Alexandra Ramirez attended Sacramento-area community colleges during the recession, ultimately moving between three campuses in search of needed classes before enrolling at UC Davis in 2012.
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Now, after a hiatus for work, Ramirez, 24, is returning to UC Davis to complete her bachelor’s degree in anthropology in the coming academic year. She was among four students on hand Tuesday in Davis as the UC system unveiled a simpler process for community college students planning to transfer to any of its nine undergraduate campuses.
“I think that this pathway UC is creating for community college students will be of great benefit to first-generation students like myself who need some sort of guidance,” Ramirez said.
Too often, community college students take classes that are ineligible for transfer or don’t apply toward their major at a UC campus, officials said. The new Transfer Pathways program created by UC faculty is meant to ensure that students can graduate within two years after transferring by focusing on community college classes that apply toward a UC degree.
The program initially applies to students pursuing majors in anthropology, biochemistry, biology, cell biology, chemistry, economics, mathematics, molecular biology, physics and sociology.
UC Davis enrolled 2,924 transfer students from California Community Colleges last fall, including 414 from the Los Rios Community College District. Locally, most of those students came from Sacramento City College and American River College.
The new program “hopefully will allow for students not taking courses that they ultimately can’t use for a degree or a certificate,” said California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice W. Harris. “It certainly means savings not only for the student in terms of finances but in terms of time.”
Students who graduate on time will open up seats for more to enroll, he said. Harris joined UC President Janet Napolitano for the announcement at the Davis Center, a unique Sacramento City College facility housed in UC Davis’ West Village.
Educators at every level, from high schools to four-year colleges, in recent years have sought ways to enable more seamless student transfers.
At UC, starting this week, community college students who want to see what’s required for some of the popular majors can visit a UC admissions website and explore requirements. For anthropology, for example, students can check on the coursework needed (physical/biological anthropology, cultural anthropology and introduction to archaeology) and then identify the specific community college classes that will satisfy those requirements.
Currently, only 10 popular majors list the course requirements and options. But Napolitano said UC will quickly create Transfer Pathways for 11 other majors.
Napolitano said that when she arrived as UC president about two years ago, she knew that “one of the things that California has that makes its higher education system unique is this robust system of colleges.
“It seemed to me then and it seems to me now that that linkage between the two-year community colleges and four-year baccalaureate and onward could be stronger,” she said.
Last school year, 56,565 California community college students transferred to California State University. UC reported that 17,458 state community college students registered at its campuses in fall 2014.