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Transfer program ending Robert Moreno | Fri, Oct 11 2013 12:00 PM

Community college students applying for the University California San Diego’s Transfer Admission Guarantee program in November, for a fall 2014 transfer, will be the last students eligible to participate in the program.

UC San Diego announced in 2012 that it was doing away with the 27-year-old program that guaranteed admission to UC San Diego for  thousands of transfer students in California community colleges, including Southwestern College.

UC San Diego is officially pulling the plug on the admittance program at the end of Southwestern College’s fall semester, which ends Dec. 20

UC San Diego Assistant Vice Chancellor for Admission and Enrollment Services Mae Brown said the university is doing away with the guarantee because UC San Diego is too impacted and it can no longer guarantee space for TAG students.

“We had a commitment to all 112 community colleges in the state of California,” Brown said.  “And as you might imagine, with that broad of a guarantee, as popular as UCSD was becoming, it became very difficult to have a guarantee of admission out there for every transfer student at 112 community colleges.”

Brown said TAG helped the La Jolla university reach a record number of applicants the past five years. UC San Diego saw a 68 percent increase in applications from 2006 to 2013, a growth from 8,900 applicants to 15,000.

Southwestern College Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Angelica Suarez said UC San Diego told the South Bay community college that it is throwing out the TAG program because it can no longer cater to the students in the region.

“Basically what they indicated is that they needed to end the agreement because they cannot provide regional preference to San Diego and Imperial counties,” Suarez said. “However, this was of course an agreement that has been in place over 20 years truly providing educational access for us, residents of South County.”

She said the local junior college and UC San Diego have been working together in coming up with other alternative pathways to help students get to UC San Diego.

Suarez said once TAG is eliminated, a Southwestern College student will have to apply to UC San Diego like any other student; she said there will not be any kind of preference for them.

Brown said there are other routes a transfer student can take if they still wish to transfer to UC San Diego, such as the Intersegmental General Education Transform Curriculum or the articulation agreement.

IGETC is a series of courses that California community college students may complete to satisfy the lower-division general education requirements at both UC and California State University, according to the University of California website. The articulation agreement is another program helping students transfer.

The IGETC does not guarantee admission into UC San Diego, but it lays out the criteria needed to transfer to the four-year university.

“Our goal was to make available UC San Diego to all students coming from California community colleges who meet the selection criteria,” Brown said.

Jose Esparza, a senior at UC San Diego and a psychology major, was admitted to UC San Diego from Southwestern College because of TAG.

Esparza said eliminating the TAG creates more money for the university.

“It seems like this move toward freeing up the extra spaces for admission to students who are out-of-state or international makes strong economic sense,” he said. “But ultimately what it is going to come down to is that they are eliminating one institution from low income areas or from marginalized groups of people within this county that normally wouldn’t have access to that.”

To meet the TAG criteria,  California community college students need to maintain a minimum 3.5 grade point average, and students must complete UC math and English composition classes. Students must also be  juniors when transferring.

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Community College Faculty Says:

Tue, Oct 15 2013 01:59 PM

The other part of this picture, and one which the article did not mention, is that with the passage of SB 1440 two years ago, every community college in California has been working with their counterparts in the CSU system to develop new "associate degrees for transfer" in a wide range of subjects. These degrees guarantee graduates admission to the CSU system and guarantee a path to a baccalaureate degree that is streamlined, efficient, and high-quality.

However, although the intent of the legislation was to get all three segments of higher education working together - the community colleges, the CSU system, and UC - the University of California has so far refused to join in this effort. Because they function as a semi-autonomous entity, they have not agreed to accept these degrees.

The community colleges are the major pathway to higher education for millions of Californians. The citizens of California pay taxes to support all three segments of higher education statewide. It is not fair for UC to turn away from these initiatives that benefit the same people who support them.

Community College Counselor Says:

Mon, Oct 14 2013 03:57 PM

It is difficult for those of us in the California community colleges (CCCs)to read an article like this one, which is filled with inaccuracies and misinformation.

First, IGETC is not a transfer route; it is only a General Education pattern that allows CCC transfer students to meet GE requirements for either CSU or UC. It is not required for transfer and it is not even advisable that all transfer students complete it. In fact, a major flaw in the UCSD TAG program was the requirement that all students complete IGETC--in spite of the UC-wide admonition that Engineering and other "high-unit" science majors should NOT complete it.

Second, the reporter uses the phrase "the articulation agreement", as though it is something different from IGETC and there is a single one that all students can follow. Articulation agreements (plural)are the outcome of a process that makes IGETC possible, as well as the transfer of any courses from one institution to another.

Third, omitted from this article is the fact that all of the other 6 UC campuses that participate in the system-wide TAG program plan to continue to do so, even though they are all "impacted", too. Somehow they have figured out how to offer TAG and still manage their enrollment.

But there, at the end, is the key piece of information: that a system-wide TAG made it harder for UCSD to provide preference for San Diego and Imperial County transfers. This is the same sort of regionalism that we have been seeing from the CSU. However, both of these university systems are STATE systems, paid for by all of the citizens of California. We do not pay taxes for the nearest UC or CSU, but for our young people to have access to all of the state's public universities---part of the purpose for the recent expansion of the TAG program to enable CCC students from all over the state to transfer to UCs all over the state. Wise administrators understood that mobility is an important part of California's dynamic economy and a factor in educational and career success.

sosocal Says:

Sat, Oct 12 2013 10:32 AM

I am very sorry to see this agreement end. The value in this for the students is very clear--students know that if they complete their part of the agreement, they have a spot at a very good four-year university.

Which is where we start seeing the crux of the problem: UCSD has been growing in the ranks and growing in reputation, and has many more students applying for admission. Of course the school is going to want to capitalize on that--that is the kind of society we live in.

The school wants to admit more foreign and out-of-state students, because those students are charged higher rates.

But what about the home-grown students whose families have been paying taxes for generations, assisting in building up the educational system into what it is? I guess those students will just have to differentiate themselves with better grades, better essays, better interviews, better recommendations. And hope that their efforts will be recognized.

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