Transfer Pathway Reform

For decades, transferring from California Community Colleges has challenged students, often requiring them to aim for multiple moving targets.


coursework requirements that differ from campus to campus, and sometimes change from year to year

community college students frequently take courses to prepare for transfer to multiple campuses, or retake courses after transferring

students do not always earn an associate degree at the time of transfer

Beyond the impacts on individual students, the challenging transfer process leads to profound impacts on the systems too. Transfer students are graduating with a bachelor’s degree from the CSU with, on average, 40 units they don’t need-20 at the community college and 20 at the CSU. This means that both students and the state are spending more time and money on the degrees earned.

By reducing the amount of excess units students earn by 10 in each system…

the amount in millions the state would maximize their investment by this amount annually
additional students would be able to get the classes they need in the community colleges
additional students would be able to enroll in the California State University system

SB 1440 (Padilla), signed by Governor Schwarzenegger in 2010*, sought to change all of that.

Transfer Pathway Reform_pathway

aligns transfer requirements with those for an associate degree, creating Associate Degrees for Transfer, in a major or area of emphasis

60 community college units + 60 California State University units pathway

guarantees admission into the CSU system with junior standing

*AB 2302 (Fong) was also passed in 2010, which requested that a pathway similar to SB 1440 to be developed for students transferring into the University of California system.


Since the passage of SB 1440 in 2010, The Campaign for College Opportunity and other entities have monitored implementation and provided reports on progress. The bottom line: much has been done, but implementation varies widely throughout the state at both community college and CSU campuses. In 2013, Senator Alex Padilla authored clean-up legislation, SB 440, to ensure that transfer reform is implemented according to the intent of the original legislation. It was signed by Governor Brown in October 2013


Keeping the Promise: Going the Distance on Transfer Reform

In 2016, the Campaign released Keeping the Promise: Going the Distance on Transfer Reform, this report is a comprehensive, independent examination of the community college to CSU transfer pathway since state lawmakers enacted Senate Bill 1440, the Student Transfer Achievement Reform (STAR) Act, in 2010 to significantly increase the number of students whotransfer.  This report found significant improvements in the creation of a seamless transfer pathway between California Community Colleges and the California State Universities (CSU) but more progress is needed to ensure that every student who wants to transfer is directed to the pathway and reaches their goal of a Bachelor’s degree.

Executive Summary

Full Report

Meeting Compliance, but Missing the Mark

In 2012, the Campaign released Meeting Compliance, but Missing the Mark, a report that examined how well California Community Colleges and California State Universites were progressing in terms SB 1440 implementation. The report found that, while there have been some major highlights in implementation of the law, many colleges and CSU campuses through the state are lagging. The report also highlights reasons for progress or a lack thereof, and includes recommendations to fulfill the original intent of legislation. A regularly-updated data addendum below identifies the level of campus compliance by system.

Executive Summary

Full Report

Webinar reviewing key findings & recommendations

“Demonstrated Excellence” reports provide examples of what is working now to improve student success. Below you’ll find individual profiles of the featured effective practices from across the state that are working to implement the Associate Degree for Transfer Program.

Moorpark College

CSU Long Beach

CSU Fullerton