Key lawmaker endorses transfer admissions guarantee across University of California


A key California lawmaker on Tuesday endorsed creating a new admission guarantee program at the University of California for community college transfer students.

Currently, six of UC’s nine undergraduate campuses offer transfer admission guarantees to students in select majors who meet specific requirements. But unlike the 23-campus California State University, where community college students can get a guaranteed spot through the Associate Degree for Transfer program by meeting certain criteria, UC does not offer a systemwide, streamlined guarantee program. Proponents of a systemwide guarantee at UC say it’s necessary to simplify the process because currently, only a small fraction of students who intend to transfer are successful.

Assemblymember Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, said Tuesday that it’s “way too hard for community college students” to transfer to UC and suggested that UC follow CSU’s lead and participate in the ADT.

“We have a way to simplify it for everybody. Why would we not do that?” he added during a hearing of the Assembly’s budget subcommittee on education finance, which he chairs.

At CSU, students on an associate degree transfer pathway take less time to transfer and graduate at higher rates than students who transfer without an ADT.

Lawmakers could force UC to participate in the ADT by including it in the 2023-24 budget, which is negotiated with Gov. Gavin Newsom and must be passed and sent to the governor for his signature in June.

In his January budget, Newsom proposed requiring UCLA to create a transfer guarantee program, which would make it the seventh UC campus with one. Newsom also proposed requiring UCLA to participate in the ADT program. McCarty on Tuesday called that a “good idea” but questioned why UCLA was singled out.

“If we should do it for one campus, we should do it for the other eight,” McCarty said.

Newsom’s proposal was also criticized by the Legislative Analyst’s Office, a nonprofit that provides fiscal and policy advice to the Legislature. In a report published last week analyzing Newsom’s budget proposals for UC, the LAO said there is “no compelling justification for singling out UCLA” with a new transfer guarantee requirement.

Currently, UCLA is one of three UC campuses — along with San Diego and Berkeley — that do not offer a transfer admissions guarantee for community college students. The other six campuses do offer them, but the guarantees are limited to certain majors, and each campus has different grade requirements.

“If we should do it for one campus, we should do it for the other eight,” McCarty said.

UC leaders have previously resisted calls to adopt a more uniform and systemwide guarantee. At a board of regents meeting last month, UC President Michael Drake said that just because the ADT program works at CSU, it may not work for UC.

But UC may have no choice but to adopt the program if the Legislature and Newsom force its hand.

In its report last week, the LAO suggested lawmakers reject Newsom’s proposal to require UCLA to create a transfer admissions guarantee and instead consider “whether it would like to require all UC campuses to participate” in transfer admissions guarantee programs and the ADT.

“If the Legislature is interested in pursuing these new requirements, we encourage it to coordinate with UC on how best to navigate the associated transitions. In the case of both the TAG and ADT programs, affected UC campuses would need to make important changes to their admission requirements,” the Legislative Analyst’s Office stated in its report.

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