The Community College Transfer option to a 4 Year College, while seeming to save money in the short term, can include other costs. Currently, community colleges in California are challenged to service their students, given the budget reductions from the state. At the same time demand is rising for space in California community colleges–300,000 students are estimated to be turned away from California Community Colleges in 2012-13. (Brice Harris, Chancellor of Los Rios Community College District, Studio Sacramento, 4/13/2012)–less than 25% of community college students intending to transfer, earn an Associates Degree or Certificate, actually did within 6 years. (CSUS, Institute for Higher Educational Leadership & Policy, 2007). Yet, California Community College fees have increased 418% since 2000, or $35 per unit. And, local community college districts, like Los Rios in the Sacramento Region, have reduced class offerings by 8.5% over the past 3 years (Sacramento Bee, 1/29/2012)
Some questions to consider before choosing the transfer option, given the current educational circumstances in California’s community colleges:
- What advising and academic support are students getting to complete their degrees and transfer plans for the 75% estimated not to finish their intended goals in 6 years?
- How much more time is it taking for students to complete their transfer requirements with class reductions and rising demand for seats in community college classrooms?
- What salary earning potential have students potentially lost by staying in or being prolonged in a college education?
The more one knows before starting community college, the better. There’s greater time and information to set plans and be strategic in navigating the transfer admissions process for a timely transfer.