Only 40 percent of California community college students are transferring to UCs and CSUs.
The state’s recent annual accountability report for community colleges found that despite the push for students to transfer to UC or CSU from community colleges, many students do not.
The number of transfers to UC campuses actually increased, but the general percentage is lower, since there are more students at community colleges overall.
“Our preliminary enrollments for fall 2009 alone, [California community college] transfers are close to 13,400 – up from 12,900 for the 2008-2009 year,” said Pete King, director of media relations at the University of California Office of the President.
In a recent address to the state’s community colleges, UC President Mark Yudof said despite budget cuts, UCs should aim to increase community college transfer enrollment by 500 students for this academic year.
Every year, over 10,000 community college students transfer to UCs. In 2007-2008, almost 14,000 students transferred throughout the campuses.
Despite high numbers, there are obstacles in the system.
“Today, dramatic cuts to higher education budgets and significant enrollment pressures, combined with fee increases, threaten college access for many of California’s students,” Yudof said at the community college address. “First-generation and low income students who use community colleges as the gateway to economic and social advancement are particularly at risk in this environment.”
At UC Davis, the Student Recruitment and Retention Center is well aware of these issues.
The SRRC provides holistic attention to students, many of which come from underserved communities. Transfer students can utilize SRRC services. SRRC coordinator and sophomore English major Danny Liemthongsamout said transfer students are a common group that drops out of college.
Lena Chervin, a junior environmental toxicology major, transferred from Berkeley Community College. She said as a transfer student into the UC system, she knew she would have to be highly motivated to prevent herself from falling through the cracks.
“As a transfer student it’s really important to not take too much stock in one person’s advice. No one knows how to deal with you because you don’t fit a mold,” Chervin said. “Everyone has a different story.”
A recent transfer to UC Davis, Lindsay Stewart, a junior psychology major, arrived this fall from Las Positas Community College in Livermore. Though her transition was smooth, she said she sees why the switch to UC or CSU may be tough for some.
“People find it hard to transfer to a four-year university because community college is very cheap in comparison, usually close to home and is comfortable enough that people don’t want to leave it,” Stewart said in an e-mail interview.
Both Chervin and Stewart said the hardest part about transitioning from community college to UC Davis was the switch from a semester to a quarter system. Stewart said there should be more guidance and help for students to handle this change of learning pace.
“Every time I finish a midterm, I have to start studying for the next one – not what I’m use to, but I’ll adjust,” she said.
Chervin said the transfer help website, Assist, was a useful tool for California community college students transferring to UCs or CSUs and made the transfer process easy to understand.
SASHA LEKACH can be reached at email@example.com.