Editorial – Surviving the transfer system

The future forecast for community college students looks cloudy with no chance of sunshine to transfer.

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A Sunny Future- Cal State Northridge is one of the colleges where students hope to transfer. (California State University)

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The future forecast for community college students looks cloudy with no chance of sunshine to transfer.

It’s a depressing thought but it’s becoming a reality, and it doesn’t seem likely to change any day soon.

The fact is budget cuts left students with a minimal amount of courses to choose from, limited number of instructors to teach and, on top of that, universities reduced how many students they were accepting as transfers.

In other words, transfer students got screwed and big time.

Alas, the voices of hopeful Cal State University transfers have been heard and action is being taken to meet the needs.

Bringing light to gray skies, the Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act has been created to make the transition for students from a community college to a CSU faster, more efficient and simpler; in fact cutting time to one and a half years for students to graduate from a Cal State University.

It will require that California Community Colleges grant an associate degree in the student’s major of interest that will allow them to transfer to a Cal State University to continue in the school’s baccalaureate program.

All that is required of the student is that they fulfill the requirements; which includes completing 60 units with at least 18 of those units spent in courses related to their desired major.

This bill also prohibits community colleges from placing any more requirements for students working toward an associate degree.

Junior status would be guaranteed for transfers who meet the requirements; however, it does not secure admission to student’s major or campus of choice, but it does promise priority admission to a program similar to their major or area of interest at the community college.

Also, Cal States cannot make transfers retake classes that are similar to those taken at the community college.

Are there any ‘Amens!’ in the house?

It finally seems as though something is being done for transfer students. Transfer hopefuls, after all, work hard and wait patiently to get admission to a Cal State.

State Sen. Alex Padilla of San Fernando Valley is to thank for presenting this bill.

There are many students who complete the required 60 units to get an associate’s degree and with that expect to be able to transfer to a Cal State, yet are denied admission.

Rejection leaves students to occupy their time at community college taking more classes until they get accepted to a CSU: a waiting process that can take years.

This wastes time and money and it prolongs graduation with a bachelor’s degree and delays the students’ plans to start their careers.

Times were simpler in 1960 when education was cheap; but there were also not a lot of people who wanted to go to school.

That’s why they created the Master Plan of Higher Education, which stated that Cal State could choose from the top third percent of high school graduates and community colleges would accept anyone who applied.

Well, guess what? The state is out of cash and there are no jobs, so it’s no surprise that people are going back to school to get degrees so they can get work.

The universities haven’t been making that easy at all.

Not only are there limited seats in the classroom but then they expect students to pay an outlandish amount for tuition. The increases made in tuition is supposed to help create more financial aid for students who don’t have sufficient funds.

But seriously, who does these days? Tuition at the universities have doubled or tripled in amount since 1960.

The Master Plan had visualized community colleges as being the stepping stone for a student who hoped to transfer to a university, but that was when community college was free.

The truth is, times have changed and the system needs to change with it in order to accommodate those who are really trying to make something of themselves. It shouldn’t be made hard for the hard working.

This bill is overdue and it has taken too long for something to be done to help struggling students reach their higher education.

The quality of education should not be sacrificed and the students should not be punished with expensive and time consuming obstacles.

 

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