Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into action a new Senate bill that will help reform the transfer process from California community colleges (CCC) to California State University (CSU) schools.
Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) authored SB 1440, also known as the Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act.
He said the bill includes requirements such as the creation of a transfer degree in certain areas of emphasis, guaranteed admission with completion of the coursework, guaranteed admission with junior status, and to prohibit the CCC and CSU from requiring unnecessary classes.
“For as much attention that’s being put on the high school graduation versus the drop out rate, there’s still a lot people that are getting through high school, going to college but not graduating within four, five or six years,” Padilla said.
He said that when he learned that 73 percent of students in higher education are not in the CSUs but still at the community college level, he knew something needed to be done.
“Of students in community college who are there to take some classes and transfer in two years, only 25 percent are actually successful in that,” Padilla said.
Padilla said their goal was to improve upon and simplify the transfer process and to make it easier for students to complete community college coursework and then move on to the university and succeed.
He said not only will the bill help students get to the CSU easier but will also help them once they are at the university.
“We already can expect for not only more students to successfully transfer from community colleges to CSUs, but also for them to graduate on a timely basis,” Padilla said.
The senator added that with the prohibition of the CCC and CSU requiring extra coursework, regardless of the student’s major, costs to the student and the system will be minimized.
Dr. Cynthia Rawitch, associate vice president of undergraduate studies, said SB 1440 would help perspective CSUN students.
“What it basically will require is that students who take course work in GE and toward their major, that the course work is recognized and counted when they transfer to the CSU campus,” Rawitch said.
She said SB 1440 is, in essence, making the transfer process much easier and smoother for students.
“On our campus we have an extraordinarily good relationship with our feeder community colleges,” Rawitch said. “We have about 20-25 that are in the greater Los Angeles area. Students do come in and get credit for as much as we can give them.”
Rawitch said this new act is for those students that are coming from somewhere else in the system, like parts of California that don’t have this relationship.
“It makes it more consistent throughout the state no matter what community college you go to and no matter what CSU you’re coming to,” Rawitch said.
She said that with this new law the Associates degree earned at the community college must include the GE and lower division major units needed to go to the CSU.
“In the past you could earn an AA degree at community college that would not include everything you need to transfer to a CSU as a junior,” Rawitch said.
She said CSUN admits up to about 5,000 new transfer students each year and this number would most likely not change very much with this new law.
“We won’t see the impact of it for two years or more,” Rawitch added.
Junior Carissa Pohl, 21, said she had some difficulty transferring her units from her community college to CSUN.
“I took a Statistics for Psychology majors class and I was getting mixed results from CSUN that for some people it was actually counting for their upper division math and for some people CSUN wasn’t accepting it,” the English major said.
Pohl said CSUN needs to make the rules clear as to which classes are accepted or not accepted.
Pohl said she agrees with the new law of creating degrees with certain areas of emphasis.
“That way (students) spend more time at the community college trying to figure out what they want to do
instead of wasting CSUN’s time,” Pohl said.