California Governor Proposes Dual-Admissions Pathway to Help Students
In the wake of the pandemic disrupting college campuses, California Governor Gavin Newsom has announced an ambitious proposal to allow community college graduates guaranteed admission at certain state colleges. The news that the California governor proposes a dual-admissions pathway for certain students comes at a time when many colleges and universities face extreme financial challenges.
Governor’s Budget Summary
One of the main highlights in the governor’s budget summary proposal is that beginning in 2023, first-time community college students in their freshman year will get to choose between a CSU or UC campus for enrollment. To be eligible for guaranteed free admission, students need to gain an associate degree or equivalent within two years of enrolling.
Each university will establish its own criteria for admissions requirements, as more crowded campuses will have more stringent GPA requirements. The proposal further requests that the campuses send students provisional financial aid letters that explain the aid package available to them.
One of the primary motivations behind the governor’s proposal is to boost transfer rates from community colleges to state campuses. A recent study by the Public Policy Institute of California shows that 25 % of students in the state who set out to make this transfer do so within six years. That number exceeds the national rate of about 14 %, according to data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.
UC President Michael Drake and CSU Chancellor Joseph Castro both stated in a recent public forum that they support improving transfer pathways to higher learning institutions in the state. The CSU campus system has 23 universities for students to choose from, while the UC system offers 9 undergraduate campuses. Newsom’s plan would change current transfer pathways to allow students to choose a specific UC or CSU campus and allow access to resources at the nearest CSU or UC campus before making the transfer.
One of the biggest challenges currently faced by campuses is the limited availability of space, especially considering the current need for social distancing. Universities are currently in the process of rethinking class sizes while repurposing large rooms and meeting areas.
Will the Other States Follow California?
California often sets new standards for social programs, although it is not the first state to create a guaranteed college admission program. Texas was the first state to implement such a plan in 1998 for high school students in the state that finished in the top 10 % of their class. Over half of the states have already guaranteed that community college students may transfer all their credits to a four-year college once they get their associate degree.
Newsom’s proposal would create dual admission options for students, which opens the door for community college students to set realistic goals on transferring to higher learning institutions after completing the first two years. At the same time, it might put additional strain on capacity at public colleges in the state that are struggling to pay their expenses. Forecasts point to the state’s four-year college campuses denying about 144,000 enrollment applicants each year by 2030, according to the College Futures Foundation.
Another element of the governor’s proposal that might spark interest in other states is a guarantee that transferring students will receive counseling services at the state university where they choose to enroll. The university Chancellor will be required to submit an annual report to the Director of Finance of the estimated number of students that will participate.
California college students may be able to get guaranteed admissions into the UC and CSU systems if they complete necessary academic requirements. Newsom’s proposal would create dual admission, making it easier for students to make a seamless transition to a 4-year campus.
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