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Monday, March 26, 2018
The Advantage of the California Community College
This week, University of California President Janet Napolitano threw down the gauntlet to the UC system by suggesting that it guarantee admission to all qualified transfer students. The idea is not a new one, but the call to open all UC campuses to such a program would be a first.
Guaranteed transfer agreements are a common practice at at least six of the nine UC campuses; Santa Barbara, Davis, Santa Cruz, Merced, Irvine and Riverside offer admission to California community college students who need to maintain relatively moderate grade point averages. At both Pasadena City College and Santa Barbara City College, for example, the required GPA for transfer students is between 2.8-3.4. By way of comparison, UC Merced, one of the campuses with a relatively generous admit rate of around 70%, admits students with an average GPA of between 3.40-3.91.
Notably absent from the list are UCLA and UC Berkeley-generally regarded as the most prestigious in the UC system, with staggering application numbers (108,000 for Berkeley and 113,000 for UCLA for the 2018-2019 academic year).
This is what makes Napolitano's proposition so astounding. The Los Angeles Times noted that the UC system is "widely regarded as the nation's top public research university system, with 270,000 students at 10 campuses, five medical centers and three national laboratories". Easing access for transfer students would arguably enrich California's population by creating more well educated, employable graduates.
There are myriad advantages to community college. It is exponentially more affordable. Admissions requirements are far less stringent. Two-year colleges tend to attract a more economically and buy xanax houston racially diverse student body-something lacking at most of the UC campuses. Opening up this pipeline would quite literally open doors of opportunity to tens of thousands of California students. While the likelihood of all nine campuses heeding Napolitano's call is slim, her words are important, and may shape the state's approach to higher education in the years to come.
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