Transfer Troubles in California

New research finds that community college students aren't transferring successfully to 4-year colleges.

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California may be known worldwide for its inclusive, affordable, accessible network of higher education institutions, but a recent report highlights a schism in the system: Students are having an extremely difficult time transferring out of community colleges into four-year schools, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The research, conducted by the Institute for Higher Education Leadership and Policy at Cal State-Sacramento, shows that of the nearly 3 million students who attended a California community college during the 2007-2008 academic year, just 106,000 successfully transferred to University of California or California State University campuses, private colleges, or out-of-state schools. The report also found that if this trend continues, by 2025, there will be 1 million more jobs for college graduates in California than there are degree-holding residents.

"The issue is not new, but the problem is taking on increasingly large dimensions," says Nancy Shulock, the institute's executive director. "It's a pretty straight line—you can connect the dots between the number of educated people we have and the economic future of the state."

The growing numbers of community college students who are the first in their families to go to college could increase the challenges for schools, Shulock adds: Colleges simply cannot supply the level of counseling and guidance that many of these students need to succeed.

The report's authors advocate the creation of transfer student associate degrees, which would ensure that all transfer students meet the same basic requirements to transfer into all of California's public colleges and universities.

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