New laws help community college students transition to CSU, UC

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A number of new laws will significantly help community college students transfer to Cal State and UC campuses, and increase financial aid and housing assistance as part of a program. $ 47.1 billion higher education program signed by Governor Newsom Wednesday at Cal State Northridge.

Two of the bills sought to clarify and simplify the degree requirements for transfer students. Assembly Bill 928 requires the State of California and University of California systems to establish a general education transfer process for lower division students that identifies and develops specific courses requirements that students need to be accepted.

The second, Assembly Bill 111, requires a course numbering system common to all community colleges – opposed by the California Community College Academic Senate – to ensure that a student does not take excess units to be transferred.

Courses that cover similar subjects are often assigned different course numbers at community colleges in California, making transfer efforts difficult for students who are not always sure whether they have completed the unit requirements of a four-year college. The CCAS opposed the bill, arguing that it was costly and would pose unnecessary hardship for colleges.

“When the students discuss their experience with the transfer process, through the community college, the four-year university, their message is loud and clear: the transfer is broken. It’s too complex, confusing and difficult to navigate. Instead of being a clear path, it is a maze, and it costs students time and money that they cannot afford, ”said the author of the bills, MP Marc. Berman, at a press conference inside the university gymnasium in front of an enthusiastic crowd of professors. , staff, students and cheerleaders.

Cal State Chancellor Joseph Castro believes the legislation will dramatically increase the number of students transferring into the Cal State system by providing a clearer path “especially for our under-represented students.”

About 19% of community college students aiming to transfer do so within four years, according to a 2020 report from the Public Policy Institute of California.

The legislation comes after community colleges across the state and across the country faced a significant drop in enrollment during the pandemic. Newsom believes the funding will help reintegrate some of these students into the system through outreach efforts.

Newsom previously announced a plan to invest $ 1.9 billion in college savings accounts for 3.7 million low-income students. These accounts of up to $ 1,500 would start in the first year.

Other laws signed by the governor on Wednesday have supported efforts to make financial aid more accessible.

Senate Bill 330 will allow the Los Angeles Community College District to enter into leases below fair market value to create affordable housing for low-income students and staff, and Bill Assembly 469 will ensure that all high school students submit a free application for Application Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Act.

“We are trying to reconcile the fact that we have not invested in our higher education system over the past decades,” Newsom said. “There is no equation to solve the problem of income and wealth disparity unless we provide opportunities and create pathways to close those gaps.”

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