Transforming Transfer

Nearly 80% of community college students nationwide intend to transfer to a four-year institution, but only 16% of students who start in community colleges earn bachelor’s degrees within six years.

For most students, community colleges are the first stop in their educational journey. However, transfer, as practiced today, produces dismal, inequitable outcomes that deflate student’s educational goals, limit their economic mobility, and diminish their full human and economic potential.  For too long, a convoluted transfer system has delayed and denied many students from earning their bachelor’s degrees. A lack of coordination leaves students to piece together an education plan with inconsistent requirements demanded by the different systems, schools, and departments. These inconsistencies mean students spend more time and money attempting to transfer, leading to alarmingly low transfer rates.

Troubling new research recently published confirms what we instinctively know to be true: there are two Americas, separated by those with a college degree and those without. For the first time, college attainment is the single most important determinant of life expectancy. The typical community college student is older, poorer, works more hours, has more family responsibilities, is more likely to be of a diverse racial/ethnic background, and is less likely to have parents who attended college. The ability to ensure that students successfully transfer and earn a bachelor’s degree produces strong economic returns to students, their families, California, and the nation, as individuals who complete a bachelor’s degree earn 63% more than those with only a high school degree. Transfer students deserve a system that works. 

Key Facts: Transfer Nationwide

California: A Leader in Transforming Transfer

The golden state is a leader in simplifying transfer for community college students, and the Campaign for College Opportunity is proud to have ushered in historic policy contributing to strengthened transfer. In 2010, the Campaign proudly co-sponsored SB 1440 (Padilla), which continues to simplify the transfer process through the groundbreaking Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT). The Associate Degree for Transfer has since streamlined transfer for nearly 500,000 students with tremendous benefits, such as faster time to degree and guaranteed junior standing when transferring to the California State University (CSU).

Despite the benefits and marked progress, students were experiencing uneven implementation of the ADT. Upon hearing directly from students, The Campaign was proud to continue building on the success of the ADT with AB 928. Thanks to the leadership of Governor Gavin Newsom, Lieutenant Governor Kounalakis, Assemblymember Marc Berman, and a diverse coalition of student leaders, higher education leaders, higher education advocates, and community partners, California is further opening the doors to transformative, student-centered transfer and closing racial/ethnic equity gaps.

I came into college not knowing what was necessary to transfer. My counselor at Pasadena City College introduced me to the ADT when I was a freshman and I immediately knew this was the pathway for me. This degree allowed me to save money and time in college – while also guaranteeing me admission to a CSU. Thanks to the ADT I reached my goal of graduating and transferring in 2 years!
Elizabeth Moreno, Student, Cal Poly Pomona

AB 928 Streamlines Pathways to a Four-Year Degree By:

  • Establishing a public intersegmental committee with membership from students, K-12 schools, community colleges, and public and private universities with a unified goal to simplify transfer. 
  • Consolidating the University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU)’s general education transfer pathways for students to a singular pathway, allowing students to save time and money while meeting admission requirements for both systems.
  • Placing community college students with an intent to transfer onto an Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) pathway when they are aligned with the student’s intended major.
Award Seal

Recognizing Champions of Higher Education

Since 2016, the Campaign has proudly recognized top performing California Community Colleges and California State Universities that are leading for student success by implementing the Associate Degree for Transfer. Learn about our honorees each year: