Sen. Pushes for Transfer Repayment

    Possible new legislation would reimburse transfer students for community college tuition after they receive diplomas from the University of California or California State University.

    State Sen. Dave Cogdill (R-Modesto) introduced the bill, SB 347, and has been pushing for its approval for nearly two years. Cogdill said the bill will create a “”win-win situation”” to benefit the state, students and community colleges.

    By encouraging students to attend community college, California would save about one-fourth of state funds, Cogdill said. Students consume an average of $13,803 in state funds annually at a UC campus and $7,872 at a CSU school; the state only pays $4,883 for a student attending a community college.

    “”Statistics also tell us that students that begin their college career in a two-year system have a better chance of achieving their degree in a shorter period of time,”” Cogdill said. “”The bill creates a higher opportunity of being successful and creates an incentive for them to do that.””

    If approved, the Community College Enrollment Fee Reimbursement Program established by the bill would apply to students enrolling from July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2013. To receive the money, students must graduate from a public California university within seven years of starting junior college.

    The legislation is facing little opposition, and both the University of California and California State University are supportive, Cogdill said.

    “”It could result in a lower population in their schools,”” he said. “”But look at the broader picture, at the cost impact and from a taxpayer’s standpoint. The bill is in the best interest of the student and makes an awful lot of sense.””

    According to UC Office of the President statistics, 16,620 students transferred to the University of California last year from California community colleges, a nearly 1-percent increase from 2005.

    Statistics from the San Diego Community College District Web site show that out of the 46,778 students enrolled in 2005-06, only 2,276, roughly 5 percent, transferred to a UC or CSU campus – the new bill could increase such transfer rates.

    Some transfer students previously enrolled in community colleges said that attending a community college first was much more practical and beneficial to them.

    “”People would say transfer students are more focused because they’ve gone through a lot to get to UCSD,”” All-Campus Transfer Association President Nina Ruedas said. “”That struggle in the beginning makes them more motivated, because that transition to UCSD can be really difficult.””

    Thurgood Marshall College junior Robert Cordoni said that his decision to attend a community college saved him nearly $20,000.

    “”I think it was a great decision for me, and I’m graduating earlier than many students,”” Cordoni said. “”This new bill should have been approved sooner.””

    Representatives from the San Diego Community College District did not respond to requests for comment.

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