Community college students get easier path to transfer out

Graduates from College of the Canyons gathered together in the Honor Grove on June 1 for their commencement ceremony. Eddy Martinez/The Signal.

Students who successfully complete their associate’s degree requirements at College of the Canyons or another California community college will now have an opportunity for guaranteed admission into more than 30 private four-year colleges and universities.

Following the signing of Wednesday’s memorandum of understanding between the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office and the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities, junior college students with an associate’s degree for transfer will have a seamless pathway to move on to higher-learning institutions in the California State University, University of California and, now, private college systems.

Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley said the new agreement is part of the ambitious goals he laid forth in his Vision for Success, a strategic plan designed to improve student success outcomes, increase transfer rates and eliminate achievement gaps.

“We’re very happy to announce this partnership with AICCU. I think it’s a great thing for students up and down the state,” because it gives students an opportunity to save time and money, Oakley said during Wednesday’s teleconference call with AICCU leaders.

Participating AICCU schools will collaborate with community colleges to provide pre-enrollment information and advice to interested students, as outlined in the agreement. The schools will also engage in discussions about potential pathways toward a bachelor’s degree.

Oakley said the associate degree for transfer has been a proven success since its adoption, as nearly 20 percent of students with the degree earn a bachelor’s degree from a California State University campus within two years, compared to just 27 percent for traditional transfer students, according to the 2017 Campaign for College Opportunity report.

The “Degree with a Guarantee” has assured student acceptance to a California State University campus since the 2011-12 academic year, and the new agreement marks a significant expansion of the program since its inception, CCC leaders said. California community college students with such a degree will now be guaranteed that prior coursework will be transferable to private, nonprofit four-year institutions ranging from Azusa Pacific University to Whittier College, while also seeing a more streamlined and simplified transfer process.

“Projections from the Public Policy Institute of California say the state will by 2030 have a shortage of 1.1 million workers holding a bachelor’s degree needed to meet workforce demands,” Oakley said. “The associate degree for transfer program is vital to our economy, and we are proud to work with the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities in providing our students additional opportunities to further their education and help guarantee their chances of achieving upward social mobility.”

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