Thursday, March 22, 2012

SB 1440 to Help Students Earn Associate Degrees for Transfer to the Cal State University System

By Ariel Carmona Jr.

Citrus College has joined 61 community colleges throughout California that offer associate degrees for transfer to the California State University (CSU) system. System-wide, 133 associate degrees for transfer have been developed and approved since last summer, and are now available to students throughout the state.

The associate degrees are the byproduct of the Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act (SB 1440) of 2010. SB 1440 guarantees admission to the CSU system with junior standing to any California community college student who completes an associate degree for transfer. If admitted to a similar major at the CSU, students will then have to complete 60 units to earn a bachelor’s degree.

According to information made public by the Office of State Senator Alex Padilla, who authored the bill, clarifying and streamlining the transfer process would result in students graduating more quickly, allowing community colleges and the CSU to serve more students.

Dr. Geraldine M. Perri, superintendent/president of Citrus College believes that SB 1440 will be instrumental in removing a key barrier students face in transferring to a CSU institution.

“California’s economy is directly dependent on an educated workforce with the skills set and training required to succeed in job sectors requiring advanced degrees,” she said. “The associate degrees for transfer empower our students with the knowledge they need to navigate what has traditionally been a rigorous path into the CSU. This pathway to baccalaureate degrees will be instrumental in producing the professional workforce California needs as more numbers of the baby boom generation retire.”

Citrus College has established Associate in Arts for Transfer (AA-T) and Associate in Science for Transfer (AS-T) degrees in seven areas: sociology, psychology, communication studies, English, administration of justice, mathematics, and early childhood education.

To earn an Associate in Arts for Transfer (AA-T) or an Associate in Science for Transfer (AS-T), students must complete 60 transferable units in an AA-T or AS-T major, with a minimum GPA of 2.0., complete specified courses required for transfer and a minimum of 18 units in their chosen major.

Justina Rivadeneyra, career/transfer center coordinator at Citrus College, said it is important to note that while students are not guaranteed admission to a specific campus, major or program, transfer degrees give students priority consideration over other transfer students in their local area.

Another advantage is that students obtain a GPA bonus for impacted majors.

“Any GPA bonus is a plus. Although a .10 or .20 GPA bump may not seem significant, it may help a borderline student gain admission.” said Rivadeneyra.

“The AA-S and AA-T degrees are most beneficial if students select majors that have been deemed ‘similar’ at the CSU campuses, she said, “Therefore, if students want to save time and money by streamlining the preparation for their majors, it is wise to pick from the ‘similar’ majors and non-similar majors that are not impacted at the CSU.”

According to Rivadeneyra, once students learn that their CSU of choice or their major is impacted, maintaining a good academic record is imperative.

“When the CSU campus or major is impacted, a competitive GPA is very important for admissions. When the major is impacted, specific major preparation, or supplemental criteria, is often required. If a student completes an AA-S or an AS-T, they do not need to complete additional supplemental criteria for the major. This is precisely how an associate degree for transfer can benefit students; they reduce time to complete a degree because the major preparation is the same for all the CSU campuses that deem the major similar” she said.

Mrs. Joanne Montgomery, president of the Citrus Community College District Board of Trustees, said she was also happy to see the associate degrees for transfer removing the barriers students often encounter when transferring into the CSU system.

“Preparing our students to transfer to a four-year university has been a core function of the community college system, and that remains true today,” she said. “I am extremely glad that the pathway to transfer, which previously had been difficult for students to navigate, has been streamlined.”

For more information about the Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act, or general transfer question, call the Career/Transfer Center at (626) 914-8639 or email them at or visit

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