Transfer students express support for recently passed California bills
University of California students have expressed support for two recently passed California bills that will reform the process of transferring community colleges to public universities.
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bills 928 and AB 111 on Oct. 6, both of which seek to solidify requirements for transferring student courses between different institutions in California. The UC Student Association co-sponsored the bill with MP Marc Berman, who represents District 24.
According to a report from the Public Policy Institute of California, 19% of community college students who intend to go to college do so within four years. The low percentage of transfers made shows how difficult the system is to navigate, said Herman Luis Chavez, transfer student representative for the Undergraduate Student Association Council.
The AB 928 will require California State University and UC to standardize their general education course requirements by May 2023 for prospective transfer students.
Under AB 928, community colleges are required to place students who declare their intention to transfer into their respective community college’s Associated Degree for Transfers program, unless the students choose to opt out.
Additionally, AB 928 establishes the ADT Intersegmental Implementation Committee to oversee the ADT program and recommend improvements to the state legislature.
The ADT program allows students to earn an associate’s degree in two years and guarantees admission to transfer to a CSU campus if they meet the minimum program eligibility requirements.
AB 111 will create a course numbering system common to all California community colleges by July 2024 to help students understand which classes are transferable to universities.
Joshua Hagen, senior director of student policy and success initiatives at Campaign for College Opportunity, said the AB 928 addresses three primary student concerns – coordination between CSU and UC, GE requirements and placement in the ADT program.
Unlike many other states, California does not have standardized course requirements between its public higher education institutions, which can make the transfer difficult, Hagen said.
Because of the individualized college transfer requirements, students often end up needing to take excess coursework to meet the expectations of any colleges they wish to apply to, Chavez said.
GE’s clear transfer requirements save money for the state of California, as students will end up taking fewer units and save time while graduating, Hagen said.
Chavez said the complexity of transfer student requirements is especially difficult for students who are the first in their family to attend college and who rely solely on information from their advisers.
In addition, counselors frequently give community college students conflicting or inaccurate information about the transfer process, said Kayla Long, a fourth-year history transfer student.
California previously established the AG course in high schools for college admission preparation, which eliminated the gaps in course offerings between different high schools, said Tariq Azim, vice president of government relations at UCSA.
He added that the state can restructure student transfer courses to community colleges in the same way as AG by requiring certain types of courses but offering multiple options for each requirement.
With automatic ADT enrollment, students have the power to run their own education rather than leaving it to counselors to determine who is capable enough to transfer, Hagen said.
However, Rafael Chavez, a spokesperson for California Community Colleges, said in an emailed statement that the automatic placement of AB 928 in the ADT program does not give students enough options for four institutions. years, because UC and private universities do not participate in ADT. The ADT program also does not take into account student preferences for staying in a certain region, Rafael Chavez said.
Community colleges are essential for the upward mobility of students, so making their educational experience more accessible is essential, said Herman Luis Chavez. He added that many community college students are low-income, primarily in their families to attend college or care for children.
UCSA President Esmeralda Quintero-Cubillan said that formulating clearer course requirements would make the process easier for Native American and Indigenous students from poorer communities with fewer educational opportunities.
She added that many Native American and Native students rely on community colleges and the transfer process to pursue higher education, but its complexity can be detrimental for prospective transfer students.
Long said more community colleges should establish honors programs and partnerships with universities to make the transfer process more accessible.
Those opposing AB 928 argued that there was not enough space in the CSU and UC to accommodate more transfer students, Azim said. He said this concern does not justify maintaining an unfair system.
“Community colleges are not a waiting room,” Azim said. “I think the argument that we have to keep the transfer complicated because we don’t have UC seats is a little absurd.”
Ryan King, a spokesperson for the UC President’s Office, said in a written statement that UC is delighted to see improvements to the student transfer experience by the California legislature. He added that UCOP is currently evaluating the impact that invoices will have on the CPU.
In order to implement the changes from AB 928 and AB 111, California community colleges will need to provide professional development training for faculty, improve guidance and create new course catalogs and information systems, said Rafael. Chavez.
“Overall, we are seeing a lot of work on community colleges, we are the system that educates the most students and receives the least funding,” said Rafael Chavez.
Herman Luis Chavez said he is considering several other improvements to the transfer system in the future, including higher admission rates, extending the transfer admission guarantee to all UC schools and increased support for transfers to more specialized or creative majors.
“If we don’t take action now to transform this process, it risks leaving historically marginalized communities behind,” Hagen said.