Cal State to Change Transfer Guidelines

El Vaquero Staff Writer

GCC students, who may wish to transfer to a CSU school in spring and fall 2003 may have to do so under new guidelines proposed by the California State University Board of Trustees on Nov. 13.

Students who graduate from GCC with an Associate of Arts degree need to complete 60 units, as defined by the college’s graduation policy. However, students also have the option of transferring with 56 units without an A.A., entering their school of choice as a sophomore, and coming back to GCC to complete the requirements to attain the degree. Students who complete their 60 units at GCC and graduate enter their school of choice as a junior.

The proposal made by the trustees would increase the number of units required for transfer students from 56 to 60.

The trustees’ proposal was made on the heels of a budget deficit affecting the state.

Gov. Gray Davis on Tuesday declared a sate-wide fiscal crisis, saying that the budget deficit in the state of California could reach $20 billion.

Davis’ mid-year cuts would slash the community college and four-year college system’s budget by about $350 million, and for the first time in eight years, could result in a fee increase for both the UC and CSU systems.

According to the Associated Press, 406,896 students are enrolled in the state’s 23-campus system, with an additional estimated 100,000 students by 2010.

The 407,000-student CSU system can only provide funding for 15,000 additional students; however, that number increased to 20,000 applicants this fiscal year, which is more than CSU can provide.

The additional enrollment has brought the CSU budget to roughly $3 billion. At least $400 million will be needed to accommodate enrollment in 2003.

Already, schools such as Cal State Long Beach and San Diego State University require 60 units for transfer students, said transfer center coordinator Sarkis Ghazarian, due to the impact of high enrollment and tighter budgets.

The goal, said Ghazarian, is for additional transfer students to transfer as juniors instead of sophomores.
“They’re [Long Beach, San Diego] maxing out their physical capabilities,” said Ghazarian.

The proposal is also being made in the hopes of “streamlining the admissions and financial aid process in addition to aligning the CSU system with other higher education systems that require 60 units for transfer students,” said CSU Executive Vice Chancellor David Spence, in a comment to the AP.

However, Ghazarian does not think that the proposal, which will be voted on by the trustees in January, will have much of an impact on GCC students since it is only a difference of four units, meaning one or two more courses for the transfer student.

The largest impact may come if students expect to transfer at a certain date and must push that date up to complete the required 60 units.

According to Ghazarian, students who transfer to a CSU school with only 56 units receive less money if they apply for financial aid, and they do not receive priority registration.

“The problem is, is it [the 60 units requirement] going to be uniform within the whole Cal State system or are they going to let each individual campus make its own decision?” asked Ghazarian.

Ghazarian said that a competing interest exists in the CSU system, which puts together campuses that need students and campuses that are “bursting at the seams.”

Ghazarian believes that the majority exists with campuses that are seeing increased enrollment and tight budgets.

“My hunch is the 60 is going to win out,” said Ghazarian.