COSTA MESA — Despite budget cuts, fewer class offerings and an influx of students, Orange Coast College set a record last year for student transfers to four-year universities, campus officials said.
OCC ranked No. 1 among 110 community colleges statewide.
The Costa Mesa campus sent 2,274 students to University of California campuses and California State University schools in 2010-11.
OCC has a tradition of being highly ranked in transfers, and gaining No. 1 status in a tough economic climate made the honor a little more meaningful, said college President Dennis Harkins.
The ranking points to the college's positive climate of collaboration among teachers, administrators and staff to support student success, he said, adding that OCC has worked hard to maintain transfer agreements with four-year universities.
The tough economy also has students showing a higher level of commitment and working harder to get better grades as the four-year universities are becoming more competitive, he said.
"These are probably some of the most difficult times for students in higher education," Harkins said. "Indirectly, I think the economy has people more focused on getting to their long-term goals."
OCC, which is part of the Coast Community College District, ranked ahead of No. 2 De Anza College near San Jose and No. 3 Santa Monica College.