The cheapest route to a bachelor’s degree in California is to start at a community college, then transfer to a California State University campus. But Cal State is overwhelmed with students these days. A majority of transfer students are choosing private or out-of-state public universities rather than UC or CSU campuses, according to a survey by the Los Rios Community College District in Sacramento. The survey did not count transfers to for-profit institutions, which would have cut the UC/CSU share of transfers even more, notes Inside Higher Ed.
The most popular transfer destinations were in-state private institutions — Chapman University enrolled 151 students, the University of the Pacific enrolled 120, the University of San Francisco enrolled 106, and the University of Southern California enrolled 98. Some of the most popular out-of-state public transfer destinations were located in neighboring states — the University of Nevada at Reno enrolled 55 students, the University of Oregon enrolled 44, Arizona State University enrolled 34, and Oregon State University enrolled 31.
These students are spending considerably more money in hopes of getting the classes they need to complete a degree quickly.
Sacramento State is the most popular CSU destination for Los Rios students, but the transfer rate dropped 30.2 percent from 2005-06 to 2009-10. Transfers to UC-Davis, which is nearby, dropped 2 percent.
“We have space for transfer students and we have been able to provide them with course loads at virtually the same rate as has been the case for the past many years,” wrote Joseph Sheley, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Sacramento State, in an e-mail to Inside Higher Ed. “In addition, we have been working hard on our graduation initiative … to streamline students’ progress to the degree. Thus, it is not fully clear why students who are transfer-ready are remaining, apparently for up to three years, at Los Rios campuses instead of transferring.”
. . . “Private and some out-of-state public four-year universities have increased their recruiting efforts in California, offering both financial aid and pledges of quicker progress to degree,” Sheley wrote. “Students have been listening to these messages and, in some cases, have found them more appealing than in the past.”
Statewide, CSU is taking fewer community college transfers: Spring enrollment was closed in 2010 and may be closed again in 2012. UC is taking more transfers.
Transfers from California Community Colleges
|California State University||54,971||49,770||37,647||39,410|
|University of California||11,914||12,377||13,717||15,572|
Under new legislation, California community college students are guaranteed status as CSU juniors if they complete transfer-specific associate degrees.