GCC aims at state transfer goal

State community college officials unveiled a new goal this week to increase the number of students who transfer to four-year schools, or earn certificates or degrees, and Glendale Community College will need to make some gains to reach the target.

Over the next 10 years, state officials want 225,000 more students to earn degrees or transfer to four-year schools spread out over that time period. By the time the class of 2023-24 graduates, the goal is to have 62% of students across 112 campuses reach one of those two objectives — a significant boost from the current 48%.

Glendale Community College has seen recent declines in transfers to four-year schools. In 2012-13, the year with the most recent available data, 825 students transferred to UC campuses or Cal State universities, down from the 1,037 in 2011-12.

Local college officials said the declines were due, in part, to CSU campuses not accepting spring-semester transfers in 2012-13 and the UC schools raising their tuition.

Still, the college has fared better than the state average for transfer and completion rates.

Of all the students who were tracked on the Glendale campus from 2007 through 2013, 54% went on to earn a certificate, degree or transfer to a four-year school. Statewide, an average of 48% accomplished the same success, and in Los Angeles, that average was even lower at 41%.

Glendale Community College officials remain optimistic a combination of new statewide initiatives will help them reach the new goal.

Under the newly implemented Student Success Act, high school graduates who are entering community colleges are given priority registration for classes — one new component designed to get students through two-year colleges more quickly, said Ann Ransford, a college trustee.

Ransford also thinks the new Common Core state standards — known for promoting more critical thinking — will result in students being better prepared for college-level work.

Students are now required to create educational plans when entering community colleges, indicating which degree they want to earn or which major they intend to study.

"I think everything is moving in the direction to make that happen," Ransford said of increasing student achievement.

However, she added that the college would not lose sight of the students who are unsure of what they'll study or those who lack the same abilities as others to stay on track.

"We want to keep a balance and stay aware of the student that really needs our support to be successful, too," Ransford said.

It will be up to each college to implement its own improved completion-rate targets, according to Community Colleges Chancellor Brice Harris.

"In a state as diverse as ours, we do not want to bind districts to a one-size-fits-all approach to improving completion, but we do expect all districts will thoughtfully develop local targets to help more students achieve their educational goals and collectively move our state forward," he said.

Copyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World