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Transferring to a 4-Year Degree: Las Positas College’s Transfer Program

April 9, 2010 recently interviewed Jeff Baker, Dean of Student Services at Las Positas College and Michael Schwarz, Transfer Counselor at Las Positas College, about how transfer programs provide another path for students seeking a 4-year degree.  For many students, the reason is financial.  Starting at a community college (such as Las Positas) and transferring to a 4-year program as a junior can save thousands of dollars.  For other students, community college can provide a bridge to the 4-year degree program of their choice.  Regardless of the reason, transfer programs play an important role for many high school students.  Supporting transfer programs is one of three key focus areas for the Counseling Team at Las Positas College.  60% of Las Positas’ 9,500 students identified transfer as a goal in 2009-10.

As written about previously on,  20.8% of the UC Berkeley and 29.4% of the UCLA Fall 2008 enrollment arrived through community college transfer programs.  Private colleges including St. Mary’s College of California have transfer program arrangements with Las Positas College.  Furthermore, transfer students entering a 4-year program in their junior year are just as successful as students that entered a 4-year program as freshman (source: University of California).  Mr. Schwarz himself is a transfer program success story – he started in a community college and transferred to the University of California (UC) – Davis to complete a psychology degree.

As highlighted by Mr. Schwarz in the interview, a key element of a successful transfer program is establishing close partnerships with 4-year colleges.  Courses need to be aligned and mutually agreed to under an “articulation agreement” that defines “how courses taken at one college or university campus … can be used to satisfy a subject matter requirement at another college or university campus” (source:  According to Mr. Schwarz, Las Positas College ranks in the top ten of community colleges in California in terms of transfer rate (meaning the percentage of students who successfully transfer to a 4-year program).

According to the California Postsecondary Education Commission, the top public transfer destinations for Las Positas College students in 2007-8 were:

  • California State University, East Bay – 173 students
  • San Jose State University – 66
  • University of California, Davis – 47
  • San Francisco State University – 45
  • California State University, Sacramento – 30
  • University of California, Berkeley – 29

Total 2007-2008 transfer students from Las Positas College to public CA universities – 530

Community Colleges serve many needs for Californians – in 2009-10 approx. 2.8 million students attended a community college.  70% of nurses are educated at a community college and 80% of firefighters, law enforcement officers and EMTs are credentialed at a community college (source: Community College League of California).  Community Colleges also play an important role during times of economic transition, helping displaced workers re-train for new careers.  The Obama administration announced a $12 billion community college initiative last year (source: Wall Street Journal).