LONG BEACH -- Some community colleges are showing progress in improving student transfer rates, but many still miss the mark when it comes to carving better pathways toward transfer and graduation, according to a report released this week from the Campaign for College Opportunity.

The report, "Meeting Compliance, but Missing the Mark," examines how California's community colleges are working to comply with the 2010 Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act, which requires community colleges to better align associate degree and transfer coursework requirements by creating an Associate Degree for Transfer.

The Campaign for College Opportunity, a California- based nonprofit designed to improve access to higher education, noted that just 23 percent of California's community college students transfer to a four- year university within six years. The new Associate Degree for Transfer creates a more uniform framework of courses meant to improve transfer time from community college to the Cal State University system.

The state now requires that community colleges develop associate transfer degrees for the most popular majors. The state has identified 25 common majors that capture about 80 percent of the students who transfer.

The California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office has set a goal of developing associate transfer degrees for 20 of the top 25 majors by December 2013.

The report found that while progress has been made on a system-wide level, many individual colleges and universities aren't making enough changes.

Among the key findings:

-- Overall, the average community college has developed associate transfer degrees for five majors.

-- Eighteen of the 112 colleges are leading the way, having developed more than nine transfer degrees.

-- Forty-nine colleges have developed only two to four new transfer degrees. Fullerton College came out on top with 18 transfer degrees, followed by Pasadena City and Citrus colleges with 13. Other college showing progress included Long Beach City and Cerritos colleges, both with 10 transfer degrees, Golden West with 12, and Ventura College with 11.

Colleges struggling to add more degrees included San Bernardino Valley with just two new transfer degrees and Los Angeles Valley with three.

"The number of degrees that each community college was to develop was not exactly stated within the law in an attempt to allow colleges some flexibility," the report states. "But, disappointingly, 18 community colleges have satisfied (the Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act) with the bare-minimum compliance of two degrees in a narrow interpretation of the law in which the word `degrees' is pluralized."

The goal is to have most colleges develop transfer degrees for all of the top 25 majors by December 2014.

To view the report, visit http. www.collegecampaign.org/.


kelly.puente@presstelegram.com, 562-714-2181, twitter.com/kellypuentept