CSU revamps AA degree for transfer students

by Stephanie Saccente

02_21_13_News_CommunityCollege_ThinkstockThe California State University system partnered up with California Community Colleges to ensure success for graduates.

Once community college students have met the general education and major requirements for the transfer associate degree, they are guaranteed a spot at a CSU school, according to the Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act (SB 1440).

California Community Colleges Deputy Chancellor Erik Skinner said in September 2010, SB 1440 was established to create clear pathways for transfer students between California Community Colleges and the CSU systems.

In addition to guaranteeing access to the CSU system, the bill minimizes the need to take extra lower division courses when applying to multiple CSUs because all school admission requirements will be the same.

Skinner also said transfer students to CSU campuses often find they have to retake courses they already took as community college students. He said this will no longer be an issue.

“Those inefficiencies of both the lower division and the upper division were corrected through Senate Bill 1440 and therefore, this initiative is going to achieve significant efficiencies in both systems,” Skinner said at a media briefing yesterday.

The California Community Colleges Board of Governors established a goal of having 80 percent  of all majors covered by the transfer associate degrees by Fall 2013 and 100 percent of them covered by 2014.

“While there is still significant work ahead, I think it’s safe to say that this transfer reform is on its way to implementation,” Skinner said. “California students are going to be the primary beneficiaries of this both because of the ease of transfer through the statewide streamline pathways and the additional access that is going to be established at the CSU and the community college levels.”

ADegreeWithAGuarantee.com was launched last fall to provide students a comprehensive site to learn more about the transfer associate degree program. CSU Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer Ephraim Smith said ADegreeWithAGuarntee.com was launched in order to provide students with information on how to apply, the transfer majors available and the overall process.

Officials from California Community Colleges and CSUs estimate that reducing the reform will serve 40,000 more community college students and 13,000 more CSU students per year.