California Makes It Easier for Some Community College Students to Transfer to University of California With New Law

California Makes It Easier for Some Community College Students to Transfer to University of California With New Law

Students participate in an activity near Royce Hall on the campus of the University of California–Los Angeles (UCLA) in Los Angeles, Calif., on March 11, 2020. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

Micaela Ricaforte

Micaela Ricaforte

10/16/2023

Updated: 12/30/2023

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law last week that will now make it easier for some of California’s community college students to transfer to a University of California (UC) campus.
Assembly Bill 1291, introduced in February by Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), will establish a pilot program that prioritizes community college students who complete associate degrees in certain majors for admission to UC.
The governor signed the bill on Oct. 10, saying in a statement that the new law “is streamlining the transfer process, making a four-year degree more affordable for transfer students, and helping students obtain high-paying and fulfilling careers.”
In the same statement, UC President Michael Drake affirmed the system’s commitment to supporting transfer students, noting that 27 percent of UC undergraduates transferred from a state community college.
“The university is committed to attracting and supporting transfer students, and we look forward to continuing to partner with transfer advocates such as Governor Newsom, Assemblymember Kevin McCarty, and others in the state legislature on streamlining the transfer process,” Mr. Drake said.
The pilot will begin at the University of California–Los Angeles, requiring officials to select eight majors eligible for the program by the 2026–27 school year.
Then, it will expand to UC’s other campuses by 2028–29, requiring them to have 12 majors eligible for the program and four to be in the science, technology, engineering, or mathematics fields.
The state’s community college system already has a similar agreement with California State University.
“[The bill] delivers on a long-standing goal in California: to simplify and streamline transfer paths for hardworking, qualified community college students wishing to attend a UC or a CSU,” Mr. McCarty said in a Senate Education analysis of the bill. “Creating a universal transfer path will increase economic opportunity and prosperity for all Californians and help our state economy thrive.”
Pierce College in Los Angeles on Nov. 16, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Pierce College in Los Angeles on Nov. 16, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

However, the UC students’ association, along with the California community colleges’ student group, opposed the bill, saying in a joint letter in September to Mr. Newsom that they were concerned because the bill was drafted without input from education experts, college practitioners, and students.
Instead, the groups said students preferred a transfer program that would streamline the transfer process for all majors—not just a selected number of majors as proposed in the bill.
The groups said they supported the original version of Assembly Bill 1749, which would have required the UC system to automatically admit all students who complete an “associate degree for transfer,” as the CSU system already does.
The student associations’ letter urged Mr. Newsom to veto the bill, which they called a “hastily drafted and last-minute legislation with no student input,” and “allow for a true conversation to take place” this fall between legislators, state officials, UC officials, and student associations with the goal of proposing new transfer legislation in 2024.
“This legislation makes compromises no student would have made,” the associations said in a joint statement posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, in September. “We deserve a systemwide guarantee. Transfer reform must be created with the guidance of subject matter experts, practitioners, and students.”
The groups were not immediately available for comment on the bill’s passing.
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Micaela Ricaforte

Micaela Ricaforte

Author

Micaela Ricaforte covers education in Southern California for The Epoch Times. In addition to writing, she is passionate about music, books, and coffee.

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