May 25, 2021
Contact: Rafael Chávez
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California community colleges, despite the highly disruptive challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, continued to show progress toward meeting goals of the system’s Vision for Success, which sets a path to increase certificate and degree attainment, to improve transfer, and to close equity gaps.
“The past year has been a test like no other for our students, faculty and staff, and yet we stayed on course toward our goals,” said Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley during his State of the System report to the Board of Governors. “We have emerged as a higher education system that is stronger and more resilient than ever. We’re not going back to the old normal. Our new normal is defined by empathy, innovation and steadfast commitment to closing equity gaps"
The number of students transferring to the University of California and California State University showed a yearly increase of 4 percent, a slightly larger increase than was logged in the preceding year. The number of students earning Associate Degrees for Transfer, meanwhile, continued their upward trajectory, with a yearly increase of nearly 13 percent.
“We will continue to work with our partner institutions to streamline the transfer process and to improve fairness and transparency, resulting in more students who meet all the requirements of transfer successfully transitioning to four-year colleges and universities,” said Board of Governors President Pamela Haynes.
Certificate, degree and transfer success increased across all student groups, but to close equity gaps colleges need to improve completion rates for African American and Latino students at a greater rate than for white students. Regional equity gaps, as measured in seven California geographic areas, are also slowly closing.
Community colleges have already met the goal of increasing the number of students who earn college credentials by 20 percent from the baseline year of 2016-17, and the number of credentials awarded continued to increase.
Key policy initiatives contributing to progress include systemwide adoption of the Guided Pathways framework and ongoing implementation of a new system for placement of incoming students that ended flawed standardized testing that inaccurately placed many students in remedial rather than transfer-level coursework.
The California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in the nation, composed of 73 districts and 116 colleges serving 2.1 million students per year. California community colleges provide career education and workforce training; guaranteed transfer to four-year universities; degree and certificate pathways; and basic skills education in English and math. As the state’s engine for social and economic mobility, the California Community Colleges supports the Vision for Success, a strategic plan designed to improve student success outcomes, increase transfer rates and eliminate achievement gaps. For more information, please visit the California Community Colleges website or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.