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Cuyamaca student statewide model of transfer program's success

Posted on: Nov 22, 2013 1:00:00 AM

Contact: Paul Feist, California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office (916) 327-5353

Cuyamaca College alumna and now San Diego State University student Maria Brown is the shining example that the state Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office points to when talking about the success of the new streamlined program developed by the state’s community college and university systems that now offers 1,000 associate degrees for transfer.

 California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice W. Harris praised the academic senates from both California Community Colleges and California State University systems for working diligently to develop the new degrees offered at the system’s 112 colleges in a way that properly aligns course requirements, making it easier for students to transfer to CSU and earn a bachelor’s degree.

 “Development of 1,000 degrees over a two-year period is an astonishing feat,” Harris said. “These degrees guarantee admission to CSU, and students are quickly finding this is an attractive path for transfer. This program makes both systems run more efficiently and will go a long way in helping California meet its need for more college-educated workers.” 

 The Associate Degree for Transfer program allows community college students who complete an Associate in Arts for Transfer or an Associate in Science for Transfer degree with 60 units (two years) priority admission to a CSU program that is similar to the community college major as determined by CSU. Once admitted to CSU, students only have to complete an additional 60 units to earn a bachelor’s degree. 

“The degree with a guarantee program means the world to me.  It means a better life for me and my family,’’ said Brown, the SDSU transfer student. “As a former foster youth, I grew up with no parents, and I never learned about college or the opportunities that were available to youth.  This program guaranteed me a spot, and it gives other former foster youth and other people of challenging backgrounds a chance to be something they never thought they could be."

 Creating more than 1,000 Associate Degrees for Transfer is an important testament to the combined work of both educational systems and a win-win achievement for our students and state, said California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White.

 “By earning both an associate’s and bachelor’s degree through this new endeavor, our graduates ‘win’ by being more competitive in the job market and earning higher wages,” White said. “With the need for at least 1 million additional degreed professionals by 2025, our state also ‘wins.’  By advancing degree completion, this new transfer pathway is supporting the economic vitality of California.”  

Past studies showed that community college students transferred with an average of 80 units when only 60 units are required for an associate degree. Then, upon arrival at the California State University, they often took excess units to make up for courses that did not transfer from their community college.

In the 2012-2013 academic year, the first full year transfer degrees were available, 1,730 Associate of Science for Transfer and 3,571 Associate of Arts for Transfer degrees were awarded to California community colleges students.

For more information about the transfer program and to hear from students who have already earned these degrees and made the jump to CSU, visit


Maria Brown

Maria Brown at Cuyamaca College's commencement

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