University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) | Credit: Courtesy

Santa Barbara City College students have just finished up the stressful and confusing time of applying for transfer to California State University and University of California campuses, but a new proposal that UC unveiled last Tuesday aims to make this process a little less nerve-racking.

UC currently has six out of nine campuses participating in the Transfer Admission Guarantee Program — opting out are the most competitive: UCLA, UC Berkeley, and UC San Diego. A new proposal from UC would guarantee a system-wide admission for all qualified transfer applicants. Essentially, students not admitted to their campuses of choice would still be promised a spot at UC Santa Cruz, UC Merced, or UC Riverside. 

Marisa Flores, a student advisor at SBCC, gave an example of how this might be helpful for transferring students. “For UC Santa Barbara, a student may have the minimum 3.4 GPA when they apply but drop below in the fall and be denied admission. [Under the UC’s new proposal] they won’t have to wait another year and can instead be rerouted to one of these schools.”

Major-specific coursework requirements and minimum GPA requisites still stand, but the general education coursework would be changed to fulfill both UC and Cal State requirements. UC officials hope this will keep transfer students from having to take extra classes as they try to fulfill the differing obligations. 

The proposed guaranteed admission for UCs comes after a statewide decline in transfer applicants during the pandemic and a sharp decrease in community college enrollments. At SBCC, enrolled students totaled 16,120 in 2019 compared with 13,781 in fall 2021. Transfer students make up a large portion of undergraduates at UCs — about one-third — and graduate more frequently than first-year students. SBCC transferred 797 students to the UCs and 518 to CSUs in the 2020-21 school year.

California State Colleges already guarantee admission into the system for all who have completed an Associate Degree for Transfer, which some have argued the UC should adopt as well. Flores isn’t so sure: “I don’t feel that’s beneficial, because right now the UCs allows for students to have different associate’s and bachelor’s. For Cal States, you’re restricted to the major of your associate’s degree. The UCs allow for more flexibility; you’re not locked into any major.”

Lizza Moore, a SBCC student who recently went through the transfer process, agrees that the Cal State system shouldn’t be the blueprint. “State applications were way more work — each school had its own requirements whereas the UCs all had the same requirements, and it was just one application for all of them.” In a statement to EdSource, a UC official said that the proposal isn’t finalized and “will be further refined in consultation with the Governor and state legislative leaders as we consider a range of options to meet our shared goal of achieving a more accessible transfer pathway for prospective UC students.”


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