With 116 community colleges in the State of California, it is easy to see why many four-year universities are working towards being more “transfer-friendly.” Transfer students often bring a stronger sense of maturity and different lived experiences to four-year schools, as opposed to incoming first-years. This makes transfer students a target audience for college admissions all over the country. Whittier College announced the California Community College Advantage Program on Oct. 15, 2020, leaving questions as to how the program works and how the pandemic could affect the enrollment numbers.
According to The CCC Advantage Press release, the program promises qualified transfer students guaranteed admission into the College, where they will pay a fixed tuition of $28,000 per academic year. It also provides students with a GPA of 3.5 or higher a $5,000 John Greenleaf Whittier Transfer Scholarship. Transfers that have obtained their Associate’s Degrees are guaranteed 60 transferable credits, as well as third-year class standing if they met certain academic criteria.
“The state of California is home to the nation’s best community college system, and we welcome the opportunity to have some of their students continue the pursuit of their bachelor’s degree with us,” said Vice President for Enrollment Management Falone Serna. “Many of these students consider private institutions to be inaccessible. The CCC Advantage works to provide a clear pathway for them to transfer to Whittier College at a more affordable price.”
Since President Linda Oubré has been at Whittier, she has made it her mission to tackle affordability issues present in the higher education system. The CCCAP is only one of the ways that the college is following through with its mission.
“Since President Oubré has been in charge, she has challenged us to try to come up with ways to help address affordability issues. We are in a state that had an excellent community college system, with over 116 colleges and thousands of students,” said Serna, “Whittier, for a number of reasons, is really transfer-friendly, and we thought this could be a great opportunity to take advantage of that system because we know that we could be a great fit for a lot of those students.”
According to American Honors, the number one reason students chose to go to community college straight out of high school is affordability. There are many students who do not qualify for financial aid, According to Studentloan hero, 69% of students in the year of 2019 took our student loans.
“We know that there are a number of students who chose to go to a two-year rather than straight to a four-year after high school, and we want to be in a position to let them know that, when they are ready to continue their bachelor’s degree, that Whittier College can be the place for them,” said Serna.
Whittier is working on signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the L.A. Community College District. Having this formalization between the two would provide the school with direct access to the nine L.A. community college campuses and their students, as well as giving Whittier the opportunity to be more “visible.” This formalization could also help boost the numbers of students who enroll at Whittier, which is normally 40 transfer students, from L.ACCs.
“We believe that this program will appeal and attract a lot of students. In a typical year, we enroll about 40 transfer students from California Community Colleges and we believe that we could probably double that number, ” said Serna.
With there not really being certainty regarding when students will be back on campus, a specific number of students enrolling into the program is not expected. The enrollment at Whittier as a whole was down by 16 percent this year and no one can truly say when things will go back to “normal.”
“In California, everybody is trying to find ways to be more transfer friendly and to build more pipelines as well as to be seen as a more realistic option,” said Serna, “ We believe that by offering this program [we will] present ourselves to them [community college students] as a viable option.”
The priority application to enroll for Fall 2021 is April 1, and the deadline for Spring 2022 is Nov. 1.
Featured image: Emerson Little / Quaker Campus