UC, CSU, Community College Leaders Announce New Joint Effort
To Boost Transfer to 4-Year Institutions
(February 4, 2009) -- The leaders of the three segments of California public higher education today (Feb. 4) announced their intention to establish a joint task force to develop plans to achieve an increase in the numbers of community college students who transfer to the state’s four-year universities.
University of California President Mark Yudof, California State University Chancellor Charles Reed, and California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott said the state’s historic commitment to the transfer of students from two-year colleges to four-year institutions must be reinvigorated, both for individual student opportunity and for the economic future of the state.
Improved community college transfer, they said, will help reduce the costs of obtaining a four-year degree for greater numbers of students, will increase access to four-year institutions for underrepresented and educationally disadvantaged groups, and will recognize the fact that many students prefer to begin their college education at an institution close to home.
“Expanding the opportunity for a four-year education is a critical need for California,” Yudof told a meeting of the UC Board of Regents in San Francisco. “We at the university can’t just sit back and wait for them to come. We need to be actively involved, working in partnership with the other institutions of higher education, to help students pursue the transfer option and understand that it is achievable and affordable.”
Currently, approximately 14,000 students per year transfer from the California Community Colleges to UC campuses, and another 55,000 to CSU campuses. The community colleges enroll approximately 2.7 million students per year. Community colleges serve a variety of educational needs, and many students in the colleges are not on a four-year degree path – but those with interest in obtaining a baccalaureate degree should be given every opportunity to achieve it, the three segment leaders agreed.
“This is a great opportunity for all of public higher education to work together to serve the future of our state economy and help more Californians achieve their dreams,” said Scott. “The community colleges prepare nearly 100,000 students to transfer every year, and I am proud of the fact that our students do as well in their junior and senior years as the students who begin at a UC or CSU campus. Together we can make the path easier for these students.”
A number of efforts have been undertaken in recent years to further expand transfer, including improved alignment of coursework in the higher education segments and the development of online tools to help transfer counselors provide the best available information to students. But the three segment heads said that more aggressive efforts will ensure that more students have the opportunity to transfer.
“Many of our students are the first in their family to go to college, and begin their higher education experience at a community college close to home,” said Reed. “Our goal for students is to ensure that when they arrive at the CSU, they have the tools, information and support they need to be successful in achieving a baccalaureate degree. A smooth transfer process is critical to that success, and a plan developed by the three segments holds great promise.”
Despite California’s strong record of providing broad access to public higher education generally, the state currently lags in its production of four-year degree recipients relative to population. California currently ranks 39th in the nation in the percentage of bachelor’s degrees awarded to high school graduates after six years.
The intersegmental task force will consist equally of representatives from each of the three segments. The membership will be announced in the coming weeks.
Each segment will have a high-level coordinator leading the effort. For UC, this will be Christopher Edley, dean of the UC Berkeley School of Law and special adviser to Yudof. For CSU, it will be Jeronima Echeverria, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs. For the California Community Colleges, it will be Morgan Lynn, executive vice chancellor for programs.
About the California State University
The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, approximately 450,000 students and 46,000 faculty and staff. Since the system was created in 1961, it has awarded nearly 2.5 million degrees, about 90,000 annually. Its mission is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever-changing needs of the people of California. With its commitment to excellence, diversity and innovation, the CSU is the university system that is working for California.