(left to right) Diane Ortiz, Youth Alliance; Christine Trowbridge, Step to College; Alison De Lucca, Southern California College Access Network; Catalina Ruiz-Healy, GradGuru; Krysti Specht, JCYC Education Programs.
Did you know that just 3 in 10 community college students earn a certificate/degree or transfer to a 4-year university? The rest attended college but received no degree.
Our Women’s Policy Institute fellows Alison, Diane, Catalina, Krysti and Christine are working to solve this problem through public policy. Their solution? SB 1425—bill authored by Senator Marty Block. This bill addresses two challenges related to higher education in California:
- By 2025, California will need 2.3 million degrees and certificates to meet its workforce demands; and
- Thousands of students leave community college without a degree or certificate they have already or nearly earned.
Completing a certificate or a college degree vastly improves an individual’s lifetime earning potential. Yet many community college students miss out on this advantage because they don’t know where they stand on the path to earning an associate degree or certificate.
SB 1425 would: (1) create a degree tracking system within the community college system; (2) award degrees retroactively for all former students who have earned, yet not received, their proper degree; and (3) notify those who are within striking distance of earning their community college degree.
“California community colleges are the shining beacon for public higher education. They offer access, a wide range of options and transfer packages or certificate programs that often direct students straight into the workforce for little cost. Unfortunately, California students are finding themselves lost within this promising system, a system in which only 48% of its attendees complete their degrees,” said Krysti Specht, one of our five fellows working on passing SB 1425.
“Why are so few students completing? Because many hit roadblocks such as over-enrolling for years or dropping out when they become discouraged. Often times these same students have earned enough credits to obtain a degree or certificate, but they don’t know it. We are focused on helping these students: the confused yet determined high school graduate looking for direction, the low-income, first generation college-goer, or the mother of two trying to obtain a degree for a simple bump in pay.
“The Women’s Policy Institute’s College and Career Access Team is extremely excited about SB 1425. Not only would it award students the degrees they rightfully earned, but it would also give students the ability to track their progress through their community college journey. It would allow students to see, in real time, information about their progress towards a degree or transfer. As a former community college student who struggled to track my progress, I believe that SB 1425 is good public policy that has the potential to improve the life prospects of thousands of Californians,” said Krysti.
2013-14 Women’s Policy Institute Teams