By Marlen Chinos
With the help of the Associate Degree for Transfer program, spring term will bring 1,600 streamlined transfer degrees for California community college students.
Now in its third year, the Associate Degree for Transfer program will help California community college students receive priority admission to a California State University campus.
“At the core of the Associate Degree for Transfer is the promise of having an opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree at a California State University,” said Fernando Marquez, an admissions and outreach counselor at Cal Poly Pomona, via email. “With the current state of higher education, we need this commitment more now than ever as transfer students continue to deal with more and more hurdles to find a seat at a four-year institution.”
In order to help support the Associate Degree for Transfer Program, the CSU has reduced the number of units required to earn a bachelor’s degree. Once admitted, students are only required to complete an additional 60 units in order to earn a bachelor’s degree.
“The Associate Degree for Transfer was created to give students the opportunity to com-plete two degrees with only 120 units,” said Stephanie Thara, CSU public affairs communications specialist.
“If you apply and are admitted into a similar degree program, students with the Associates Degree for Transfer enter the CSU system from the California Community Colleges with junior standing and will only need 60 more semester units or 90 quarter units in order to complete a bachelor’s degree.”
Paul Feist, Vice Chancellor for California Community Colleges said that it makes transfer-ring even easier.
“It takes a lot of the mystery off of transferring to a four-year institution,” said Feist. “It provides [students] with some insurance that they’ll be able to take 60 units and be able to transfer to a four-year institution. Whereas before, often times they ended up having to take excessive 60 units, even up to 80 units, to assemble the correct coursework that will enable them to transfer.”
The program’s website make it easy for students to create a roadmap.
“If you look at the Associate Degree for Transfer website, you can see the different paths that you want to take,” said Thara. “For example, if your path is biology, you click on your community college, and you click on the pathway to biology, and it tells you all the CSUs that offer a degree in biology and that offer a transfer pathway from any particular community college. It tells you exactly what classes you need to take, guaranteeing you a seat at the CSU.”
In the 2013-14 academic year, the transfer program’s popularity skyrocketed. According to Thara, the program has conferred 12,000 degrees, and 7,000 of those students are already at CSUs.
“That is 7,000 more students that would have not before because they did not have this opportunity,” said Thara.
CSU officials said that this new program should not affect first-time freshmen and current CSU students.
“It is not going to affect the first time freshmen enrollment whatsoever,” said Thara. “It is not going to be detrimental. In fact, it is going to be actually positive because more students in California are getting the opportunity of a higher education.”
Marquez said the Associate Degree for Transfer program has increased student transfer applicants at CPP.
“Cal Poly Pomona did see the number of applicants increase, and will more than likely see applicants increase as word and knowledge of the program continues to spread,” said Marquez.
Although the Associate Degree for Transfer program is still a work in progress, many believe in its future success.
“[It] is not the end-all be-all solution; it definitely has its limitations,” said Marquez. “However, I think [it] is a step in the right direction of ensuring access to higher education within the state of California. There is still much work to be done as more are approved and articulated between each community college and each Cal State.”
Thara said that the CSU’s mission is to make higher education accessible for every eligible student in California.
“Through this program they are able to take different roads to the CSU, whether it be from high school to the CSU, or a community college to the CSU,” said Thara. “We want to make sure to implement streamline pathways so these students can easily get into the California State University and receive a high quality, affordable, education.”
Monica Lopez / The Poly Post
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