A never-ending maze with setbacks and no clear path forward. An intimidating process that requires skilled navigation and luck. These are just some of the ways that community college students describe their experience with a far-too-complicated transfer process, as they work to make their dreams of transferring to a four-year college a reality.
Assembly Bill 928, the Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act of 2021 (Berman), was signed into law with unanimous support from the Legislature and Gov. Gavin Newsom to address this issue. It will create a streamlined pathway to a four-year degree for millions of California community college students by consolidating course requirements needed to transfer into the California State University or the University of California systems. It does not dictate which courses are required, but rather empowers a group of leaders representing each higher education segment, the Intersegmental Committee of the Academic Senates (ICAS), to co-design a simplified general education transfer pathway that meets the needs of students, institutions and the state.
As detractors speculate on the potential impact of these changes, it is important to remember why a clear transfer pathway is needed in the first place.
Transfer rates from community colleges to our universities are dismal. Out of all the students who enrolled at a California community college in 2013, only 2.5% transferred to a four-year institution within two years, and only 23% transferred within four years.
Not only is the status quo holding back students, but it is disproportionately harming low-income, Latino, Black and other marginalized students within the community college system. The majority of these students begin their journey at a California community college, yet only 9% of Black students and 10% of Latino students transfer in four years. This is simply unacceptable.
Refocusing outrage on students’ disconcerting experience and the abysmal transfer rates, rather than upholding the status quo, would serve all of us better. We are grateful to the many faculty and community college leaders coming together to harness their collective expertise to create a transfer system that truly works for all students.
If implemented well, AB 928 will help millions of students save valuable time and money on their path to achieving their college dreams. If we do nothing different, we should expect the same poor transfer outcomes. That is why we will not stop championing change and a clear and uniform transfer pathway.
Students do not need to accumulate extra course units that don’t count toward transfer or their degrees, and which cost time and money. The Covid-19 pandemic has further hindered student success and impacted community college enrollment. We have seen historic enrollment declines across California’s community colleges, in part because students are choosing to work to support their families rather than attend college. By reducing the time and money needed to transfer — and complete a degree — community colleges could be a more viable option for students questioning whether it is worth their investment.
AB 928 builds on what we know is working. The Associate Degree for Transfer pathways across California’s 116 community colleges have resulted in more than 400,000 students earning an associate degree from a community college and gaining guaranteed admission with junior standing to a CSU campus where they’re pursuing a bachelor’s degree. Students earning ADTs graduate with 6.5 fewer excess credits than students who earned traditional associate degrees, and more than half graduate with their bachelor’s degrees in two years. We need to build on what is working.
Civil rights, business, education leaders and students have fought hard and waited decades for a convoluted transfer process to be fixed. We are counting on college leaders to deliver on the promise of a student-centered approach to transfer that eliminates racial disparities and puts students first. Despite some opposition to change, and outrage over process rather than student experience, we remain optimistic that our higher education leaders will work together in good faith to implement AB 928. Our students and our state deserve nothing less.
Michele Siqueiros, is president of The Campaign for College Opportunity, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization working to improve college completion rates for students and a sponsor of AB 928.
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Chris Stampolis 1 month ago1 month ago
In her column above, Michelle Siqueiros groups "Latino, Black and other marginalized students." In California, Latino and Black students have virtually nothing in common. Latino students are the dominant force in California. There is not a single high school in California where Black teens outnumber Latino teens. In contrast Latina women by far are the dominant enrollment and graduation cohort throughout the 23 campus California State University system. Latinos by far outnumber white students in the … Read More
In her column above, Michelle Siqueiros groups “Latino, Black and other marginalized students.”
In California, Latino and Black students have virtually nothing in common.
Latino students are the dominant force in California. There is not a single high school in California where Black teens outnumber Latino teens. In contrast Latina women by far are the dominant enrollment and graduation cohort throughout the 23 campus California State University system.
Latinos by far outnumber white students in the UC system as well.
Blacks represent between 4 and 6 percent of California students, a small, stable minority. Even as a minority group every human being is valuable. California’s African-American students deserve targeted academic support, as do Pacific Islanders, Native Americans and other small percentage groups in California. For the record I support robust reparations for descendants of slaves. But we must acknowledge there are zero cities in California where African-Americans outnumber Latinos. Zero.
In contrast Latino students dominate Associate and Bachelor’s Degrees throughout California’s robust public college and university systems.
Some white education professionals may perceive that Latino and Blacks are both “minorities” because they self-perceive that “whites” are the dominant ethnicity in California. However among the student population, whites are not the dominant ethnicity in California. Not even close.
Latinos are the ruling group in 2023 across academia and congratulations for their numerical and academic successes. Blacks, in contrast, are California’s permanent small minority, worthy of resources (and of reparations), but they never will find a single public academic institution anywhere in California for the coming decades, centuries or millenia at which Blacks approach even a plurality. By considering Black students as a small minority that needs unique outreach, we can direct resources where they are needed and can make a difference to maintain student representation.
White student percentages are shrinking. Latino students dominate. We should celebrate those successes and reach more highly. But we should not group Latino and Black students together as “minorities” in a state where Latino students are the clear majority and by far outnumber even white achievement by numbers at all enrollment levels.
Whites and Blacks together now jointly are minorities. Latino students, in contrast, now are the successful and growing majority of degree earners.
Santa Clara, CA
Rene Lozano 2 months ago2 months ago
Until the CSU system addresses impaction and local area admission practices, no amount of transfer-ready students that are left at the gate will make a significant impact on transfer rates. AB 928 does not directly address transfer access issues for first generation, students of color. Legislation that will significantly overhaul the Cal State Apply application process and create a comprehensive review similar to the UC system is the only effective way that universities can take … Read More
Until the CSU system addresses impaction and local area admission practices, no amount of transfer-ready students that are left at the gate will make a significant impact on transfer rates.
AB 928 does not directly address transfer access issues for first generation, students of color. Legislation that will significantly overhaul the Cal State Apply application process and create a comprehensive review similar to the UC system is the only effective way that universities can take into account the student of color lived experiences and admit via an equity lens.
The implementation of CAL-GETC will remove gate-keeper courses that are currently in place and will decrease transfer numbers, not increase them, especially for low-income, underrepresented students. If the intent is to challenge the status quo, let’s work together to overhaul admission review practices, not create another one-size fits all GE pattern that already exists named IGETC. Community College counseling faculty are not detractors, we are transfer advocates that could not agree more that transfer reform needs to occur but with a practitioner understanding that you cannot solve a complex transfer access issue with a well-intentioned, yet over simplified misguided solution.
Susan Kline 2 months ago2 months ago
This article as stated at the end is very clearly written by someone with an agenda. Just last week on EdSource, another article referenced how the best way for students to transfer was not the ADT, which will guarantee admission to a CSU but not the CSU of your choice (and therefore, very likely not the one closest to your current home), but clear transfer pathways between the closest CSU and the local community college. … Read More
This article as stated at the end is very clearly written by someone with an agenda. Just last week on EdSource, another article referenced how the best way for students to transfer was not the ADT, which will guarantee admission to a CSU but not the CSU of your choice (and therefore, very likely not the one closest to your current home), but clear transfer pathways between the closest CSU and the local community college.
Yes, we need to work on transfer rates, but legislating how only adds labor and effort requirements to address the legislation, and takes time away from work that helps students meet their educational goals – namely working with a counselor who knows the requirements of the destination college. Our local CSU has “desirable” courses which will not be part of the CalGETC; a student who ignores these desirable courses and instead focuses solely on the ADT courses, will get into a CSU, but may be heartbroken when they don’t get into the one they really wanted, and instead, may stay an extra year at the local community college to re-apply with the more desirable courses on their transcript.
AB 928 will not change this “back door” and will penalize most those who follow the prescribed pathway. In my perspective, the best thing we can do to increase transfer rates for Black and Latino/a/x students is to reduce the burden of CCC Apply, which is confusing and a huge barrier to enrolling to your local CC in the first place, and spend more time and money with the onboarding process, as noted in the Guided Pathways, to “de-mystify” the process of transfer.
Student At A CC 2 months ago2 months ago
While I do agree that the transfer process is complicated, I don't think it is requirements that hinder students. There is a huge communication breakdown between students and counselors who lack counseling training for all paths available that students can choose. Also, requirements change every year and counselors are just not up to date on that information sometimes. Articulation requirements for subjects can actually change from year to year, and UC and CSU are going … Read More
While I do agree that the transfer process is complicated, I don’t think it is requirements that hinder students. There is a huge communication breakdown between students and counselors who lack counseling training for all paths available that students can choose. Also, requirements change every year and counselors are just not up to date on that information sometimes. Articulation requirements for subjects can actually change from year to year, and UC and CSU are going to have different prerequisites because they are different in teaching styles and general education courses. And forget coming to a counseling appt and inform them you have goals to transfer to an Ivy League school or private institution.
Also, do those transfer rates account for the amount of times a student changes their major? CC is a time to figure that out, and for relatively cheap compared to a four year. I think we need to dig deeper to see what the root of the problem actually is. Not to mention the 2-year benchmark time is a little unrealistic now that colleges are cutting back courses for low enrollment and sometimes that class you need won’t be offered again until the next spring and now you have to stay. Also, the amount of students who go into community college without external responsibilities is slim to none. Work and family and other things come first, which is why CC is so attractive. Not to mention, failing classes means another semester, again those “2 year” expectations are absurd.
My point is, the two year expectation needs to go. I will be finishing in two years, but I have extremely different circumstances than most other students,
Some units came from previous CC experience,
Never changed my major,
No need to work to keep basic needs,
Took summer and winter intersession courses, and during 2 semesters I took 22 units. This is all for one AA for T degree, however low and behold I am eligible for 2 other degrees somehow when I was doing the bare minimum.
I think we have other issues that need addressing here. (The disparities in races are socioeconomic, it’s pretty obvious?)