June 1, 2007

Low Percentage of Latinos Transfer From Community College to University

A majority of Latino post-secondary students in California are concentrated in the community college system, but only a handful transfer to a four-year university, according to a new policy brief by the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center.

The study, released May 25 at the 2007 Latina/o Education Summit at UCLA, shows that of the Latino students who enrolled in a community college for the 2002-03 school year, 40 percent aspired to transfer to a four-year institution.

“Unfortunately, only a handful of students who aspire to transfer actually do so,” the researchers said. “In 2002-03, approximately 10 percent of [Latino] students enrolled at a California community college campus successfully transferred to a four-year institution.”

In addition, 28 percent of Latino community college students were undecided about their future educational goals. However, the authors argued that with access to the appropriate transfer curriculum and counseling, undecided students could potentially aspire to transfer as well.

“These findings reveal an ongoing mismatch - between students’ aspirations and the institutional support needed to meet these goals - that must be examined and modified,” the authors said.

Community colleges play a critical role in the production of doctoral degrees in the United States. Of all Chicanos who received a doctorate, one out of four began his or her postsecondary education at the community college level. Chicanos, the study noted, are more likely than any other racial or ethnic group to attain a doctorate by way of a community college.

The authors recommended that community colleges provide students access to the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum, which allows students to fulfill all the lower-division general education requirements for California State University and University of California campuses, ensuring that they are prepared to transfer to one of these four-year universities.

Other recommendations include strengthening support programs that build alliances between community colleges and four-year institutions and expanding summer “bridge” programs to all California State University and University of California campuses. Bridge programs prepare admitted transfer students for the rigors of a four-year university.

Study authors were Martha A. Rivas, a doctoral candidate at the UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies; Jeanette Pérez and Crystal R. Alvarez, two UCLA doctoral students in education; and Daniel G. Solorzano, UCLA professor of education and associate director of the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center.

This year’s conference focuses on understanding the Latino transfer student experience through all segments of postsecondary education in California.

This year’s conference focuses on understanding the Latino transfer student experience through all segments of postsecondary education in California.

To download the policy brief, research report, and obtain information about the conference, visit www.chicano.ucla. edu

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