Community College Transfers Succeed at UC


Efforts to increase the numbers of California community college students who transfer to University of California (UC) campuses may get a boost from recently released findings. A Summary of the Academic Performance of California Community College Students following Their Transfer to the University of California, by Steve Handell, presents a very positive picture of California community college students who transfer to UC in terms of persistence and graduation rates. This report includes the following points:

California community college students transferring to UC persist and . . . earn Bachelor's degrees at a higher rate than community college students nationally;

Comparisons of transfer student performance versus [that of] UC native students using a standard cohort analysis reveal a high degree of similarity in academic persistence as they move toward completion of the Bachelor's degree; and

Graduations rates between transfer students and UC native students (when considered from native students' junior year) are also similar, although preliminary research indicates that the graduation rate of native students may be approximately 10 % higher than that of transfer students from community colleges.

This report should quell fears among those at UC who believe that community college transfer students are less academically capable than UC native students.

In addition, this report may encourage a greater effort by UC campuses to beef up outreach programs at community colleges. Presently UC Admissions staff have been assigned to coordinate community college articulation and outreach in numbers much lower than those for high school outreach. And UC staff members have not received sufficient training to help community college students make informed decisions. Furthermore, less than a third of UC's Admissions budget is used to support community college student recruitment (Mekis, Report on Little Hoover Commission Hearing on Community Colleges, March 25, 1999).

Yet there is reason for the community college faculty and students to remain hopeful that rates of transfer from the community colleges to UC campuses will pick up. In the fall of 1997 Chancellor Tom Nussbaum and UC President Atkinson signed a document entitled Enhancing Student Transfer: A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the California Community Colleges and the University of California. An MOU Implementation Committee, which includes faculty leaders from the community colleges as well as from UC, has been developing plans and implementing regional agreements to facilitate transfer from community colleges to UC campuses. It is this committee that sponsored the Handell report touting the success of community college students at UC campuses.