Library stacks Photo by John Carleton

A Clearer Path to Opportunity

“Seamless” transfer process expands access to four-year degrees in California

New study shows that California has made important strides in creating a pathway for students from community college to public universities — but more progress is needed

Six years ago, California took a historic step toward expanding access to higher education. The Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act, passed in 2010, provided community college students who completed a specified amount of coursework with guaranteed admission—and a clearer path—into the California State University (CSU) system.

A new study released by the Campaign for College Opportunity shows that the 2010 law has resulted in a dramatic increase in students awarded an Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT). At the same time, only 4 percent of the state’s community college students transfer annually. As the study shows, more progress is needed to ensure that every student who wants to transfer can take advantage of the reforms and reach the goal of attaining a bachelor’s degree.

“This report shows that good policy, if faithfully implemented, will improve educational outcomes for our students. The fact that the number of students earning an ADT has nearly doubled every year and nearly all of those students who apply to CSU enroll, tells us this is working,” said Michele Siqueiros, president of the Campaign for College Opportunity. She continued, “But, if we are going to move the needle on producing more bachelor’s degrees to meet state economic demand, then we still have to go the distance and ensure this is the primary way by which a majority of community college students transfer to the CSU.”