Current Landscape for California’s Community College Transfer

October 9, 2020

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Title: Increasing Community College Transfers Progress and Barriers

Authors: Hans Johnson and Marisol Cuellar Mejia, with research support from Sergio Sanchez

Source: Public Policy Institute of California

California community colleges have long been instrumental to the economic and educational mobility of students, especially those from minoritized backgrounds. A new report from the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) examines trends across the transfer pipeline at California’s community colleges, shedding light on the impact COVID-19 has had on access.

According to the report’s authors, transfer-related reforms such as AB705, Guided Pathways, and Vision for Success should be directly aligned to policies and practices meant to help mitigate equity gaps. However, this must be done in conjunction with partnerships across the educational systems. The report offers a descriptive analysis of how completing transfer-level math, accumulating transferable units early on, and attaining an associate of arts degree (AA) or associate degree for transfer (ADT) can increase transfer rates among students.

The report offers the following recommendations:

  1. Develop consistent system-wide agreements between community colleges and the state’s public university systems.
  2. Monitor students’ ability to reach key milestones, such as completing gateway courses.
  3. Identify and help students who are close to transfer by conducting outreach to students and providing supports such as priority registration and counseling or advising.
  4. Given the pandemic, reach out to students who have unenrolled or are at risk of dropping out.
  5. Four-year institutions should make strategic efforts to increase transfer capacity.
  6. Strengthen ADT commitments for transfer between private non-profit institutions and community colleges.
  7. Offer clear, statewide system goals in collaboration with the governor’s office on higher education, with transfer being a priority.
  8. Identify patterns and predictors for transfer by linking data across P-12, community college, and four-year institutions.

Click here for the full report and recommendations.

—Ángel Gonzalez

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