System changes rules on ‘guaranteed’ admission to CSUs
The California State University system has changed the rules since it promised high school graduates it would save a place for them—if only they logged two years at a community college. But so far, no one seems all that worried.
The new policy for upper-division transfer students forces students to identify their major and take six core units in that selected major before transferring.
“I did not know about this policy, but I think it’s something that students in my position should be aware of,” said Frank Padilla, a Butte College student planning to transfer to Chico State next fall.
Padilla nonetheless suspects the new transfer policy could become a burden on many students hoping to transfer. “It’s unfortunate for people who don’t know exactly what they want to do for a career and have also not been informed of the policy.”
Kathy Kaiser, who serves on the California State University Board of Trustees and is a sociology professor at Chico State, said that because many of the state campuses are impacted, admission under the old rules had become nearly impossible.
“Many students were not declaring a major and so they might come without any of the major prep that was needed,” she said. “And in high-unit majors or in majors where there were many prerequisites, this was a scheduling nightmare.”
Kaiser said the new transfer “package” will expect students to have 45 units, general education and a major core of six units completed before guaranteed admission to any CSU school of their choice.
“We have been forced to raise fees in order to compensate for some of the budget cuts and to keep access available to more students,” Kaiser said. It wasn’t that students weren’t academically qualified to transfer; there just wasn’t enough money for the CSU to take them on, so the system punted the problem back to the community colleges.
The “Save the CSU” campaign helped convince the Legislature and the governor to put more money toward the CSU system for the year 2004-2005, allowing 7,500 more students admittance to CSUs and easing the crunch somewhat.
Kaiser said the new transfer plan will give the highest priority to those who declare a major early enough at the community college level, prepare for it, declare a CSU campus of choice, complete lower-division GE and complete their 60 units.
“This allows a far more efficient use of their time at [community colleges]; they only take what they need, and arrive as a better-prepared student entering the CSU campus, equivalent to the native CSU student,” Kaiser said.
Previously, the policy was that a transfer student had to have 56 units but could come on ahead to a CSU even if he or she had a few units pending—usually in math or English. Now, with several CSU campuses or programs impacted and with budget constraints, they must have what’s called the “Golden 4": math, English, critical thinking and speech.
Matt Jackson, the vice president for educational and student programs and services for Butte College, said he thinks the new transfer policy is another way for the Chancellor’s Office to manage enrollment.
“I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing,” Jackson said, “if it expedites students’ goals at the university.”
For those transferring from Butte to Chico State, it may be easier because Butte works with Chico State’s advising office to ensure that their programs and classes are aligned with each other, he said.
“For the most part, it will work for students,” he said. “The goal is to try to make a seamless transition.”
The policy will be put into effect in the fall of 2006 and all students who meet the new requirements will be guaranteed admission to any CSU school of their choice.
Corey O’Neil contributed to this story.