Governor Signs Transfer Bill, Action Still Needed to Ensure Guaranteed Access to the University Of California

October 10th, 2023

Today, Governor Newsom signed AB 1291, a pilot program that has the potential for the University of California (UC) to strengthen its transfer pipeline by aligning its pathways to the highly successful Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT). While we are appreciative of the Governor and Legislature for recognizing the value and untapped potential of the ADT, and for setting the foundation upon which the UC will be expected to meaningfully participate in the ADT, we know this pilot program is only a critical first step in moving the UC toward utilizing the ADT as a systemwide admissions guarantee. To meet our shared vision for a student-centered transfer process, the UC system, Legislature, Governor, and education equity advocates across the state will need to collectively ensure that this pilot program’s baseline commitments do not become justification for rationing access for transfer students or for complacency in further simplifying transfer to the UC system.

Since the inception of the ADT in 2010 through our historic legislation SB 1440, authored by now U.S. Senator Padilla, efforts have been underway to create a singular pathway from California Community Colleges to the UC and California State University (CSU), thereby simplifying an unnavigable maze that stops thousands of hardworking students from transferring to a four-year university and reaching their college dreams every year.  With over 480,000 ADTs conferred since 2010, granting thousands of students guaranteed admission to the CSU with junior standing, the ADT now represents the preferred transfer pathway in California. However, even with the signing of AB 1291, critical work remains to ensure that students seeking to transfer to the UC can benefit from this same streamlined transfer pathway to cut through the transfer maze. California has the opportunity to outline a path toward bold, systemic, and intersegmental reforms to strengthen the ADT:  the AB 928 Intersegmental Implementation Committee—which includes UC student, systemwide executive, and faculty input—is finalizing their recommendations to create new STEM ADT pathways, reengage ADT earners, and set statewide transfer attainment goals. We will continue to urge the UC to rise to meet these goals in better service to our students.

Transfer should not be this hard. We stand alongside student leaders, researchers, and advocates alike, ready to continue to elevate the need to comprehensively repair a broken transfer system, and to ensure that student voice is centered in the creation of a simplified transfer process that generates the workforce our state needs to remain economically competitive in this knowledge-based economy.