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There is good news for California students. In September 2010, former Gov. Schwarzenegger signed into law the Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act, also known as SB 1440. This joint initiative with the California Community Colleges and California State University puts the needs of our state’s students first.

The two systems continue to roll out a program that simplifies the transfer process for community college students wanting to continue their education at the California State University.  For the first time in California history, community college students who complete an associate degree designated for transfer are guaranteed admission to the California State University system with junior status and will be given priority consideration when applying to their local California State University campus and to a particular program that is similar to the student’s community college major.

Roughly 50,000 community college students transfer annually to the California State University system. In the past, most community college students transferred with an average of 80 semester units when only 60 semester units are required.  Then, upon arrival at the California State University, they often take excess units to make up for courses that did not transfer from their community college.

The old process was complicated and it was easy for students to get frustrated, confused and waste time and money when university admission requirements changed. 

The new Associate of Arts Degree for Transfer program launched in the fall of 2011. The two systems have worked together to approve the framework for associate degrees for transfer open to community college students wanting to participate in the program.

(Lists of colleges with approved transfer degrees and approved degrees updated January 2013)

More Associate Degrees for Transfer are in the approval process and all 113 community colleges will have approved degrees in these and other majors. So, check this site often to see the progress and find out what the colleges in your area have to offer. Visit your college transfer center or speak with a counselor to see how an Associate Degree for Transfer might benefit you.

Fact Sheet

What does the Associate Degree for Transfer program do for me?

• Creates an Associate Degree for Transfer that guarantees your admission with junior standing to the California State University system.

• Defines this associate degree as having 60 transferrable units that include a minimum of 18 units in a major or area of emphasis and an approved general education curriculum (either IGETC or GE Breadth).

• Provides you with priority admission consideration to your local California State University campus and to a program or major that is similar to the major or area of emphasis you studied at your community college.

• Prohibits the California State University from requiring you to repeat courses that are similar to those completed at your community college as part of your Associate Degree for Transfer.

• Prohibits the California State University from requiring you to take more than 60 units to complete a 120-unit baccalaureate degree.

• Reduces the need to take unnecessary courses, thereby shortening your time to degree completion and reducing your costs at the community college and California State University.

• Eliminates confusion caused by different and shifting major preparation requirements that can vary by each California State University campus.

• Even if you do not complete or have to delay finishing your bachelor’s degree, you'll still have an associate degree and no one can take that from you. It can significantly increase your earning potential and provide you with the skills employers are looking for in this difficult economy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Twenty questions about the Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act (word)(pdf)


SB 1440 bill language:

Press releases: