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10 Years After Historic Transfer Reform: How far have we come and where do we need to go?

Transfer from California’s community colleges to its public universities has long been central to the state’s higher education system. Though most of the 2.2 million community college students intend to transfer, fewer than half do so within six years of their initial enrollment.

A low transfer rate is bad news for California. The state’s economy needs 1.65 million more college degrees and credentials by 2030 in order to meet workforce demand, and 70 percent of all college students in California attend a community college. Most of those students are Latinx, Black, and students from several Asian subgroups.

If the majority of students in college in California are in our community colleges and the majority of those students belong to racial/ethnic groups with low bachelor’s degree attainment, then improving transfer is key to producing the bachelor’s degrees we need. That is why in 2010, the Campaign for College Opportunity sponsored historic legislation to create the Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) and significantly increase the number of students who transfer with a degree in hand and earn junior standing at the California State University (CSU).

Good News

In the 10 years since the creation of the ADT—or as it is often called, a “Degree with a Guarantee”—the system has awarded 217,611 ADTs.