Associates Degree: Streamlining California Colleges

Many California students who have chosen - or have no choice but - to attend a state community college are finding that transferring their credits to a four year school is not always easy. That is why California is now proposing associate degree programs that are fully transferable to four year State schools.

The report's authors cite trends showing that, by 2025, there will be one million fewer college graduates than are needed in the work force. One way to narrow the gap would be to increase transfer rates from community colleges to four-year institutions so more students could graduate with a college education, they conclude.

Currently, the state's decentralized, segmented higher-education structure favors a campus-to-campus rather than a systemwide course-transfer scheme. As a consequence, some students transfer with too many credits that don't count toward the specific requirements for a bachelor's degree, while others transfer without completing a transfer curriculum and have to enroll in additional low-level but high-cost courses at the four-year institution. Furthermore, some students transfer to a four-year institution without earning an associate degree, and those who do not graduate are left without any degree at all.

The report recommends creating associate degrees specifically for transfer students that would fulfill the basic requirements for all California colleges and universities, and guarantee transfer of all credits earned in certain courses.

Earning an associates degree online can take you as little as two years to complete, as do community college courses. With online degrees however, you can bypass bureaucracy and just get move ahead with your education.

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