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AB-928 Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act of 2021: Associate Degree for Transfer Intersegmental Implementation Committee.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 03/18/2021 09:00 PM
AB928:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  March 18, 2021

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 928


Introduced by Assembly Member Berman

February 17, 2021


An act to add Section 66749.8 to the Education Code, relating to postsecondary education.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 928, as amended, Berman. Postsecondary education: transfer process. Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act of 2021: Associate Degree for Transfer Intersegmental Implementation Committee.
Existing law establishes the California Community Colleges, under the administration of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges, as one of the segments of postsecondary education in this state. The California Community Colleges system provides instruction to students at 116 campuses operated by community college districts throughout the state and, among other things, provides its students with a transfer pathway, facilitated by mechanisms such as the Associate Degree for Transfer, allowing students to apply academic credit earned at a community college toward receipt of a bachelor’s degree at a 4-year postsecondary institution.
The Donahoe Higher Education Act requires a student who earns an associate degree for transfer (ADT) to be deemed eligible for transfer into a California State University baccalaureate program when the student meets certain requirements. Provisions of the Donahoe Higher Education Act apply to the University of California only to the extent that the Regents of the University of California act, by resolution, to make them applicable.
This bill would express findings and declarations of the Legislature related to the process of transfer from community colleges to 4-year institutions. The bill would express the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation related to a student-centered transfer process.
This bill would establish the Associate Degree for Transfer Intersegmental Implementation Committee to serve as the primary entity charged with the oversight of the ADT. The bill would specify the committee’s membership. The bill would assign numerous duties to the committee, including the duty to establish timelines and reporting deadlines relating to reviews of transfer model curricula, and the duty to develop a comprehensive communications plan and guidance to inform students about the ADT pathway. The bill would also require the committee, on or before December 31, 2022, to provide the Legislature with recommendations on certain issues impeding the scaling of the ADT and streamlining transfer across segments for students.
The bill would require the California State University, working jointly with the University of California, on or before December 31, 2022, to establish a singular lower division general education pathway that meets the academic requirements necessary for transfer admission into both segments. This requirement would apply to the University of California only if the regents adopt an appropriate resolution, as required by existing law.
Where ADTs for major pathways exist, the bill would require the California Community Colleges, on or before December 31, 2023, to automatically place students on those pathways. To the extent that this provision would impose new duties on community college districts, it would constitute a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to the statutory provisions noted above.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NOYES   Local Program: NOYES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) The 1960 Master Plan for Higher Education promised an accessible, affordable, and high-quality higher education for all California students who qualify. The transfer pathway, from community college to four-year institution, is an integral component of the master plan’s commitment to access and affordability.
(2) Many students attend community college with the hope of transferring to complete a bachelor’s degree. However, the master plan did not say how transfer would work in practice for students.
(3) While recent efforts such as the Associate Degree for Transfer and remedial education reform have led to important gains, the transfer process is still unnecessarily complex, confusing, and difficult for the vast majority of students to navigate.
(4) Transfer students are more often Black and Latinx as well as first generation, highlighting transfer as an important way to close equity gaps.
(5) A report released in September 2020 by the Public Policy Institute of California found that a large gap exists between the number of students who hope to transfer and those who do: 19 percent of students with a stated transfer goal do so within four years; 28 percent do so within six years.
(6) The Public Policy Institute of California also found that equity gaps are a big concern. While Latino students represent 51 percent of students who declare a degree or transfer goal, they represent 35 percent of those who transfer within four years; African American students represent 7 and 5 percent, respectively.
(7) There is a clear need to further streamline and make the transfer process easier for students to navigate, especially during these challenging and unprecedented times.
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation related to a student-centered transfer process.

SEC. 2.

 Section 66749.8 is added to the Education Code, immediately following Section 66749.7, to read:

66749.8.
 (a) This section shall be known, and may be cited, as the Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act of 2021. As used in this section, “committee” means the Associate Degree for Transfer Intersegmental Implementation Committee established in subdivision (b).
(b) The Associate Degree for Transfer Intersegmental Implementation Committee is hereby established for the following purposes:
(1) To serve as the primary entity charged with the oversight of the associate degree for transfer (ADT) for the sole purpose of strengthening the pathway to ensure it becomes the primary transfer pathway in California between campuses of the California Community Colleges and the University of California, the California State University, and other participating institutions, so that more students can avail themselves of the pathway’s benefits.
(2) To enhance coordination and communication between participating institutions by providing a venue by which they can regularly meet and address issues that are impeding the purpose described in paragraph (1).
(3) To provide the Legislature and the Governor with recommendations to support the purpose described in paragraph (1).
(c) (1) The membership of the committee shall reflect its intersegmental function by including a cross-section of the stakeholders who will be needed to fulfill the committee’s responsibilities.
(2) Each of the following entities shall designate, on or before March 1, 2022, one representative to serve on the committee:
(A) The Office of the Chancellor of the California Community Colleges.
(B) The Office of the Chancellor of the California State University.
(C) The Office of the President of the University of California.
(D) The Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities.
(E) The State Department of Education.
(F) The Student Senate for the California Community Colleges.
(G) The California State Student Association.
(H) The University of California Student Association.
(I) The Academic Senate for the California Community Colleges.
(J) The Academic Senate of the California State University.
(K) The Academic Senate of the University of California.
(L) The California Intersegmental Articulation Council.
(3) The Governor, the Speaker of the Assembly, and the Senate Committee on Rules shall each appoint four members of the committee as follows:
(A) One representative from the workforce sector with expertise in the fields of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics.
(B) One researcher from a postsecondary educational institution.
(C) Two representatives from educational equity and social justice organizations.
(d) (1) On or before December 31, 2022, the California State University (CSU), jointly with the University of California (UC), shall establish a singular lower division general education pathway that meets the academic requirements necessary for transfer admission into both segments.
(2) Commencing with the fall term of the 2023–24 academic year, the singular lower division general education pathway established pursuant to paragraph (1) shall be the only lower division general education pathway used to determine academic eligibility and sufficient academic preparation for transfer admission to CSU and UC.
(3) Students who began course-taking patterns on general education pathways that meet the requirements for transfer shall be grandfathered in for eligibility as implementation phases in.
(e) On or before December 31, 2022, the committee shall provide the Legislature with recommendations on all of the following issues impeding the scaling of the ADT and streamlining transfer across segments for students:
(1) Identifying annual goals for increasing transfer rates in California and closing racial equity gaps in transfer outcomes to be adopted by the state. Specifically, these goals shall include all of the following:
(A) Annual goals for improving transfer attainment needed to meet the state’s workforce demands.
(B) Goals for closing gaps in transfer outcomes by race.
(C) Goals for closing regional opportunity gaps to access ADT pathways.
(2) Identifying whether the 60-unit lower division pathway is impeding the development of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degree pathways, and whether STEM degree pathways require a differing unit threshold. The recommendations made pursuant to this paragraph shall comply with both of the following requirements:
(A) The recommendations shall include sufficient evidence supporting a higher unit threshold for each STEM degree pathway, including an analysis of colleges that have succeeded in adopting similar pathways within the 60-unit framework.
(B) A recommendation for a differing unit threshold within a STEM degree pathway shall not recommend a change of more than six units.
(f) On or before December 31, 2023, the committee shall achieve all of the following:
(1) Establish timelines and reporting deadlines for its regular review of existing transfer model curricula (TMC) to ensure that the TMC are consistent with demand for academic majors and respond to evolving workforce demands. In doing this, the committee shall develop a plan to establish venues for professional collaboration in consultation with academic senates and appropriate faculty associations on degree production, major alignment, and workforce- or industry-specific relevance.
(2) Establish timelines and reporting deadlines for its regular review of declaring or matching TMC similar to CSU majors for admissions purposes.
(3) Develop a plan for the creation of additional TMC for the ADT to respond to evolving workforce demands, including STEM degree pathways, and degree pathways that will aid in the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, such as nursing and cybersecurity.
(4) Develop a comprehensive communications plan and guidance on student-centered outreach to inform students about the ADT pathway and to ensure prompt and accurate information is communicated across participating institutions of higher education and elementary and secondary education.
(A) The plan developed under this paragraph shall include, but not be limited to, guidance to community college counselors and articulation officers on their role in communicating the value of the ADT pathway, guidance to high school counselors on incorporating the ADT pathway into their menu of college options, the redesign and regular maintenance of the ADT internet website, and templates that can be customized for outreach in local contexts.
(B) The plan developed under this paragraph shall address how updates about the ADT pathway will be regularly communicated to participating institutions of higher education and high schools so that counselors, advisors, and student support staff engaged in educating students about their college options, participating institutions, and degree options, have the most current information about the ADT pathway and are aware of updates to the program such as new majors or new participating institutions.
(5) Develop a plan for the regular review and identification of updates needed to the ADT internet website maintained by the California Community Colleges to ensure current information and updates are communicated to students, families, and student support staff engaged in educating students about their college options, participating institutions, and degree options.
(g) (1) On or before December 31, 2023, where ADTs for major pathways exist, the California Community Colleges shall automatically place students on those pathways to maximize the probability that a student will transfer to a four-year university and earn a degree in their chosen field of study in a timely manner, and to minimize the accrual of excess units.
(2) A student may opt out of the ADT pathway for a terminal local associate degree or a University of California equivalent transfer pathway.

SEC. 3.

 If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.