Furure college transfer path likely to benefit latinos
MÁS EN ESTA SECCIÓN
The University of California is responding to recent fiscal challenges by looking at creative and strategic approaches while keeping its three-pronged principle of sustaining access, maintaining affordability and enhancing quality.
Chairman of the Board of Regents Russell Gould and President Mark Yudof created the UC Commission on the Future to consult with the entire university community to help craft the vision that would serve California best in the years ahead in the face of diminishing resources.
The University of California and the state's two other California public higher education segments have been forced to respond to state budget cuts by raising fees, cutting classes and limiting enrollment.
In 2009-2010, California community colleges turned away more than 250,000 students.
Where can they go?
The University of California?
At UC, freshman enrollment was reduced by 2,300 students last year.
California State University?
CSU faced a 40,000 reduction in student enrollment in addition to an increase in barriers to students – earlier application deadlines, the requirements of enrollment deposits and the termination of spring 2010 admission.
Although declining, the California unemployment rate in April remained above 12 percent in April.
These barriers pose increased challenges to economically disadvantaged Californians seeking access to higher education.
The community college path has never looked more appealing. Across the county, students are rethinking plans about attending more expensive universities to find less costly alternatives.
UC plans to aid students who seek this path. The Commission on the Future is engaged in conversations about streamlining and enhancing the community college transfer path to UC.
While UC already gives priority admission to California Community College transfer students, last month its members took extra time to discuss recommendations that would improve the transfer function. Recommendations included developing more complete lower-division transfer pathways in high-demand majors, enhancing the ASSIST Web site designed to advise students interested in transferring courses and exploring online instruction.
In 2008, only 45 percent of students enrolled in California community colleges were white non-Hispanic, Chicanos/Latinos are the second largest group, comprising 28 percent.
Applications to UC among Latinos are increasing dramatically. More than 28,000 transfer students applied to UC in 2010, preliminary data show. Of that amount, 18% are Chicano/Latino. This represents a 26.7% increase over 2009-2010.
Because large numbers of low-income and underrepresented students begin their postsecondary education in community colleges, effective transfer provides a viable route to a four-year degree. Additionally, streamlined transfer has the potential to improve time to degree, freeing up more spaces for additional students.
Clarifying and easing the transfer path is particularly vital to underrepresented communities who make up the largest proportion of students who are the first in their family to attend college. Navigating this complex process could prevent highly capable but less privileged students from going on to more advanced degrees.
While fiscal predicaments are generally unwelcome, the attention to efficiency may benefit Latinos and Californians from all backgrounds.
As the population of Latinos in community colleges steadily increases, the University of California is trying to ensure their continued progress to a four-year transfer degree.
Additional information about the University of California, admissions requirements, financial aid and the UC Commission on the Future is available at http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/
(Jesse M. Bernal is Student Regent for the University of California and a Commissioner on the UC Commission on the Future.)