Students with AA degrees Guaranteed Admission to UC/CSU Under New Laws

by Jon Gonzalez, Staff Writer 352 views0

Video shot and edited by Frank Tostado and Jon Gonzalez.

SYLMAR – Governor Schwarzenegger ceremoniously signed into law Monday at Mission College two bills affecting community college students, including one that makes it easier for them to transfer to the California State University system.

Senate Bill 1440, also known as the Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act (STAR Act), guarantees admission to a CSU for transfer students who have earned an associates degree. The bill takes effect in fall of 2011.

According to Schwarzenegger, only 25% of CCC students are transferring to four-year universities. By putting an emphasis on the associates degree, he stated that students and the state systems will save roughly $150 million by creating a more efficient system. With the exception of certain majors, the bill sets up students to graduate with 120 credits without taking extra classes. Essentially, the new system will free up classes and save schools money.

“The community colleges will be able to serve 40,000 more students and our CSU system will serve 14,000 more students,” Schwarzenegger said.

State senator Alex Padilla said he authored SB 1440 to eliminate confusion among different systems and schools.

“With this bill, we’re going to make the process a lot simpler so that each community college that students are trying to transfer out of doesn’t have these moving targets,” Padilla said. “We want consistent requirements so it’s not a different set of requirements for Cal State Northridge as it is for Cal State L.A.”

State assemblyman Paul Fong authored the second bill, AB 2302. It calls for the UC system to examine their current transfer pathways and realign them to create a similar transfer system as is set forth in the STAR Act.

“They [UC System] are talking about it right now as I speak. There is current dialog and discussions going on as they agreed to it [AB 2302],” Fong said.

Fong said that, on average, a student with a degree will make $1 million more throughout a lifetime, claiming that an AA degree can be beneficial instead of just transferring without.

COC Chancellor Diane Van Hook attended the ceremony and was thrilled for what these bills are slated to bring to College of the Canyons.

“I think SB 1440 is absolutely critical … this helps students overcome that barrier. It brings them closer to transfer in a more affordable and timely way.”

Bills SB 1440 and AB 2302 were officially signed last Wednesday.