College Milestones

Completion of Transfer Curriculum: California

Percentage of California Community College students who completed a transfer curriculum before transferring within seven years, by age and race/ethnicity

What Is Measured?

Percentage of students who completed a transfer curriculum before transferring

Who Is Counted?

First-time degree-seeking California Community College students who enrolled in credit courses during the 2000-01 academic year and transferred to a four-year institution within seven years, excluding non-credit and dual-enrolled students

What It Tells Us

Overall, about one-half (54 percent) of California Community College students who transferred completed a transfer curriculum beforehand. Students 17–24 years old when first enrolled were more likely to complete a transfer curriculum before transferring than students 25 or older (57 percent vs. 31 percent). Asian American students were the most likely racial/ethnic group to have completed a transfer curriculum, while African American students were the least likely to have done so (65 percent vs. 30 percent).

Why It's Important

Completion of the transfer or general education curriculum is a milestone for transfer-bound students who may or may not attain an associate degree before transfer. Currently, transfer students are not always counted as completers. Community college students who complete a transfer curriculum usually do so to receive upper-division or junior-level standing when they transfer to a four-year institution, but many students transfer without completing a transfer curriculum. Students who transfer without completing a transfer curriculum must spend additional time and money completing their general education courses at the four-year institution.

About the Data

Degree-seeking students: include students enrolled in more than six units during their first year.

Transfer curriculum: 60 semester credits of lower-division coursework, including at least one course each in English and mathematics. This definition likely overestimates the true percentage of students completing a transfer curriculum because individual institutions and programs of study often impose additional specific course requirements for transfer students.

Data Source

Moore, C., Shulock, N., & Offenstein, J. (2009, October). Steps to Success: Analyzing milestone achievement to improve community college student outcomes. Sacramento, CA: California State University Sacramento, Institute for Higher Education Leadership & Policy.