State’s community colleges make transfer history

Answering White House call, California community colleges lead way for students to gain access to national educational opportunities.

colleges-HBCUCalifornia community college transfer students who meet certain academic criteria will be guaranteed admission to nine historically black colleges and universities, thanks to an agreement between the California Community Colleges Board of Governors and the leaders of the institutions.

The agreement supports a White House initiative to strengthen and expand the capacity of HBCUs to provide quality higher education to students, and supporters say the agreement opens up new ways for students to gain access to educational opportunities.

“California community college students and the nine participating schools will benefit immensely from the agreement,” said George Cooper, executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, who is leading the initiative. “The schools will have an even larger pool of gifted students knocking on their doors and California community college students will be guaranteed transfer to four-year institutions with rich histories, traditions and track records of success.”

(Next page: Participating HBCUs; details of the agreement)

A streamlined transfer path

“This agreement opens a new and streamlined transfer pathway for our students to some of the finest and culturally diverse institutions of higher learning in the United States,”said California Community Colleges Board of Governors President Geoffrey L. Baum.

The nine HBCUs participating in the agreement are:
• Bennett College in Greensboro, N.C.
• Dillard University in New Orleans, La.
• Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn.
• Lincoln University of Missouri in Jefferson City, Mo.
• Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Ark.
• Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
• Talladega College in Talladega, Ala.
• Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Ala.
• Wiley College in Marshall, Texas

Under the agreement, beginning fall 2015, students who apply to the schools and obtain a transfer-level associate degree with a GPA of 2.5 or higher and complete either the University of California Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum or the California State University General Education Breadth pattern will be guaranteed admission with junior standing.

A second option to earn guaranteed admission requires transfer students to earn 30 or more CSU or UC transferrable units with a GPA of 2.5 or higher.

Other advantages for transfer students under the agreement include priority consideration for housing, consideration for transfer scholarships for students with a 3.2 or higher GPA, and pre-admission advising.

For certain majors, students may need to fulfill additional prerequisites and other requirements.

Eight of the participating colleges and universities are private institutions. Lincoln University in Missouri is public, and will offer in-state tuition for California community college transfer students.

Though HBCUs were founded to serve the higher education needs of African-American students, they are open to students of any ethnicity.

HBCUs are typically smaller in student size than other schools, and many classes are taught by professors rather than teaching assistants with the goal of providing students with a nurturing and supportive environment, as well as opportunities for student leadership development.

“We applaud Chancellor Brice W. Harris and the California Community Colleges for working to ensure that all community college students have a guaranteed pathway toward their academic goals,” said Walter Bumphus, president of the American Association of Community Colleges. “Nationally, community colleges serve the majority of minority students, and this historic agreement with HBCUs will safeguard increased access toward the completion of a bachelor’s degree.”

Material from a press release was used in this report.

Laura Ascione