University of California (UC) Regents published a report on May 15 addressing a plan to ease the transferring process from California community college students into the UC system.
This report followed UC President Janet Napolitano’s November 2014 address to UC Regents regarding upcoming plans for the UC system.
“The University [UC system] must reexamine how we interact with community college transfers,” Napolitano said. “Many California students begin their higher education journey at a community college, yet yearn for the opportunity to earn a four-year degree. We must continue to support the access and success of the diversity of the California community college population.”
The report entitled “Preparing California for Its Future: Enhancing Community College Student Transfer to UC”examines current issues surrounding the process of transferring into a UC school and details proposals to enhance the situation. These solutions have been imagined via collaboration of students, faculty, staff, the California State University (CSU) system and California Community Colleges (CCC).
“Transfer students who enroll at UC repeatedly demonstrate their ability to succeed, posting high graduation rates comparable to freshmen who began college at a UC campus,” the report stated. “Despite these achievements, the transfer process can be challenging, sometimes preventing otherwise promising students from meeting their goal of earning a four-year degree.”
The connection between UC and CCC is unique to California among national “selective research universities,” the report stated. While a majority of these prestigious institutions let in comparatively few transfer students from community colleges, about one-third of transfers enrolling in a UC in any given fall term started at a California two-year community college.
UC has found that these students perform at a high level, often just as well as UC freshmen, and have confidence in the level of education CCC offers. For this reason, UC hopes to expand their reach to CCC transfer applicants.
The current issues regarding UC transfer students include a lack of diversity and large percentage of students coming from only a handful of colleges.
Gov. Jerry Brown acknowledged that increasing transfer students into the UC system would benefit the state and save money by drawing in greater numbers of low-income and minority students.
According to studies conducted by UC Corporate Student System and California Community College Chancellor’s Office, minority transfer students enrolled in the UC system during the 2012-13 academic year at a rate of 3.6 percent African American, one percent American Indian and 21.3 percent Chicana/o or Latina/o. Furthermore, a lack in demographics “traditionally underrepresented in higher education,” including low-income and first-generation college students, was reported in UC transfer students.
Furthermore, Napolitano cited in her November address that 75 percent of UC transfer students transfer from one-third of California’s community colleges.
In order to diversify the UC community, the report details plans to increase UC presence at every CCC.
“Such an approach would expand the University’s presence in more underserved communities and increase students’ and counselors’ access to services and programming,” the report stated. “In order to instill confidence among community college partners that UC will maintain such a presence, programs must be supported by a system-wide commitment to a long-term, multi-pronged strategy that contributes to diversifying the transfer pool and encouraging those in it to matriculate at UC.”
Additionally, the UC identifies a lack of ease and transparency for transfer students during their application and course planning process.
“I wish I would’ve known more about transferring before I did it,” said Mallory Bonnema, a third-year human development major who transferred to UC Davis Fall Quarter 2013. “I wish that somebody had told me about the negative aspects of it and warned me that the first year would be rough.”
Regents seek to lighten the burden for transfer students by streamlining transfer pathways and creating “transfer-affirming cultures.”
“The [UC] Team believes that the institution must provide clearly defined and articulated pathways that delineate a road map for student transfer and completion of the baccalaureate degree,” the report stated.
However, some students are opposed to an easing of this process.
“I feel that the application process for transfer students shouldn’t be any easier than the process for incoming freshmen,” said first-year English major Amanda Leanne. “The measure of intelligence or ambition should be valued the same amount for any student attempting to go to a UC. I feel that transfer students already have an advantage from having more experience in life and in education. So if anything, the process should be more difficult or the same, but definitely not easier.”
After experiencing a slight decrease in transfer student applicants for the upcoming term, according to the fall 2014 Undergraduate Applications Fact Sheet, UC hopes their plans will expand applicant numbers and enhance the undergraduate experience for transfer students.
BRENNA LYLES can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.