The University of California opposed a bill aimed at simplifying the transfer process for community college students to attend one of the undergraduate UC campuses.
The Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act, or AB 1749, would extend California State Universities’ guaranteed transfer process to UCs, according to Melissa Bardo, the associate director of policy and government relations for the Education Trust–West. The bill would guarantee admission into a corresponding degree program for students who earn an Associate Degree for Transfer.
Bardo said the bill would alleviate the need for “meeting a number of distinct transfer requirements” specific to UCs.
“Creating a universal transfer path will increase economic opportunity and prosperity for all Californians and help our state economy thrive,” said author of the bill Assembleymember Kevin McCarty in a statement.
While the university understands the desire to simplify the transfer process and improve transfer outcomes, it believes the bill would have the “unintended consequence” of requiring students to take “unnecessary” courses, thus increasing the time and cost to complete a degree, according to a statement from the university.
The university also believes this legislation could compromise the holistic admissions review process by favoring local admissions and guaranteeing admission solely based on the courses students enroll in and their grades.
Bardo said this bill was drafted to correct the confusing process that limits community college students’ campus and major options.
The current and “byzantine” transfer process that makes it difficult for California students to receive a UC education is “far more harmful” than the concerns mentioned by the university, Bardo added.
Bardo noted the complexity of the transfer process may have a disproportionate impact on California’s low-income, first generation, Black and Latine students.
Noting that 70% of higher education students in California attend a community college, with most belonging to racial and ethnic groups with lower rates of attaining a bachelor degree, this bill could promote a more equitable admissions process.
“Providing students with a clear pathway to transfer to both the CSU and UC is key to producing the bachelor’s degrees California needs and closing racial equity gaps in student success across the state,” Bardo said in an email.
Bardo said Education Trust–West is among a coalition of more than two dozen higher education advocates, student leaders and civil rights organizations who are in support of this bill.
University and California Community College statewide student associations are also registered as official supporters, according to Bardo.
“The outcomes that transfer students experience are directly related to the level of support they receive from their UC campus—it’s possible to both smooth the pathway from community college to a UC and ensure that students graduate successfully and on time,” Bardo said in an email.