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Press Release

Current Trends in Community College Transfers

By Kevin Woolfork, Senior Policy Analyst, and Stacy Wilson, Policy Analyst
California Postsecondary Education Commission

March 27, 2000

The California Postsecondary Education Commission (CPEC) is the State's higher education research agency, responsible for providing the Governor and Legislature with non-partisan, independent recommendations on education beyond high school. One important area of higher education policy research is student transfer, the process by which a student progresses from one higher education system to another in pursuit of an academic degree. In recent years, the focus on transfer has been on students moving from the California Community Colleges (CCC) to the California State University (CSU) and the University of California (UC).

The Commission reports that the available data on "full-year" transfers -- those transfers occurring throughout the 12-month academic year -- show gradual declines in total transfers from community colleges to both the CSU and UC in recent years. Community colleges transfers to the CSU have declined for the last three years and transfers to the UC have declined for the past five years. The number of community college students who have achieved junior status prior to transferring to the CSU and UC has remained fairly stable, increasing slightly in recent years.

In evaluating these trends, it appears that some of the decline in overall community college transfers to the CSU and UC may be related to institutional policy decisions aimed at limiting the number of lower-division transfers accepted in the baccalaureate systems. Over the past four years, for example, the number of upper-division transfers has been increasing by approximately 2 percent per year, while the number of freshman and sophomore community college transfer students has been steadily declining.

Commission staff note that interinstitutional student transfer trends are reflective of many complicated issues, such as the availability of courses, the complexity of transfer requirements, the development of articulation agreements for courses and majors, and student's choices of program majors. Staff also note that personal and financial considerations often impact community college students ability to transfer to CSU or UC.

Some of these transfer data are reported only for "Fall Term" enrollment and not for "full-year" enrollments. The Commission reports these data as they are acquired from the systemwide offices of the CCC, CSU, and UC, and has sought in recent years to increase the timeliness and availability of full-year information, as this is the most accurate and representative data and is of most benefit to policy makers.

Further information may be obtained from the Commission's Research Staff
(916) 445-1000 or via e-mail at

A copy of any publication may be requested from the Commission's Publications Unit
(916) 445-1000 or via e-mail at

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