Associate Degree for Transfer Program to provide benefits for students

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Working on progressing toward a new alternative to give students the chance at a smoother transition into a Cal State University campus, is the goal of the Associate Degree for Transfer Program.

California Community Colleges Deputy Chancellor Erik Skinner said this bill was ultimately the groundwork for an easier “statewide” alternative for students to transfer from community colleges to cal states, which is its main goal.

“In September of 2010, legislation was enacted to establish a new transfer pathway between the California Community Colleges and CSU, which was the Bill 7 1440 carried by Senator Alex Pedia,” Skinner said during a conference call.

“It’s connecting the lower division preparation of 60 semester units that lead to an Associate Degree for transfer in a specific major. That lower division preparation links directly to the program at the CSU, where a student can take additional 60 units and graduate with a Bachelor’s degree with a total of 120 units,” Skinner said.

Skinner also said that the program offers many benefits for students such as guaranteed admission to the CSU system but not a specific campus.

It is a more clarified pathway made for students in order to avoid students taking unnecessary courses in order to fulfill the requirements to be considered for admission to a CSU.

The program also gives the student applying to the Cal State University an increase in their G.P.A. according to whether the university or major they are applying to is impacted or non-impacted.

Skinner said, “Students applying with the program to a non-impacted major and university, will receive a 0.2 increase in their GPA. Students applying to an impacted university and major will receive a 0.1 increase in their GPA.”

What the program hopes to achieve is 10,000 additional seats and reduce the excess units currently being taken.

The goal is by “Fall of 2013, 80 percent of the program will be implemented into the California Community Colleges and by Fall of 2014, 100 percent” of the program will be in place said Skinner.

Many community colleges along with EC, are working on progressing toward this new alternative to give students the chance at a smoother transition into a Cal State University Campus.

Sue Oda-Omari, counselor, said that EC has four approved associate’s degrees in the program available to students which include degrees in sociology, psychology, communications and geology.

“We [El Camino] don’t really have a TAG with Cal State Universities. We only have a partnership with Cal State University Dominguez Hills and a Steam-TAP with Cal State University Long Beach, so this is something beneficial,” Oda-Omari said.

Kenneth Brown, board of trustees vice president said he is very hopeful about the program and said that “anything we can do to help students intending on being on a 4-year transfer track, we will do.”

“What we would like to know is if this program is successful or isn’t working, we want to hear from the students. We want students to reach out and tell us what works and what doesn’t,” Brown said.

Along with student feedback on the program, another issue to tackle with this new alternative is bringing awareness to students that this “pathway” is now available.

Christopher Piago, 20, English major was unaware of the new program but upon hearing the new information, discusses the fact that this program will benefit “some students that have their minds set on their major but are unsure of what classes to take.”

“El Camino can get the word out to the public by talking about it in orientations, counseling officers can speak about it or send out a mass message to its current and future students,” Piago said.