New degrees being worked on for Community Colleges

California Community Colleges and California State Universities are working together in order to create state-wide implementation of AA-T and AS-T Transfer Degrees in community colleges.

AA-T degrees are Associate in Arts for Transfer Degrees and AS-T are Associate in Science for Transfer Degrees.

There are currently 112 community colleges in California that are working to make these degrees available to their students and Cerritos College President Dr. Linda Lacy feels that Cerritos College is one of the top colleges doing this.

“If you look at the numbers and the reports we’re acknowledged as one of the leading colleges in completing our transfer degrees.”

Cerritos College currently has three degrees waiting to be approved and a total of seven that have already been approved.

Counselors and proffessors at Cerritos College are working to create fliers and hold workshops to help extend knowledge to students about these transfer degrees.

Lacy said that the college offers mandatory assessment and counseling orientation that has been in affect for about a year now.

A benefit to the Transfer Degree according to California Community Colleges Deputy Chancellor Erik Skinner is that it helps the student not exceed units by taking extra classes.

A student needs 60 units to transfer to a CSU, and with this new program if a student enters a community college, and then transfers he can get his Associate’s Degree and Bachelor’s Degree with 120 units completed.

Lacy explained that transferring for students in California has recently been difficult due to CSUs only accepting certain things and now Cerritos College wants to “expedite and streamline” this program for students.

Another part of this transfer program is aimed at helping students enter the CSU at the level they earned back at a community college.

“It certainly shouldn’t be where you’ve got 90 or 100 units and still can’t go in (to a CSU) as a junior,” Lacy said.

Skinner explained that the SB1440, that was created in 2010, “laid ground work” for what the community colleges and CSUs are doing now with transfer degrees.

Before the SB1440 students were repeating courses once they transferred to a CSU, since the 1440 they don’t have to repeat courses.

According to Skinner there are many resources created to help raise awareness to the transfer degrees.

There have been radio ads, as well as counselors and advisers have been trained to inform students and there is also a website called adegreewithaguarantee.com

California State University Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer Ephraim P. Smith included that information is sent down to students at high schools to let them know what to expect if they go to a community college in California.

Currently there are 22 degrees available in the popular majors and six degrees in the works.

557 degrees that have been approved and stretched across all 112 colleges.

It is expected that 80 percent of majors with the AA-T degree will be approved by fall of 2013, and full implementation at 100 percent by fall of 2014.