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New Pathways for Students to Get Degrees with Guarantees

Community College, CSU Leaders Discuss 557 Streamlined Associate Degrees for Transfer

February 28, 2013

Speaking in Sacramento with student journalists from colleges up and down the state on Feb. 20, leaders from the California Community Colleges and California State University on Wednesday announced that 557 streamlined Associate Degrees for Transfer are now available at community colleges, and CSU is welcoming the transfer students in greater numbers.

Erik Skinner, deputy chancellor of California Community Colleges, and Ephraim Smith, executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer for CSU, briefed representatives of college news organizations on the considerable progress that both systems have made in building transfer degree pathways for community college students. In addition, more than 60,000 users have visited ADegreeWithAGuarantee.com, the new website that features important information for high school and college students interested in pursuing an Associate Degree for Transfer.

The Associate of Arts for Transfer (AA-T) and Associate of Science for Transfer (AS-T) degrees were developed to make it easier for students to transfer between the two systems of higher education, and allow them to earn an associate degree and a bachelor's degree with no excess units. California community college students who complete an AA-T or AS-T degree will be guaranteed admission to the California State University system with junior standing, providing students with the opportunity to complete two degrees with only 120 units.

The program now has 22 AA-T and AS-T pathways approved, with anthropology and computer science pathways joining the list last week. More degrees will be added each term with Spanish and philosophy expected to be approved within the week. Engineering, biology, chemistry and sociology are scheduled to be approved soon.

“The progress has been steady and I’m so proud of the collaboration that’s existed between the two systems of higher education,” said Skinner. “The goal by fall 2013 is to have each of our 112 community colleges have AA-T and AS-T degrees approved in 80 percent of the majors they offer. We want to have 100 percent by fall 2014.”

Last fall, California State University welcomed 120 transfer students who were guaranteed admission at a university after participating in the first AA-T and AS-T pathways. Data is still being collected on students who qualified for the spring term, but the numbers are expected to increase considerably as information continues to get out about the innovative program that will generate approximately $160 million annually in cost savings. Those savings will provide access to 40,000 additional community college students and nearly 14,000 California State University students each year.

“Our respective academic senates are busy working together to create more pathways because they realize how important this Associate Degree for Transfer program is, not only to our students but to our state’s system of higher education,” Smith said. “The program is all about efficiency and making a highly educated workforce a reality in California.”

Source:  Chancellor of California Community Colleges.