The University of California is trying to increase the number of undergraduates it admits from the state's community colleges by spelling out the courses transferring students need to be eligible to complete their studies at a UC campus, UC President Janet Napolitano said Tuesday.
Hoping to make the journey from a two-year college to a UC school both simpler and speedier, Napolitano said the system has created uniform transfer "pathways" for 10 of its most popular majors: anthropology, biochemistry, biology, cell biology, chemistry, economics, mathematics, molecular biology, physics and sociology.
The common roadmaps developed by faculty members list the three to five classes students at California's 112 community colleges would have to complete in their chosen field of study to be ready to enter the university as juniors and then earn their degrees in two years. The university is planning to do the same for another 11 majors before the end of the year.
"These pathways will allow us to better meet students' needs by making course expectations more transparent," UC Academic Senate Chairwoman Mary Gilly said in a statement. "Although the pathways are not a guarantee of admission, we know that early preparation can help students meet their academic goals and graduate on time."
Transfer students make up about 30 percent of the new undergraduates the university system enrolls each year. As part of the budget deal Napolitano negotiated with Gov. Jerry Brown to preserve the university's funding for the fiscal year that started July 1, she has committed to getting the proportion up to one-third, or one transfer student for every two freshmen, at eight of UC's nine undergraduates campuses by fall 2017.
Jacob Jackson, a research fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California, said only three campuses — UC Davis, UCLA and UC San Diego — achieved that ratio last year. The rest would need to enroll anywhere from 500 to 950 more transfer students to get there based on the number of freshmen they enrolled, a task that could prove challenging based on current application and admissions trends, Jackson said.
"The goal to get a 2-to-1 ratio at every campus in the system is definitely laudable and will definitely help a lot more community college transfers get through the UC, but community college transfer applications have dropped at the UC for the past few years while freshman applications are up quite a bit," he said.