UCLA to pilot program guaranteeing admission for associate degree holders
Pictured is outside Janns Steps, with Royce Hall in the background. Assembly Bill 1291 designated that UCLA will be the first UC campus to implement an associate degree for transfer pathway. (Mia Tavares/Daily Bruin senior staff)
Feb. 11, 2024 10:49 p.m.
UCLA will pilot an Associate Degree for Transfer Program in the 2026-2027 academic year.
Established by Assembly Bill 1291, which was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom in October and went into effect Jan. 1, the program will prioritize the admission of students who have completed an associate degree for transfer at a California Community Colleges’ campus and meet the requirements of the UC transfer curricula for a participating campus. An associate degree for transfer pathway already exists for the California State University system.
The bill states that although the program will first be implemented at UCLA, the UC must designate at least five campuses to implement the program by the 2028-2029 academic year. Transfer students who meet the given requirements must be guaranteed a place at one of the participating UC campuses, according to the bill.
This past fall, 92.7% of transfer students admitted to UCLA were from CCCs, with an overall transfer admission rate of 25.8%, according to the UC.
Andrea Kasko, the chair of the UCLA Academic Senate, said in an emailed statement that the pilot program hopes to streamline the transfer process and increase the number of transfers admitted from underrepresented CCCs. The UCLA Undergraduate Council and the UCLA Committee on Undergraduate Admissions and Relations with Schools have created an academic senate task force to plan and implement the program at UCLA, she said.
Gary Clark, the associate vice chancellor of enrollment management, said although UCLA does not require transfer students to have completed an associate degree and already admits many students with these degrees, the new program could help make UCLA a more welcoming choice for potential transfers.
“The benefit of something like this, honestly, is the attention that it’s going to receive,” Clark said. “Hopefully, students that are studying these specific ADTs and these majors, … it will just entice them to have some additional interest in UCLA.”
The new pilot aims to attract students from community colleges that are underrepresented in transfers to the UC and potentially support underrepresented majors, he added.
“We’re looking at all California Community Colleges and determining largely which ADTs in which majors align best with the major prep necessary at UCLA for some of the majors that ultimately might be selected,” Clark said.
UCLA must incorporate eight majors into the CCCs’ transfer model curricula by the 2026-2027 academic year and expand that number to at least 12 by the 2028-2029 academic year, according to the bill. Kasko said in an emailed statement that the task force will consult with transfer student representatives, campus units and departments to recommend the first series of majors, as well as goals and evaluation metrics to guide the program’s future. Student representatives will be invited to task force meetings as the agendas are developed, she added.
The UCLA Academic Senate’s Committee on Committees selected members of the task force from the Undergraduate Council and CUARS with the goal of representing different parts of the campus, Kasko said. They will meet once a month and will provide a report with recommendations by the end of this academic year, she added.
Bryce Trevino, a third-year political science transfer student, said he completed an associate degree for transfer from Cerritos College before transferring to UCLA this academic year. He added that the journey of completing his associate degree and the transferable credits it provided helped him feel prepared and confident in transferring to UCLA.
“It really goes hand in hand, because a lot of those people who end up getting their degree end up transferring,” Trevino said. “Having that as our goal is definitely important, and I think it definitely helped.”
Trevino, a volunteer program coordinator at the Transfer Student Center, said being a transfer student can feel isolating on campus without transfer-specific resources or support, adding that his experience at UCLA has been greatly enriched by his involvement with the TSC.
Since many transfers already complete their associate degrees before transferring, he said he feels the new ADT program’s tenets of priority and guaranteed admission will create an encouraging new path to add to existing transfer programs. Trevino added that current transfer pathways such as the Transfer Admission Guarantee or the Transfer Alliance Program may additionally require certain application deadlines or long-term planning that students can easily overlook.
“Just knowing about these programs is something that really helps ease your path,” he said. “I will admit, once I knew that I could do it and get good grades, I was like, ‘Okay, I’m going to set higher expectations for myself.’”