Credit: Office of the Governor
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation at California State University, Northridge.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed several bills Wednesday that would improve college affordability and make it easier for community college students to transfer to the state’s public university systems.

“We’re turning commitments into reality by ensuring that our students have more access to high-quality educational opportunities, creating a change of course for generations to come and bolstering California’s innovation economy,” Newsom said, in a news release. “Californians have thrived at our world-class universities for decades, but not everyone has had similar access — today that’s changing. Everyone deserves a shot at the ‘California Dream’ — we’re eliminating equity gaps and increasing opportunities at our universities to make those dreams a reality for more California students.”

The latest bills are part of the state’s $47.1 billion investment in the state’s higher education system including ongoing base funding to the University of California, California State University and the California Community Colleges, expansion of the state’s Cal Grant program to additional community college students and many other programs to make college more affordable.  An additional $1.9 billion has also been signed by Newsom to create college savings accounts.

Included in the investment package is Assembly Bill 928 authored by Assemblyman Marc Berman, D-Menlo Park. That bill requires the 23-campus California State University and nine undergraduate campuses of the University of California system to establish a joint singular lower-division general education pathway for transfer. It also requires the California Community Colleges to place students who declare a transfer goal on an associate degree for transfer pathway for their intended major. The bill gives the systems until May 31, 2023, to create a joint singular lower-division general education pathway. An extension until Dec. 31, 2023, is allowed if an agreement can’t be reached by the earlier time.

The associate degree for transfer — known as ADT — was created to streamline the process and guarantee admission into the UC and CSU systems for those who complete the pathway. It also enables students to transfer to many private universities. But problems remain. A report from the Campaign for College Opportunity, a California-based nonprofit, found that while students only need 60 credits to transfer, even with the ADT they earned on average 86 credits. Without the transfer degree, many took many more credits, as many as 90.

AB 928 also creates a committee with representatives from the universities and community colleges to oversee the ADT.

“For the millions of community college students in California who dream of attending a university, today’s action ensures that dreams can become a reality,” said Michele Siqueiros, president of the college opportunity campaign. “Fixing transfer is one of the most significant ways to improve student success, close racial equity gaps in higher education and ensure our state can meet future workforce needs.”

Newsom also signed AB 1111 which requires the 116 community colleges to adopt a common course-numbering system that ensures that similar courses at any California community college are aligned so they fulfill the same transfer requirements for CSU and UC systems.  

“When students discussed their experience with the transfer process from community college to four-year university, their message was loud and clear: Transfer is too complex, confusing and difficult to navigate,” Berman said. “Together AB 928 and 1111 will make it easier for students to achieve their educational goals.”

Newsom also signed bills that would make financial aid more accessible to students, including AB 469 sponsored by Assembly member Eloise Gomez Reyes, D-San Bernardino, to require all students by September 2022 to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid or California Dream Act application.

The higher education investment also includes $2 billion to improve student housing and make it more affordable.

“From historic investments in financial aid and student housing that will benefit students to a radical revamping of transfer, 2021 is a landmark year for public higher education in California,” CSU Chancellor Joseph I. Castro said. “We appreciate the bold vision demonstrated by Gov. Newsom and his commitment to further improving education access and outcomes throughout the Golden State.”

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  1. Sean 2 months ago2 months ago

    Does anyone know the status of AB 375 (Medina)?

    Replies

    • John Fensterwald 2 months ago2 months ago

      Sean, Gov. Newsom vetoed it on Saturday among the last batch of bills he decided.

  2. LA Counselor 2 months ago2 months ago

    Transfer is very complex. Beyond having the same numerical coding for classes. A course can be articulated with one community college for a GE area but that same course at a different CC may not be….also, the ADT is a transfer guarantee to CSUs not UCs and it depends on the CSU and the ADT major they gave a guarantee for. More CC counselors are needed, we are in demand but there isn’t enough of … Read More

    Transfer is very complex. Beyond having the same numerical coding for classes. A course can be articulated with one community college for a GE area but that same course at a different CC may not be….also, the ADT is a transfer guarantee to CSUs not UCs and it depends on the CSU and the ADT major they gave a guarantee for. More CC counselors are needed, we are in demand but there isn’t enough of us. If the student to counselor ratio was much more appropriate it would make a huge difference.

  3. SD Parent 2 months ago2 months ago

    The passage of AB 928 just shows how out-of-touch Sacramento leaders are with higher education. Generally, the GE required for, say, an engineering major, is going to be quite different than that required for, say, a theater major, making the entire concept of a "joint singular lower-division general education pathway for transfer" ludicrous. Furthermore, General Education standards are not universal even within individual universities, much less across the entire CSU and UC systems. … Read More

    The passage of AB 928 just shows how out-of-touch Sacramento leaders are with higher education. Generally, the GE required for, say, an engineering major, is going to be quite different than that required for, say, a theater major, making the entire concept of a “joint singular lower-division general education pathway for transfer” ludicrous. Furthermore, General Education standards are not universal even within individual universities, much less across the entire CSU and UC systems.

    Consider UC San Diego and its seven colleges, each with unique general education requirements. Revelle’s GE requirements include a core in humanities, a year each of Calculus and Science, requirements in the arts and social sciences, and proficiency in a foreign language. Marshall’s GE requirements are primarily in liberal arts including a core sequence with a focus on diversities of culture. Roosevelt focuses on a world view with requirements that include a foreign language and the Making of the Modern World (MMW) interdisciplinary sequence taught by faculty from the Departments of Anthropology, History, Literature, Political Science, and Sociology; Sixth GE includes a core sequence in Culture, Art, and Technology with a wide breadth of additional GE including information technology fluency, social science, humanities, natural science, mathematics and logic, and statistical methods. What “joint singular lower-division general education pathway for transfer” could possibly fulfill the GE requirements for all of these colleges within UCSD? Maybe they just dump all transfer students in Warren or Muir, where the GE requirements are less stringent?

    The reality is that unless some strategic and specialized course choices occur during a student’s two-year community college GE, it’s unlikely that a student could transfer to a UC and finish in two years in any major with substantial GE core requirements (such as majors in engineering and sciences), notwithstanding the “joint singular lower-division general education pathway” that might get them admitted.

    Replies

    • el 2 months ago2 months ago

      This is a useful observation and well posed and I'm also interested in the answer. My college student has some transfer credits from the community college, and I have especially noticed that the community college pathway is a little shaky for STEM majors. Sure, in theory it's possible to do all your GE in two years at the community college and then transfer and do two more years at the four year to complete, but it … Read More

      This is a useful observation and well posed and I’m also interested in the answer.

      My college student has some transfer credits from the community college, and I have especially noticed that the community college pathway is a little shaky for STEM majors. Sure, in theory it’s possible to do all your GE in two years at the community college and then transfer and do two more years at the four year to complete, but it does create some substantial bottlenecks on your choices. My student took several courses as a sophomore that were beyond what is offered at the community college, to get prerequisites out of the way to create more choices in later years, and also to avoid having a schedule of four or five of the most difficult courses in the major at the same time. There is the secondary matter of trying to fit these courses in a time schedule when some are only offered as a single section once a year.

      In some cases at the community college, prerequisite tracks are split into more courses also – so a prerequisite series that takes two semesters at CSU may take three at the community college. In some majors, like engineering, the prerequisite courses frequently taken by sophomores are barely offered at all.

      Creating more opportunities for students to get those courses in their second year I think would be a huge help in preparing students for success. Either that, or perhaps we should set up expectations that a normal sequence would be three years at the finishing university.

    • el 2 months ago2 months ago

      College catalogs usually have a sample four year schedule for each major.

      One extremely simple measure that might be both helpful to students and eye-opening to decision makers is to add in a sample two-year schedule for community college transfers. It could help people make decisions between paths and it might help departments realize more specifically what exactly we expect students to accomplish once they transfer.

  4. el 2 months ago2 months ago

    I am sure you have covered this before, but I can’t remember the reasons that were found for the excess credits. Certainly some is related to class availability and scheduling, especially for the more advanced and specific classes. Although online classes don’t work for everyone, making more of these classes available online now that we have some experience around offering them that way might be helpful in creating more options for at least some students.