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UC president seeks to increase community college transfers

June 27, 2012 |  5:21 pm

The University of California is seeking ways to admit more transfer students from the state's community colleges but is hampered by a lack of resources, President Mark G.Yudof said during a presentation Wednesday to local community college leaders.

“I’m a big believer in community colleges,” Yudof said at a meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Los Angeles Community College District. "I’d like to increase the transfer rate and we could add 20,000 or 30,000 more students if we got more funding.”

Yudof’s comments came as the state Legislature voted on a budget package that included measures to preserve Cal Grant aid for low-income students and increase general fund support for UC and California State University by $125 million each, providing that the universities freeze tuition this fall. Community colleges would stand to gain an additional $50 million to increase enrollment.

The funding is contingent on passage in November of a tax initiative proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown that would raise revenues. Its failure would trigger funding cuts of nearly $1 billion across the three higher education systems.

Yudof said Wednesday that he would recommend that UC regents accept the tuition freeze. He also said he supported Gov. Brown’s tax plan, though it’s not perfect.

“If I were at a think tank maybe you could come up with something better, but my job is to defend the university … and protect students and I think the governor’s plan is the only one out there that goes about getting that done,” he said.

As state funding support has shrunk, the university has been criticized for admitting increasing numbers of out-of-state students who pay a higher tuition than California residents.

During a wide-ranging discussion with the Los Angeles trustees, Yudof said he wants to smooth the pathway for community college students to UC campuses.

For fall 2011, about 31% of UC’s incoming California students transferred from community colleges.

One idea would be to create more career technical courses that qualify for transfer.

UC campuses began a pilot program in January offering online instruction in lower division courses. The software for those courses could be made available without charge to community colleges, Yudof said.

Yudof also addressed concerns that not enough Los Angeles students are gaining entrance to UCLA, a school he called the most popular public univesity in the nation.

“What we can’t do is just open the doors,” Yudof said. “But there has to be a special place for Angelenos and if we’re not accepting enough transfer students we’re willing to have discussions with [UCLA Chancellor Gene Block] about opening the doors.”

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-- Carla Rivera

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