Education

University of California seeks to ease transfers for community college students

California community college students will get help transferring to University of California campuses under a new pathways program that also aims to have the students graduate within two years.
California community college students will get help transferring to University of California campuses under a new pathways program that also aims to have the students graduate within two years.
Stock photo from Bogdan Migulski/Flickr Creative Commons

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The University of California is rolling out a new program that aims to help community college students transferring to UC campuses. 

The new plan creates academic roadmaps for students planning to take on any of 10 popular majors in the university system.

Students looking to transfer, say as a biology or physics major, would have a path laid out to meet the university’s entry requirements and proceed to graduation. Plans call for the university to create similar pathways for 11 more majors later this year. 

UC spokeswoman Shelly Meron said the new program is aimed at simplifying things for all transfer students.

“It’s a priority for us to help them,” she said. "Today’s announcement is really about giving them a single set of courses and streamlining the process."

The move comes as UC’s enrollment of California high school students has declined while that for out-of-state and foreign students has increased, the Associated Press reported.

UC said last week it accepted 92,324 freshmen for the fall, of which 67 percent are California residents. The 61,834 Californian students offered a spot are 1,039 fewer than last year while non-residents offered entry grew to 15,173, or 3,453 more than last fall.

The number of California students accepted by UC has been a sensitive subject for lawmakers who recently tied a $25 million increase in funding for the university system to enrollment of 5,000 in-state students in about a year's time.

UC's new Transfer Pathways program sets out a guide for community college students to transfer using the same set of standards for all nine campuses that accept undergraduates.

Instead of each UC campus having a different set of requirements, community college students can now prepare for transfer using uniform criteria for all locations.

The program also aims to help the students graduate within two years following their transfer. 

“This is a significant step for the University of California, one that will help us serve our students and the state,” UC President Janet Napolitano said in a news release. “UC enrolls more community college transfer students than any university of its caliber in the nation. These pathways will provide essential guidance to those who are pursuing a UC education and need a clear plan for moving forward.”

According to UC, 30 percent of entering undergraduates are transfers, with 90 percent coming from a California community college. More than half of those transferring from community colleges are first-generation or low-income, the university said.

Those who transfer from community colleges “do quite well at the university and graduate at a rate that’s equal to or higher than students who start as freshmen at the university,” UC stated.

The new UC program “adds to the work we have been doing with other four-year partners to streamline transfer and expand options for our talented students,” California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice W. Harris said in a statement.

More information on the UC's Transfer Pathways program is available on the university system's website.