Study takes a closer look at how college transfer pathways are working for students

The Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) is a degree awarded by the California Community Colleges, which provides a guaranteed pathway for students to transfer to a four-year university, in a specific major. The L.A. Compact Student Success Workgroup (SSWG), wanting to understand how effective this transfer pathway is for L.A. area students, commissioned a Regional ADT study in 2018.

The L.A. Compact quickly mobilized and through a partnership with the College Futures Foundation, secured funding to study ADT offerings and subsequent awards by L.A. area community colleges at regional community college districts. This includes all nine colleges of Compact partner LACCD, seven non-Compact partner colleges, and all four CSU Compact partners (Dominguez Hills, Los Angeles, Northridge and Pomona).

The SSWG contracted with the research firm, WestEd. WestEd also produced a report in 2018 using public data, which showed a growth in ADT degrees across the region, yet no rise in CSU transfers. It also showed that ADTs are being earned in a limited number of subject areas, which do not align with high-demand, high-wage careers. Considering these results and others, WestEd and the L.A. Compact designed a second phase study comprising of student-specific data made available by the participant community colleges and the CSU Chancellor’s office. 

On Wednesday, June 24, the L.A. Compact convened a special meeting to discuss progress made on the study. The SSWG reviewed the initial findings from the first draft of the study and planned out the next phase of work. SSWG members were asked to assess the findings and to help determine how to best link data from the community colleges with data from the CSU system. Though the data is still embargoed, we are optimistic that the initial findings and subsequent research will help our higher education systems better understand the path bridging students from a two- to four-year institution. We hope to use these findings to bring our partners together to create a regionally relevant system of advising and transfer, assuring that students can enter the higher education system with a fully articulated path and complete their education quickly and cost-effectively. 

For more information on the progress of our ADT work, or the Institutes of Higher Education’s body of work, please contact Sr. Manager for Postsecondary Initiatives, Adam Gottlieb, at [email protected]

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