Press Room

University of California streamlines paths for community college transfer students

The University of California today (July 7) introduced a new academic roadmap for California Community College students who plan to apply to transfer to UC campuses, a major step in an effort to simplify the transfer process and help students better prepare for admission to the university.

The Transfer Pathways, created by UC faculty, outline a single set of courses that will prepare transfer students for a particular major at any of the university’s nine undergraduate campuses, and help students graduate from UC within two years after their transfer.

The new pathways initially will cover 10 of UC’s most popular majors: anthropology, biochemistry, biology, cell biology, chemistry, economics, mathematics, molecular biology, physics and sociology. The university plans to create pathways for another 11 majors later this year. Once pathways are complete for all 21 majors, they will cover two-thirds of all admission applications UC receives from transfer students.

“This is a significant step for the University of California, one that will help us serve our students and the state,” said UC President Janet Napolitano. “UC enrolls more community college transfer students than any university of its caliber in the nation. These pathways will provide essential guidance to those who are pursuing a UC education and need a clear plan for moving forward.”

“This initiative offers community college students a transparent roadmap for transfer to UC, as well as for timely completion of their bachelor’s degree in their major of choice,” said California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice W. Harris. “This adds to the work we have been doing with other four-year partners to streamline transfer and expand options for our talented students.”

Thirty percent of entering UC undergraduates are transfer students, and 90 percent of them come from a California Community College. More than half of the community college transfer students at UC are first-generation or low-income college students. Once enrolled, community college transfer students do quite well at the university and graduate at a rate that’s equal to or higher than students who start as freshmen at the university.

The new pathways resulted from an initiative launched by Napolitano early in her presidency. As part of the initiative, she created the UC Transfer Action Team to find ways to better serve transfer students from California’s 112 community colleges. UC Academic Senate leaders and other faculty representatives led the effort to identify courses and create the pathways over the past year.

“These pathways will allow us to better meet students’ needs by making course expectations more transparent while maintaining high academic standards,” said UC Academic Senate Chair Mary Gilly. “Although the pathways are not a guarantee of admission, we know that early preparation can help students meet their academic goals and graduate on time.”

The pathways will also help meet UC’s goal of enrolling at least one new transfer student for every two new freshmen. This commitment to achieving a 2:1 ratio was included in the budget framework established recently by UC and Gov. Jerry Brown.

UC has made steady progress on other recommendations made by the Transfer Action Team, including reaching out earlier to potential transfer students and improving the technological tools that support them. The university launched a new webpage recently that clearly outlines the new Transfer Pathways for students.

President Napolitano has also met with community college presidents throughout California this past year to gain insight into the challenges their students face, and to identify ways in which the University of California can better meet their needs.


California Community Colleges contact:
Paul Feist
Vice chancellor for communications
California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office
(916) 327-5353