New transfer options available

Last month, the California Community College system partnered with nine historically black colleges and universities to give transfer students guaranteed admission as long as they adhere to certain academic criteria.

According to a press release, the agreement signed by both the Calfornia Community College Board of Governors and the leaders of the HBCUs allows students to transfer as juniors during the fall of this year.

The academic criteria include graduating with an associate’s degree and a minimum G.P.A. of 2.5, completing either the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum or the California State University General Education Breadth pattern that are used for transferring to a UC or CSU, or having a minimum of 30 transferable semester units.

Students who are applying under particular majors may need to fulfill other requirements and prerequisites.

The nine schools are Bennett College, Dillard University, Fisk University, Lincoln University of Missouri, Philander Smith College, Stillman College, Talladega College, Tuskegee University and Wiley College.

“These are not the most high-profile African-American black colleges,” Associate Professor of English Nathan Jones said. “These are nine older schools.”

All nine schools are either on the East coast or in the South, with three located in Alabama. Eight of these institutions are private colleges. The benefits of transferring to these schools include admission as a junior, priority housing and potential transfer scholarships.

According to, there are 17 HBCUs that already had transfer relationships with individual community colleges, but now the system-wide agreement makes it easier to recruit California Community College students to come to these universities.

“I hope students will take advantage of this opportunity,” Career Counselor Jacqueline Escobar said.

This agreement gives California Community College students the opportunity to obtain a degree at an out-of-state school, along with helping HBCUs that are struggling with a decline in student enrollment.

“[This program] provides another opportunity for students to have a unique and invaluable educational experience,” Transfer Coordinator Suzanne Poma said in an email. “It is a new program so it will take time for students to learn about the program and integrate it into their student education plans. Over time, we expect it to grow as more students learn about it, transfer and return to share their experiences.”

Historically black colleges and universities were established during the Civil War era and have been around for over 100 years to educate African Americans. The first two HBCUs, Cheyney University and Wilberforce University, were established in Pennsylvania and Ohio in 1837 and 1856. They were originally established as independent religious institutions or philanthropic Christian missionaries, with Wilberforce being the oldest private HBCU.

When people think of HBCUs, most people only know of the five famous ones: Hampton University in Virginia, Spelman College and Morehouse College in Georgia, Howard University in Washington, D.C., and Tuskegee University in Alabama, according to Jones.