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Valley college leaders unveil plan to increase university transfers

Sonya Christian gives a keynote message at the CVHEC Higher Education Summit and spoke of the consortium’s plan for 2030.
Tom Uribes
Central Valley Higher Education Consortium
Sonya Christian gives a keynote message at the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium "Higher Education Summit" where she spoke of the vision for 2030.

FRESNO, Calif. — College officials across the San Joaquin Valley are aiming to put a heavier focus on college transfers for community college students.

Many met on Friday during an annual higher education summit held by the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium, where a new plan to boost college transfers to universities was unveiled.

Currently, many college students struggle to get to university after earning an associate’s degree at community college.

But college leaders are betting a plan called the Central Valley Transfer Pathways Demonstration Project can help improve college transfers in the Valley. They say the project will help students along the way as they transition from community college to a university. The plan is expected to act as a model for the larger community college system.

Top leaders in higher education attended the summit including Sonya Christian, the chancellor of the California Community Colleges, Ben Duran, executive director of the higher education consortium and Saul Jimenez-Sandoval, Fresno State president.

Letting the data ‘flow’

The project is meant to “let the data flow” from community colleges to campuses like University of California, Merced and California State University, Bakersfield and Stanislaus campuses.

It will include strengthening relationships with community college and universities, and funding resources like the Learning Lab that currently target students entering the STEM field and make the path for them to transfer easier.

Put together by the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium and the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, it is expected to take full effect by 2030.

Dual enrollment also a focus

College officials also discussed the vision for 2030. Chancellor Christian said she would like to see at least one dual enrollment college class at every high school in the Central Valley to improve the college-going rates.

Many high schools in the area have leaned into dual enrollment to give students confidence in continuing their education.

Dario Diaz, principal of McFarland High School, said dual enrollment has led students to go to universities like Brown University, University of Southern California and CSU Bakersfield.

Rachel Livinal reports on higher education for KVPR through a partnership with the Central Valley Journalism Collaborative.