Transferring from a California community college to a University of California campus could get easier for students who aren’t quite sure which school they want to attend — or for those who don’t get into their first choice.
The Transfer Pathways initiative offers a single set of courses that will prepare transfer students of certain majors to enroll in any of the UC System’s nine undergraduate campuses.
The pathways could make a difference locally at Santa Barbara City College, which ranks fifth statewide for the number of community college students who transfer to a UC campus and No. 1 in the number of students who go on to UC Santa Barbara.
UCSB admitted 6,571 California community college students for fall 2015, preliminary admissions data show. The university also saw a 4.3 percent increase in the number of transfer applications.
On Tuesday, UC President Janet Napolitano unveiled the faculty-created “academic roadmap,” part of a larger plan to better serve transfer students who come to UC schools from California’s 112 community colleges with the hope of graduating within two years.
The UC System has a goal of enrolling at least one new transfer student for every two freshmen — a 2-to-1 ratio Gov. Jerry Brown also outlined in this year’s budget framework.
New pathways will initially cover UC’s 10 most popular majors — anthropology, biochemistry, biology, cell biology, chemistry, economics, mathematics, molecular biology, physics and sociology.
Eleven more majors will be added later this year, and those 21 represent two-thirds of all admission applications UC receives from transfer students.
According to the UC System, 30 percent of entering students are transfers — about 90 percent of them from a California community college — and more than half of them are first-generation or low-income college students.
“Having a common set of lower division requirements — regardless of which UC campus students are accepted for transfer — will result in substantial savings to students, community colleges and the state from not paying for courses that are accepted by some UC campuses but not the one to which they transfer,” SBCC Executive Vice President Jack Friedlander said. “We anticipate that once fully implemented, the common set of lower division general education requirements across all UCs will result in a substantial increase in the number of our students who transfer to a UC campus in general and to UCSB in particular.”
Pathways clarify a sometimes-complex transfer process, he said, which will give academic counselors more time to explain the differences between courses and how each helps with career goals.
Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria typically sends around 100 transfer students to UC campuses each year, according to college data.
Although most of its students transfer into the California State University System — posting the highest acceptance rate in the region to Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo for the last 14 years — Allan Hancock President Kevin Walthers said the college welcomed any roadmap that creates more viable options for students.
“Allan Hancock College is proud of our students’ history of high transfer success rate to four-year universities. We look forward to even more of our students gaining access to the UC system,” he said. “Currently, Hancock offers 14 associate degrees for transfer that guarantee admission to the CSU system, with more transfer degrees in the works. There is no open-access, four-year state institution within 100 miles of our community.”
The pathways came from a UC Transfer Action Team Napolitano formed last year.
“This is a significant step for the University of California, one that will help us serve our students and the state,” she in a statement. “UC enrolls more community college transfer students than any university of its caliber in the nation. These pathways will provide essential guidance to those who are pursuing a UC education and need a clear plan for moving forward.”
— Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.