U-T: UCSD Ends Community College Transfer Guarantee

TAG Program Guaranteed Admission To Community College Students

The UC San Diego program that guarantees transfer admission to community college students who meet certain requirements will come to an end in 2014, campus officials have decided.

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They said explosive growth in the number applications under the program, coupled with sharp cuts in state funding for the University of California, have threatened to swamp the campus.

Administrators and students at area community colleges said the decision will disproportionally harm disadvantaged students.

“If this decision is final … that pathway, that gateway will be closed to many students from our local colleges. We think this decision is shortsighted,” said Francisco Rodriguez, superintendent/president of MiraCosta Community College District.

Rodriguez, president of the organization that represents all six community college districts in San Diego and Imperial counties, has appealed to university officials to reconsider the decision.

UC San Diego’s Transfer Admissions Guarantee, or TAG, program began in the early 1980s. Students from the six regional districts who took specific required courses and earned a 3.0 grade-point average were guaranteed admission to the La Jolla university.

The UC San Diego program that guarantees transfer admission to community college students who meet certain requirements will come to an end in 2014, campus officials have decided.

They said explosive growth in the number applications under the program, coupled with sharp cuts in state funding for the University of California, have threatened to swamp the campus.

Administrators and students at area community colleges said the decision will disproportionally harm disadvantaged students.

“If this decision is final … that pathway, that gateway will be closed to many students from our local colleges. We think this decision is shortsighted,” said Francisco Rodriguez, superintendent/president of MiraCosta Community College District.

Rodriguez, president of the organization that represents all six community college districts in San Diego and Imperial counties, has appealed to university officials to reconsider the decision.

UC San Diego’s Transfer Admissions Guarantee, or TAG, program began in the early 1980s. Students from the six regional districts who took specific required courses and earned a 3.0 grade-point average were guaranteed admission to the La Jolla university.

Constance Carroll, chancellor of the San Diego Community College District, agreed.

“We strongly believe that our local universities, even though they have world-class aspects, still have a commitment and responsibility to service the local community,” Carroll said. “Most of us believe the TAG program is the best way that can be honored … If the university moves this way, it will be marketing itself to and accepting only the highest. Qualified local students who have promise will be left behind. Of course, this will reduce diversity.”

UC San Diego officials said the TAG proponents have it all wrong.

“(TAG) was never a diversity issue, it was a recruiting issue,” said Barbara Sawrey, associate vice chancellor for undergraduate education. “In the 1980s, we had trouble attracting transfer students.”

The UC San Diego administrators said they believe transfer students are an important element in the undergraduate student body.

“We love having community college students; we’re still recruiting them,” Sawrey said.

The administrators also disputed the notion that TAG students bring diversity not found among transfer students in general.

Of the non-TAG transfers admitted in fall 2011, Rue said, 21 percent were African American, Chicano/Latino or Native American.

Students from those groups made up 17 percent of TAG entrants.

Rue insisted that only real consequence of eliminating TAG is that the academic qualifications of transfer students will be higher.

“This will in no way reduce the number of California community college transfer students,” she said.

For other stories from our news partner, go to utsandiego.com.

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