California’s community colleges are near the breaking point, reports the LA Times. Colleges are flooded with people trying to train for new jobs, making it even harder for students who want to earn credits to transfer to a four-year institution. The system is a mess — in the same way it’s been a mess for at least 20 years.
. . . the Public Policy Institute of California, in a 2006 study, found that only about 25% of the students who are focused on transferring actually make it.
For many students, trying to assemble transfer credits is like entering a looking-glass world where little is as it seems. Comp 101 might be a prerequisite for transferring to Cal Poly Pomona but not to Cal State Long Beach, a requirement for English majors but not rhetoric students, good enough for the Cal State system but not for UC, or vice versa.
In addition, the requirements for a student to earn an associate of arts degree and to be eligible to transfer to a four-year school are not necessarily interchangeable. And financial aid is yet another bewildering, highly bureaucratic, thicket.
Colleges with more counselors have better transfer rates.
The story ends with Omari Trice, 30, who transferred from Trade-Tech to UCLA, and now counsels students on how to transfer.
(Trice) received a photography certificate from Trade-Tech but was disappointed by how little it helped in the job market, he said. After visiting Africa with Habitat for Humanity, he returned to the community college and then transferred to UCLA, where he is majoring in black history.
“The sky’s the limit,” he said.
With a bachelor’s in black history?
A task force will work on improving the transfer process. If transfer works, then students have a low-cost route to a four-year degree. If not, costs go way up and graduates are stuck with huge loans they’ll have trouble paying.