SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California’s community colleges are welcoming students this fall term with improved transfer pathways to California State University (CSU) and the University of California (UC) as well as bachelor degree offerings at 10 colleges as part of a historic pilot program aimed at meeting the needs of the state’s changing economy. Additionally, college will be more affordable for thousands of students thanks to nearly two dozen College Promise programs now in place or beginning soon across the state.
“We usher in the new academic year enthusiastic about the road ahead,” said California Community Colleges Interim Chancellor Erik E. Skinner. “From improved transfer pathways to exciting new certificate programs at many of our campuses and the introduction of the bachelor’s degree at select colleges, our students now have even more choices when it comes to accomplishing their higher education goals.”
Bachelor’s degree programs will start at: Antelope Valley College (airframe manufacturing technology); Bakersfield College (industrial automation); Feather River College (equine and ranch management); Foothill College (dental hygiene); Rio Hondo College (automotive technology); San Diego Mesa College (health information management); Santa Monica College (interaction design); Shasta College (health information management); Skyline College (respiratory care); and West Los Angeles College (dental hygiene). Five more programs are set to begin by the Fall 2017 semester.
“Our students now have the opportunity for local career advancement with this one-of-a-kind program,” said Antelope Valley College President Ed Knudson. “Antelope Valley College’s new airframe manufacturing technology degree embraces the unique training needs of the Antelope Valley’s aerospace economy. We are proud to be creating the area’s next generation high tech workforce.”
The California Community Colleges Board of Governors gave final approval to the landmark pilot program in 2015. The bachelor’s degree programs are all in career technical education fields like health, technology and science that are hiring and need more skilled workers.
“The impact of being able to provide a bachelor’s degree in respiratory care at an affordable cost will allow students to directly access higher wage jobs in our community. It is a win for the student and a win for San Mateo County,” said Skyline College President Regina Stanback Stroud, Ed.D.
The number of California community college students transferring to both the CSU and the UC is up slightly. It is easier than ever for students to receive an associate degree while preparing for transfer to CSU via the Associate Degree for Transfer Program (AA-T/AS-T). More than 2,000 transfer degrees are available at California community colleges statewide which, upon completion, guarantee students transfer to the CSU system at junior level with the opportunity to complete of a similar baccalaureate program in no more than 60 units. More information is available at www.adegreewithaguarantee.com. The number of degrees awarded through the program in 2014-2015 was nearly double the amount awarded the year before. 20,644 students earned Associate Degrees for Transfer in 2014-15 compared to 11,448 in 2013-14.
Students interested in transferring to one of the nine undergraduate UC campuses can use the university’s new Transfer Pathways, which outline a single set of community college courses that prospective transfer students can take to prepare for a particular major. Transfer Pathways have been developed for the 21 most popular majors for transfer students. More information is available athttp://admission.universityofcalifornia.edu/transfer/preparation-paths/index.html
As the cost of higher education continues to make headlines across the country, California is leading the way in the development and implementation of College Promise programs. College Promise programs started in the early 2000s as a way to address the problem of college affordability by offering higher education funding for students who live in particular communities. California now has 23 such programs, 16 of which were announced just this year. More information on the California College Promise and the various programs can be found at https://calcollegepromise.org/.
“To see the interest and excitement about creating College Promise programs demonstrates the commitment we all have to the success of our students,” said California College Promise chairperson Helen Benjamin. “For 30 years, California, with its Board of Governors (BOG) Fee Waiver program, has offered free tuition to financially needy students. Promise programs go a step further by providing financial help for other costs associated with attending college, including books, transportation and living expenses.”
For students who have not yet applied to attend a California community college, it’s not too late. Prospective students can visithttp://home.cccapply.org/ to find information about each of the 113 campuses as well as application information. A variety of financial aid opportunities are available for students, including the BOG Fee Waiver, Pell Grants and loans. Visit www.icanaffordcollege.com to learn more about each option. The website offers a step-by-step guide to finding and securing the right kinds of aid to fund each student’s community college experience.