New laws help community college students transfer to California State University, the University of California

A number of new laws will significantly help community college students relocate to California State University and University of California campuses, and promote financial aid and housing assistance as part of the $47.1 billion higher education package Signed by Governor Newsom on Wednesday in California Northridge.

Two bills are designed to clarify and simplify degree requirements for transfer students. Assembly Act 928 requires the California State and University of California regulations to create a public education transfer process for lower-division students that identifies and expands the specific required courses that students need to gain admission.

Second, Assembly Bill 111, requires a Common Course Numbering System Across all community colleges—which the California Academic Senate has opposed—to ensure a student does not take in excess units for transfer.

Different course numbers across California community colleges are often assigned to courses that cover similar subject areas, complicating transfer efforts for students who don’t always know if they have met the four-year college unit requirements. The CCAS opposed the bill, arguing that it was expensive and would pose an unnecessary difficulty for colleges.

“When students discuss their experience with the conversion process, through the community college, the four-year university, their message is loud and clear: Conversion is disruptive. It is very complex, confusing, and difficult to navigate,” said billing author, association member Mark Berman, during a press conference inside the auditorium. University sports before a crowd of jubilant faculty, staff, students and fans.

Cal State Counsellor, Joseph Castro, believes that the legislation will dramatically increase the number of students transferred into the California state system by providing a clearer path “particularly for underrepresented students.”

Roughly 19% of community college students with a conversion goal do so within four years, according to a 2020 report from the California Institute of Public Policy.

The legislation comes after community colleges across the state and nation faced a significant drop in enrollment during the pandemic. Newsom believes the funding will help get some of these students back into the system through outreach efforts.

Newsom earlier announced a plan to invest $1.9 billion in college savings accounts for 3.7 million low-income students. These accounts of up to $1,500 will start in the first row.

Other legislation signed by the governor on Wednesday backed efforts to make financial aid more accessible.

Senate Bill 330 would allow Los Angeles Community College to enter into leases at less than fair market value in order to create affordable housing for low-income students and employees, and Assembly Bill 469 would ensure that all high school seniors apply free for federal aid For Students (FAFSA) or California Dream Act Application.

“We are trying to reconcile with the fact that we have not invested in our higher education system over the past few decades,” Newsom said. “There is no formula to address the issue of income and wealth inequality unless we create opportunities and create pathways to bridge those gaps.”

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