UC Program Is Pushing for More Community College Transfers

Beginnings/ Sophomore Aimme Ruiz who is studying psychology at Merced, is one of the beneficiaries of the UC Referral Guarantee, a second chance program for applicants who were rejected at other universities in the UC system. / Genaro Molina / TNS

Beginnings / Sophomore Aimme Ruiz who is studying psychology at Merced, is one of the beneficiaries of the UC Referral Guarantee, a second chance program for applicants who were rejected at other universities in the UC system. / Genaro Molina / TNS

By Meghan Kliewer, Elisa Sanchez and Nanzi Cruz

The University of California is seeking more transfers from community colleges at a time when less than 20 percent of Santa Ana College and Santiago Canyon College students move on to a UC campus.

Last year, the UCs released a report revealing that 19 of California’s 112 community colleges sent half of 2012-13’s transfer class. SAC and SCC were not among the 19.

UC officials announced a goal of increasing the number of transfer students by creating a clearer pathway and expanding support services, according to the report.

SAC transferred 198 students to a UC and 1,115 to a California State University campus last year. With about half the enrollment size of SAC, SCC nonetheless transferred 139 students to UCs and 622 to CSUs, according to the Rancho Santiago Community College District.

One reason the number of CSU transfers eclipses UC transfers from SAC and SCC is that many students remain unaware of the resources and services on campus.

“We are taking an aggressive approach to make changes providing students with transfer information before even enrolling or starting their education in the fall here at SAC,” said Transfer Center Counseling Coordinator Martha Vargas.

Aside from assisting students in the application process, Vargas and her staff organize college fairs and campus tours

SAC in collaboration with seven UC campuses, including Irvine and Riverside, offers Transfer Admission Guaranteed (TAG), which guarantees admission if a student meets campus-specific requirements, like GPA.

Working with UCLA, SAC provides Transfer Admission Priority (TAP) certification to students in the Honors Program, which offers honors sections of transfer courses.

“The first thing they helped me with was an educational plan specific for UC Irvine. Then they explained transfer requirements I had to meet,” said Arely Guillen, who is transferring to UCI in the fall. “Later in the year, I went to UC Admission workshops, and was introduced to TAG. To me, TAG secured my spot at UCI.”

Cost is another factor in the lopsided UC-CSU transfer ratios.

Already more expensive than CSU fees, UC Regents voted in November to increase tuition by up to 28 percent over the next five years.

Gov. Jerry Brown is negotiating with UC officials to prevent further increases, but he cut funding by about $500 million, according to the state budget plan released in January.

Gov. Brown demanded that UCs should admit more transfers from California instead of out-of-state and foreign transfers who pay more. UC President Janet Napolitano argues that such students help cover the funding shortfall.

Since students may be discouraged from applying or transferring to a UC because of cost, Vargas wants to spread awareness of the Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan, which offers a need-based full ride to students whose families make $80,000 or less.

To ensure transfer success, students must also be proactive, Vargas said. “Students are encouraged to increase communication and seek assistance in the transfer process,” she said.

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