Higher Education Center at National City, Southwestern College continues the trend of decentralization, which began with the establishment of the Higher Education Center at San Ysidro (HEC, SY) in 1988. These centers provide increased access to higher education for all District residents and help alleviate enrollment pressures at the Chula Vista Campus."

The administration of the Higher Education Center is comprised of Christine Perri, Dean, Gay Teel, Director of Dental Hygiene, Deanna Reinacher, Director of Medical Laboratory Technician & Medical Office Professionals Program, Dejon Davis, Center Operations Supervisor, Fernando Poveda, Director of Crown Cove Aquatic Center, and Patrice Milkovich, Director of Restorative Justice and Off-Campus Programs.

The Higher Education Center at National City is home to the Center for Business Advancement.  This hub brings together four business  service organizations to better provide support to small businesses that help them achieve success and stimulate the local and regional economy.  The Center for Business Advancement is comprised of: The San Diego, Imperial and Orange County Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), the San Diego and Imperial Small Business Development Center Network (SBDC), the South San Diego Small Business Development Center, and the San Diego Women's Business Center (WBC).

The administration of the Center for Business Advancement is comprised of Brett Housholder, Acting Regional Director of PTAC, Daniel Fitzgerald, Acting Regonal Director of SBDC, Briana Weisinger, Director of SBDC, Katty Ibarra, Director of WBC.