UC system seeks to increase number of 'origin schools' for transfers

Noting the majority of transfers from community colleges to University of California campuses come from relatively few of the states' two-year schools, state and local officials this week applauded a move by the university system seeking to increase the number of transfers' origin schools.

A report, presented to the nine-campus system's board of regents Wednesday, stated that in 2012-13, the UC system enrolled at least one student from each of the 112 community colleges, but 75% of community college transfers came from 41 community colleges.

At Glendale Community College, 251 students transferred to a UC school for the 2012-13 school year, putting it in 20th place statewide. Nearby Pasadena City College was in fourth place, transferring 572 students that year, while Santa Monica College transferred the most that year with 1,057, according to statistics from the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office.

The report stated that with most students enrolling at UC campuses coming from "relatively few" community colleges in California, it "undermines UC's mission to address the broad diversity of the state's citizenry."

Kevin Meza, a transfer center coordinator at Glendale Community College, said some students on campus don't plan for attending a UC school, not thinking it a possibility.

UC schools are highly selective, he said, and some students begin preparing to apply for them as early as the seventh or eighth grades.

"It's a great opportunity for community college students though because they can still access the UCs through the transfer process...It's just making students more aware it is an option for them," Meza said.

The report recommended the UC system better identify community college students who may be good candidates for a UC school and reach out to those still in high school or just entering a community college.

It also suggested designing messages that convey that the UC system is affordable because it offers significant financial aid to students and that attending a UC school is "rewarding" because transfer students have historically performed well with rates comparable to students who entered a UC school as a freshman, according to the report.

The applications from community college students who are California residents have declined by about nine percent since 2011-12, the report stated, noting the system has seen an 11% increase in the number of international transfer applicants in that time frame.

The report also noted the $1.5 billion in state budget cuts made to the community college system that resulted in a loss of 500,000 students statewide.

It concluded the drop in applications was due to a combination of lower enrollment across the 112 community colleges, limited access to classes required for transfer and "insufficiently supported advising services," according to the report.

"Many of California's most innovative and inspiring leaders started at community colleges," said California Community College Chancellor Brice Harris in a statement supporting the recommendations. "The goal of broadening the diverse pool of community college transfers to UC is in keeping with our mission."


Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.


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