✅ Easing transfers to UC and Cal State

Courtesy of Foothill Community College

By Mikhail Zinshteyn

WHAT THE BILL WOULD DO

Assembly Bill 928 by Democrat Marc Berman of Los Altos means to make it easier for community college students to transfer to a California State University or University of California campus. It would:

  • Have the UC and Cal State systems agree on a common set of general-education courses that community college students must take to get into either system
  • Require that community colleges place all would-be transfer students — even if they want to attend UC or another college — into the existing “guaranteed transfer path” to get into a Cal State, unless they opt out.

WHO SUPPORTS IT

Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis and a constellation of student advocacy groups, including the Campaign for College Opportunity, a research and advocacy organization. They view this bill as continuing the promise of a smoother transfer path for community college students. Cal State and the student associations of the Cal State and UC systems also back the bill. Some also point out that the two systems already have common course admissions requirements for high schoolers but not for transfer students.

WHO’S OPPOSED

A lot of heavy hitters: the UC Office of the President, the Chancellor’s Office of the California Community Colleges, the faculty association representing community colleges and the academic senates of the community college, the UC and Cal State systems. They say it has the right intentions but the wrong execution. Also opposed: Gov. Gavin Newsom’s finance department, which cites costs of at least $130 million. The student senate of the community college system is neutral.

WHY IT MATTERS

Most community college students want to transfer, but after three years, only about 22% do — even though those students are sold on an idea that they can spend two years in community college and then two more at a UC or Cal State to earn their bachelor’s. The transfer path is a maze, stalling the ambitions of tens of thousands of students. If this bill achieves its goal, students could take fewer classes and therefore charge the state less money in community college tuition waivers.

GOVERNOR’S CALL:

The governor signed this into law Oct. 6. What’s next: The single set of courses for general education courses has to be ready at the UC and Cal States by the 2025-2026 academic year. Community colleges must start placing affected students in the guaranteed transfer pathway for Cal State campuses by August of 2024.