All Things Transfer

Two new reports on the status of transfer in California highlight the opportunities for improvement within the system and recommend changes that could make a positive impact on students in the Inland Empire.

The Transfer Maze: The High Cost to Students and the State of California published by the Campaign for College Opportunity highlights the critical role transfer plays in producing college graduates and providing economic opportunity, and the unnecessary barriers that impede transfer for far too many Californians, resulting in high costs to students and the state. Although the majority of California community college students enroll wanting to transfer, students transferred at an average rate of only 4% after two years of enrollment, 25% after four years of enrollment, and 38% after six years of enrollment. For the state, these low transfer rates yield high costs associated with a minimum number of seats available to new students and lost tax revenue from people with delayed entry into the workforce or whose economic prospects are reduced as a result of an unfinished degree. For the student starting at a community college, she or he may pay $36,000-$38,000 more to obtain a bachelor’s degree than would a student enrolling directly at a four-year college.

Through the Gate: Mapping the Transfer Landscape for California Community College Students  from the RP Group and sponsored by College Futures Foundation investigated why many students in California enter higher education through the state’s community college system with the intent to transfer to a four-year college or university, and yet the transfer rate from the California Community College (CCC) system is stubbornly low—fewer than 30% of CCC students enrolled between 2010 and 2015 who intended to transfer did so within six years.

The report’s findings point to a number of challenges, including:

  • 300,000 students got stuck at or near the transfer gate, and more than half of those students left the community college system without a credential.
  • Math is a barrier—92% of students near the transfer gate had not completed transfer-level math.
  • Latino men and Native American women are the least likely to transfer.
  • Region plays a role—students in the Inland Empire are the least likely to make it through the transfer gate.