Thursday, June 30 , 2016, 1:21 pm | Fair with Haze 70º

  • Follow Noozhawk on LinkedIn
  • Follow Noozhawk on Pinterest
  • Follow Noozhawk on YouTube
 
 
 
 
Posted on March 19, 2014 | 9:07 p.m.

Report: Community Colleges, CSU Show Progress in Developing Transfer Pathway, But Obstacles Remain

Recommendations include ways to expand the number of degrees and increase student awareness

Source: Public Policy Institute of California

A California community college degree designed to streamline students' admission to the California State University system is leading to clearer pathways for transfer. But efforts to fully implement this reform face a number of challenges, according to a progress report released Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California.

The report finds that the California Community Colleges have made significant progress in developing associate degrees for transfer, first offered in 2011-12. These degrees are designed to streamline a complex, inefficient process that has led to low rates of transfer to four-year universities.

Nearly half of the state's community colleges — 54 of 112 — now offer 10 or more transfer degrees out of the 25 possible degrees approved by the CCC and CSU systems. However, some community colleges offer only a few transfer degrees, raising questions about equal access. Those that offer just a few of the degrees include both large colleges in urban or suburban areas and small colleges in rural areas.

Associate degrees for transfer consist of 60 units that include general education requirements and a minimum of 18 units in a major. CSU must admit a student with a transfer degree to one of its campuses as a junior and grant the student priority in admission to an academic major that is "similar" to the program completed at community college. CSU campuses determine which programs are similar to CCC areas of study. The CSU campus must also guarantee that these transfer students will need to complete no more than 60 additional units of coursework to earn a bachelor's degree and will not be required to repeat a course successfully completed at community college.

The PPIC report finds that CSU campuses have made significant progress in increasing the share of majors that they accept as "similar." But some campuses accommodate transfer degrees in only some of their bachelor's degree programs, or to only limited options or concentrations within a particular major.

"The new degrees were created with the laudable goal of establishing consistent transfer requirements throughout the state to increase transfer rates and better serve students," said study co-author Colleen Moore, research specialist at the Institute for Higher Education Leadership & Policy (IHELP) at Sacramento State University. "Progress on this goal has been steady and remains promising, but implementation faces multiple challenges."

The report identifies several issues that may be limiting the number of students pursuing this degree:

» The guarantee of admission to a CSU somewhere in the system may not be compelling for students who want to transfer to a campus close to home, and capacity constraints at the CSU may limit the value of the promise of admission.

» The lack of participation by the University of California means that the new transfer degrees are not really the "statewide" pathway envisioned by the legislation, posing a challenge for students who want to keep open the option of transfer to either a CSU or UC campus.

» A survey of CCC student leaders suggests that awareness of the new degree is limited and efforts to inform students have been insufficient.

» A one-size-fits-all approach may not be appropriate for all majors. In science or technical fields, for example, 120 units may not be enough for a student to acquire necessary knowledge.

The study's authors emphasize the need for realistic expectations about the extent to which the new degrees would become the preferred transfer pathway for all California students. A student who follows this pathway and graduates with no more than 120 units must quickly choose a major, decide early on CSU as a destination, get admitted to a campus with a similar major, and avoid changing majors once at CSU. Many CCC students enter college without the knowledge and experience for such expeditious completion of their goals.

"The goal should be to increase the number of students who can benefit from this pathway, and then see whether additional approaches can be devised to better serve those who may not be able to take advantage of it," said co-author Nancy Shulock, executive director of IHELP and an adjunct fellow at PPIC.

The authors offer recommendations for legislators and leaders in the CCC and CSU system to improve the implementation effort. Among them: that CSU review majors deemed "not similar" to determine whether the designation is warranted, that CCC share resources so that smaller colleges can offer more transfer degrees, and that the legislature fund efforts to increase awareness of the transfer degree and try to involve the University of California to expand the pool of students who can be served by this reform.

The report is From Community College to University: Expectations for California's New Transfer Degrees. Click here to view the full report.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk's intent is not to limit the discussion of our stories but to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and must be free of profanity and abusive language and attacks.

By posting on Noozhawk, you:

» Agree to be respectful. Noozhawk encourages intelligent and impassioned discussion and debate, but now has a zero-tolerance policy for those who cannot express their opinions in a civil manner.

» Agree not to use Noozhawk’s forums for personal attacks. This includes any sort of personal attack — including, but not limited to, the people in our stories, the journalists who create these stories, fellow readers who comment on our stories, or anyone else in our community.

» Agree not to post on Noozhawk any comments that can be construed as libelous, defamatory, obscene, profane, vulgar, harmful, threatening, tortious, harassing, abusive, hateful, sexist, racially or ethnically objectionable, or that are invasive of another’s privacy.

» Agree not to post in a manner than emulates, purports or pretends to be someone else. Under no circumstances are readers posting to Noozhawk to knowingly use the name or identity of another person, whether that is another reader on this site, a public figure, celebrity, elected official or fictitious character. This also means readers will not knowingly give out any personal information of other members of these forums.

» Agree not to solicit others. You agree you will not use Noozhawk’s forums to solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites, without Noozhawk’s express written approval.

Noozhawk’s management and editors, in our sole discretion, retain the right to remove individual posts or to revoke the access privileges of anyone who we believe has violated any of these terms or any other term of this agreement; however, we are under no obligation to do so.

 

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.



Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >