PACE Event

A Smoother Path to Transfer

Implementing SB 1440 in California Community Colleges

Most of the students who set out to earn degrees in California Community Colleges never do.

The reasons behind low rates of persistence and completion have long been a focus of policy and popular concern, and a variety of strategies have been adopted to tackle the problem. Many of these focus on structural impediments to student success that are present in community colleges, including the profusion and complexity of curricular pathways, the lack of coordination between segments, and insufficient information and support for students.

One example is structured transfer programs, which outline for students an explicit sequence of community college courses that will transfer to a system of four-year schools. California is one of a few states to create such a program, and the first to collect the data needed to rigorously examine its effects.

In this seminar, Rachel Baker will present findings that show how students, and schools, reacted to SB 1440, which created the Associates Degree for Transfer. Her findings include effects on the number of associates degrees granted, effects on the number of students who transferred to four-year schools, and effects on equity in terms of student sorting in classes.


  • Rachel Baker, Assistant Professor, School of Education, University of California, Irvine