Higher standards, diminishing returns


State policies intended to foster college completion are at odds with shutting out transfer students in 2013.

A majority of California State University campuses are closing their doors to transfer students next spring, leaving many to ponder their deteriorating prospects.

Through the Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act, California Community College students are guaranteed admission to CSUs. But the new policies will force thousands into an academic purgatory that will impact California’s ability to compete in a rapidly changing global economy.

The state has made a promise to its students that it cannot keep. Senate Bill 1143, passed in 2010, forced the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges to “adopt a plan for promoting and improving student success.”

Transfer students are a key part of our higher education system. But students cannot work their way through the system if the policies are working against them.

If the state is defining success as the number of students who transfer to and earn degrees from four-year institutions, the new policies will earn it an F.

The STARA is designed to protect transfer students, but if they have nowhere to go, they will only crowd community colleges.

Complicating the issue is the fact that CSUs cannot graduate their current students quickly enough to make room for incoming freshman and transfers because they are so packed.

The state should enact policies that move students through the system quickly, not send them to academic limbo.

Illustration of a student wearing a graduation hat sitting at a bus stop bench with all his belonging packed in boxes.

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