Governor Gavin Newsom Signs Package of Historic Bills to Transform Community College Transfer

New laws —AB 928 & AB 1111— will streamline the transfer process for millions of California students

Today, Governor Gavin Newsom signed critical legislation—Assembly Bill 928 and Assembly Bill 1111—that will fundamentally transform the way community college students transfer to a university in California. Authored by higher education and student champion Assemblymember Marc Berman, these ambitious policies were sponsored by the Campaign for College Opportunity and supported by a courageous group of stakeholders including co-sponsor Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis, and the California State University (CSU) and student leaders from the CSU, University of California (UC), and community colleges. Understanding the urgency and importance of fixing transfer, policymakers moved AB 928 and AB 1111 through the legislature with unanimous support.

AB 928 creates a general education transfer pathway for students to become eligible to the UC and CSU; establishes a committee representing K-12 schools, community colleges and public and private universities dedicated to simplifying transfer; and places community college students onto the Associate Degree for Transfer pathway to increase their likelihood of transferring successfully. AB 1111 requires the 116 community colleges to adopt a common course numbering system that would be accessible and easy to understand for students. Read more

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New Research: Examining Disparities in College Opportunity by Gender for Black Californians

Startling Trend: More Black Women in California Are Transferring to For-Profit Institutions than the University of California and California State University combined

Today, the Campaign for College Opportunity published “Examining Disparities in College Opportunity by Gender for Black Californians.” A follow-up to our February 2021 State of Higher Education for Black Californians report, this publication explores additional findings on completion rates for California’s Black men and women in the California Community Colleges, the California State University (CSU) and the University of California (UC). The report finds that while a growing number of Black Californians are earning college degrees, there are troubling gaps in access and success for Black students, with pronounced inequities by gender. Read more


The final budget reflects a historic commitment to affordability and reinvests significantly in California Community Colleges, California State University and University of California systems.

On Tuesday, July 27th, Governor Gavin Newsom signed the higher education section of the California State Budget. At a time when college opportunity is essential to a pandemic recovery, the Governor and Legislature make significant investments in college affordability and pathways into and through college. The Governor’s “California Comeback Plan” includes a historic $47.1 billion for the University of California (UC), California State University (CSU), California Community Colleges (CCC) and financial aid.

“The historic investments Governor Newsom and our Legislature make today to ensure college is more affordable and accessible are critical to California’s recovery and our future. It is a fact that college-educated individuals were more likely to stay employed and out of poverty during the pandemic than those with only a high school education, and the more college-educated Californians we have and the better we do at closing racial equity gaps in college going and attainment, the more resilient California will be in the face of future pandemics and economic downturns,” said Michele Siqueiros, president of the Campaign for College Opportunity.

“This is a historic budget that sets California on a path to recover from the pandemic with equity. Governor Newsom and the Legislature have taken extraordinary steps to support historically excluded, minoritized and low-income students to get on a college track early, have the financial aid they need to make college a reality, have open seats waiting for them at the UC and CSU, and have strong pathways through college that ensure they don’t fall through the cracks. This is the leadership required for a California Comeback,” concluded Siqueiros. Read more

Dr. Daisy Gonzales, a Product of California Public Colleges, is Named Acting Chancellor of the California Community Colleges

Today, the California Community Colleges Board of Governors named Dr. Daisy Gonzales acting chancellor of the California Community Colleges. Dr. Gonzales is the first Latina and only the second woman to assume this position. Currently the system’s Deputy Chancellor, Dr. Gonzales will succeed Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley as he joins the Biden administration in the exciting role of special advisor to U.S. education secretary Miguel Cardona until his return in the late fall.

“Students have and always will be Dr. Daisy Gonzales’ north star,” said Michele Siqueiros, president of the Campaign for College Opportunity. “Her appointment as acting chancellor of the nation’s largest community college system is monumental for students and good for California. She is a tireless advocate for improving student outcomes and closing racial inequities that persist in higher education. She is a student-centered leader that can ensure more California students have the opportunity to go to college and succeed regardless of their race/ethnicity, income status, or zip code.” Read more

California Leaves Nearly $100 Million on the Table Annually By Underutilizing Successful Community College Transfer Pathway

By not scaling the Associate Degree for Transfer, Less Than 3% of Community College Students Transfer After 2 Years; Less than half after 6 Years

Less than 3% of California community college students transfer in two years, 23% in four years, and 40% in six years, according to a report released today by the Campaign for College Opportunity titled, “Chutes or Ladders: Strengthening California Community College Transfer So More Students Earn the Degrees They Seek.”

The report finds that students are up against multiple barriers, including duplicative, ever-changing coursework requirements and a lack of unified, systemwide, transferrable course agreements between colleges and universities. The result is that students accumulate approximately 25 – 31 excess course credits, spending far too much time and money attempting to transfer and earn their bachelor’s degrees. Even after six years, 60% do not transfer at all.

Strengthening implementation of the Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) is the proven solution to eliminating these barriers. The ADT pathway, created in 2010 via the Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act (SB 1440 Padilla), is a streamlined transfer pathway that provides students with a 60-unit coursework path and guarantees admission to the California State University (CSU) with junior standing. The ADT was created to simplify and streamline transfer and to become the preferred path by which all California Community College students transfer. Over the last ten years, the Associate Degree for Transfer has improved the transfer pathway: Read more

Read the report

Governor Newsom Makes Additional $12 Billion Commitment to Higher Education, Calls for 70% of California Adults to Have a College Credential

The new budget reflects a historic commitment to affordability via student housing and reinvests significantly in California Community Colleges, California State and University of California systems.

Governor Gavin Newsom proposed a once-in-a-generation $12 billion increase for higher education over his January proposal, with sweeping one-time and ongoing investments in college affordability, strengthening college pathways, improving time to degree and graduation, while also addressing the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on students. The investments are focused on helping students that stand to benefit the most from higher education while closing persistent racial equity gaps that have only become worse during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Governor’s May budget proposal is in stark contrast to the budget outlook in January.

The total higher education budget proposed in the Governor’s May Revise stands at $48 billion, up from $36 billion in January. The largest and most significant investment is a one-time, $4 billion allocation to establish a low-cost student housing grant program to expand affordable student housing options, tackling head-on the housing crisis amongst California students, a key driver of college affordability. The Governor also proposes making financial aid for summer courses a permanent offering at the University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU), while maintaining his commitment to the current Cal Grant program.

“This historic investment in student housing will go a long way toward meeting students’ basic needs and freeing up critical resources for college. In partnership with the legislature, the Governor has the opportunity to make college even more affordable by investing in the Cal Grant Equity Framework which would open the door to state aid for hundreds of thousands of low-income students, particularly in our community colleges, so they are supported in enrolling in and completing college,” said Jessie Ryan, executive vice president of the Campaign for College Opportunity. Read more

California’s $133 Billion Payoff: Increasing College Degree Attainment and Closing Racial Equity Gaps Yields Incredible Economic Benefits for the State and Its Residents

California will generate $133 billion in additional state and federal revenue, and residents will gain $435 billion in additional income by 2030 by increasing college degree production and closing racial equity gaps, according to California’s Biggest Return, a publication released today by the Campaign for College Opportunity.

To reap billions in state and federal revenues, California must ensure 60% of Black; Latinx; American Indian/Alaska Native; Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander; and white residents hold a degree or high-value credential by 2030. When California reaches the 60% college attainment for all racial/ethnic group milestone, individuals and the state win big! With an investment of $79 billion, the state will see:

Additional revenue for California residents by 2030

  • $435 billion in cumulative additional income before taxes
  • $329 billion in cumulative additional money to spend or save after taxes
  • A rise in the average income among Latinx Californians in the workforce by $9,621 per year
  • A rise in the average income among Black Californians in the workforce by $4,196 per year
  • A rise in the average income among American Indian/Alaska Native Californians in the workforce by $8,882 per year

Read more

New Research: “The State of Higher Education For Black Californians” California Must Do More To Ensure Black Students Are Supported To Earn College Degrees

Targeted support for Black students is needed to counteract the devastating effects of COVID-19 and historic racial injustice in our state.

Today, the Campaign for College Opportunity released “The State of Higher Education for Black Californians,” a landmark report that details the current state of college preparation, access and success for Black residents and offers a series of concrete action steps to increase college opportunity.

California is home to the fifth-largest Black population in the United States, with just over 2.1 million Black residents living in the state. Black Californians are a significant part of the social, cultural, and economic fabric of the state contributing to everything from our aerospace industry, Hollywood, the fight for civil rights, to our political institutions. But in many ways, California has excluded Black Californians from full citizenship and freedom through racist policies providing inadequate public funding to predominantly Black schools, ensuring too many Black Californians lack access to high-quality schools and college preparation, and contributing to generations of poverty, mass incarceration, and limited social mobility.

Black students and their families understand the importance of a college education and there is good news to share: Read more

New Research Finds that California Must Do More to Support Formerly and Currently Incarcerated Students Seeking to Earn a College Degree

Today, the Campaign for College Opportunity released “The Possibility Report: From Prison to College Degrees in California,” a research publication that provides demographics on California’s incarcerated and paroled populations, highlights the unique barriers currently and formerly incarcerated students face on their path toward a degree and provides recommendations for college campuses and the state to increase college opportunity for these students.

Currently, of the 650,000 Californians who are incarcerated, on parole, or on probation, fewer than 20,000 (less than three percent) are enrolled in some form of higher education. Increasing college success among these individuals would benefit the students and the state, as, one study estimated that if 50% of college-eligible incarcerated Californians participated in a postsecondary prison education program, the state could potentially save $66.6 million per year. However, currently and formerly incarcerated students face a unique set of barriers to obtaining their degrees.

Through a series of focus groups with formerly incarcerated individuals who are attending or have attended a public college or university in California, the Campaign for College Opportunity learned that inconsistent services, messages, and policies work against the success of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated students. The focus groups revealed: Read more

Aleksandra Reetz, Advisor to LTG Kounalakis, Honored for Student-Centered Policy

The Campaign for College Opportunity recently recognized Aleksandra Reetz, policy advisor to California Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis, at their second annual Legislative Deans List Reception. Reetz was honored with Distinction in Student-Centered Policy Leadership for her efforts in informing the Lieutenant Governor’s work on the California State University (CSU) and University of California (UC) governing boards. Her policy expertise supported the Lt. Governor in protecting access to the CSU and UC, as she engaged in critical conversations on admissions changes that threatened to make California’s public universities more selective than ever before.

“Aleksandra Reetz has established herself as a highly effective policy advisor and true ally in the work to protect and increase college access and success for California students,” said Jessie Ryan, executive vice president of the Campaign for College Opportunity. Read more