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California college leaders announce transfer initiative

February 4, 2009 | 12:59 pm


Leaders of California’s public college and university systems said today they are launching a joint task force to boost the numbers of community college students who transfer to the state’s four-year universities.

Only 14,000 of the 2.7 million students enrolled in the state’s 110 community colleges transfer to University of California campuses; another 55,000 move on to California State University campuses.

Though many community college students are seeking job skills or enrichment rather than a university degree, experts say the transfer path is riddled with procedural potholes even for those determined to use a two-year campus as a launching pad to further education. California ranks 39th among states in the percentage of bachelor’s degrees awarded to high school graduates after six years.

“Expanding the opportunity for a four-year education is a critical need for California,” UC President Mark Yudof told a meeting of the UC Board of Regents in San Francisco. “I believe we need to be actively involved, working in the colleges themselves and in partnership with the other institutions of higher education, to encourage students to pursue transfer option and understand that it is achievable and affordable.”

All three of the state’s public college systems will participate equally in the transfer task force. Yudof, California State University Chancellor Charles Reed and California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott, in a joint statement, said improving transfer rates would reduce the costs of obtaining a four-year degree, and thus expand opportunities for underrepresented and educationally disadvantaged groups, who often prefer to begin their college education close to home.

For a recent story on this topic, see: "California's Community Colleges Near the Breaking Point."

-- Gale Holland

Photo: Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times