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UC president coming to Merced College

The University of California’s president will visit Merced College next week, joining about a dozen community college leaders, during what is being called a “listening tour.”

Janet Napolitano will meet with Valley community college presidents at 11 a.m. Thursday in Merced College’s Administration Building. The meeting is not open to the public.

Topics to be discussed likely circle around Napolitano’s plans to increase transfers for community college students to UC schools.

In May, Napolitano outlined a comprehensive strategy to make it easier for those students to make the move.

“Transfer students are an important part of UC’s strength, as well as an engine of social mobility for our state,” she said in May.

“Put simply, if we are serving transfers well, then we are serving the state well,” Napolitano said.

After taking office, she commissioned a comprehensive review of the UC system’s transfer policies, practices and services.

The report, titled “Preparing California for Its Future: Enhancing Community College Transfer to UC,” recommends that UC schools reach out more broadly to California’s community colleges, especially those located in underserved regions.

For example, 62 percent of UC Merced’s enrolled students are first-generation college attendees, according to the most recent numbers from the university.

From its inception, UC Merced was seen as a way to give better access to higher education to students in the Valley.

The plan also recommends enrolling at least 33 percent of community college transfers systemwide and that same percentage at each UC campus.

Napolitano’s plan calls for a “pipeline” between UC schools and 30 community colleges in the state with relatively low numbers of transfers to UC campuses.

For more on the plan, go to www.ucop.edu/transfer-action-team.

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