University of California recognizes signing of unique transfer student pilot program collaboration with state leaders

University of California President Michael V. Drake, M.D., systemwide Provost Katherine S. Newman, and UC Academic Senate Chair James Steintrager, today (Oct. 10) released a statement recognizing a unique collaboration between the University and state leaders. With Governor Newsom’s signing of AB 1291, the University of California will establish a new Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) pilot program at UCLA. The initial launch will include at least eight majors by the 2026–27 academic year and includes collaborations with select California community colleges (CCC) chosen by the campus. This bill also provides for an admissions guarantee to the UC system for transfer students who meet the necessary admissions requirements and are not offered a space at a campus of their choice, rerouting those students to at least one other campus in the University of California system.

Under AB 1291, by the 2028–29 academic year the University will expand the pilot program to at least 12 majors, with at least 4 of those 12 majors in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. This initiative builds upon UC’s longstanding commitment to increasing access and opportunity for community college transfers. UC already enrolls more CCC transfers than any university of similar caliber in the nation. The University is also committed to meeting its Master Plan target to enroll one new California transfer student for every two new California freshmen.

“I am proud that 27 percent of University of California undergraduates begin their educational journey at a California Community College and go on to thrive on our campuses,” said UC President Michael V. Drake, M.D. “The University is committed to attracting and supporting transfer students, and we look forward to continuing to partner with transfer advocates such as Governor Newsom, Assemblymember Kevin McCarty, and others in the state legislature on streamlining the transfer process.”

“By working together, California's three world-leading higher education systems are ensuring more students have the freedom to thrive, learn, and succeed,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “With this new law, the Golden State is streamlining the transfer process, making a four-year degree more affordable for transfer students, and helping students obtain high-paying and fulfilling careers.”

The University of California is a recognized leader in fostering educational opportunity for underserved populations. Eight of UC’s nine undergraduate campuses are ranked among the top 50 institutions for social mobility by U.S. News and World Report. Affordability and access remain paramount priorities of the University of California, which has a 75 percent acceptance rate for CCC applicants.

“Transfer students are an essential part of the University of California community. Their academic success benefits families, employers, and the communities our students call home,” said Provost Newman. “I am delighted to partner with state leaders to continue to streamline UC’s vital transfer pipelines and provide even more opportunities for transfer students to access the lifelong benefits of a UC education.”

“AB 1291 starts to tackle a long-standing goal in California: to simplify and streamline transfer paths for hardworking, qualified community college students wishing to attend a UC or a CSU,” said Assemblymember McCarty. “This bill gets UC into the game with universal transfer pathways and will increase economic opportunities and prosperity for all Californians to help our state economy thrive.”

The University of California is committed to working closely with its partners at the California State University and CCCs to further streamline the transfer process for prospective UC students and expand the enrollment of qualified CCC students. In recent years, UC developed Pathways+, a program designed to help students prepare for and achieve transfer admission to the University’s most sought-after majors.

“The new pilot program has been shaped through collaboration and the shared goal of supporting successful transfer to UC both before and after admission,” said Academic Senate Chair Steintrager. “UC faculty are committed to accessibility and inclusivity in conjunction with academic excellence as a key driver of social mobility. The pilot is designed to further all these aims and to allow us to track its success. Alongside the UC Transfer Pathways and Cal-GETC, it will add to the ways that incoming transfer students can prepare for their UC major and, if successful, will help a diverse range of talented students to pursue their educational aspirations.”

The bill also requires the Legislative Analyst’s Office to review the pilot program and submit an interim and final report on the pilot program, each with specified content, on February 1, 2027, and June 1, 2030, respectively, to certain legislative committees and subcommittees.


Please note that this announcement does not impact undergraduate admissions for the 2024-25 or 2025-26 academic year.

The University of California strives to enroll one California community college transfer student for every two California freshmen. Under this pilot, UCLA will prioritize admission of students completing an Associate Degree for Transfer from select California community colleges in at least eight majors beginning in the 2026-27 academic year. The selected CCCs, applicable majors and other admission requirements will be announced at a later date. Students who meet UC’s admission requirements but are not selected for admission to UCLA will be offered admission to at least one other UC campus. By 2028-29, UC will expand the pilot to at least four additional campuses.

Further information on programs the University already offers to assist transfer students, including UC campus-specific Transfer Admission Guarantees (TAGs) and the Pathway+ program, can be found here. You may also learn more about the transfer admissions process here.

Over 54 percent of California residents pay no tuition to attend the University of California and over 70 percent receive grants and scholarships to help with the cost of attendance. Under the University of California’s Tuition Stability Plan, students (both transfers and freshmen) and their families enjoy stable systemwide tuition and fees for the duration of their college careers, up to six academic years. Further information on the plan can be found here.