Frequently Asked Questions
All of the state and federal student financial aid programs listed on our site are reserved for U.S. citizens and California residents. However, many colleges have private scholarships or loan programs for international students. You should select a college that you are interested in attending and then contact them directly – through the Financial Aid Office or the Scholarship Office – to see if they can help you. Get the contact information for your closest Financial Aid Office here.
Yes. Loans are available for both parents and students. Parents may borrow for their undergraduate students through the PLUS loan program, and there are numerous borrowing options available to students. However, the total amount borrowed (by both you and your parents) cannot exceed the cost of your education as determined by your college. For more on the federal loan programs, click here. Please note that not all colleges offer loans, so you must contact your college financial aid office to find more information.
Your child's financial aid award letter should include specific information on how to borrow, and it can also be found here: https://studentaid.gov/understand-aid/types/loans. The packet should consist of information that shows you how to apply for the loans, what forms you need to fill out, and the terms of the loans.
Because of the limited gift aid available, students are sometimes offered one or more educational loans. Although loans help meet the cost of education, they must be repaid in full, plus interest. Therefore, carefully consider the amount you are borrowing. Remember, the amount you borrow this year will be added to other loans you have or will be taking out in the future. So while the loan amount may not seem to be very much this year, four years of debt can add up. You may want to look at your budget and see how you can minimize your borrowing. Consider the differences in loans, such as the interest rate, when the interest is assessed, the amount you'll be borrowing, and repayment options. It is also essential to consider your income potential after graduation when deciding how much to borrow and how much debt you can afford to pay back based upon your anticipated income. You can find out more about repayment plans and options and even find a repayment estimator here: https://studentaid.gov/h/understand-aid. Your college financial aid office will be able to assist you.
Before taking out your first loan, you must complete entrance loan counseling that explains your rights and responsibilities as a borrower. Once you take out a loan, you must keep the loan servicer and your college informed of any changes in your address or enrollment plans. Before you leave college (including withdrawing, transferring or graduating), you should attend an exit interview that will cover your payment obligations and the options available to you as a borrower. If at any time you have questions regarding the repayment of your loans, contact your loan servicer or the financial aid office. You can find out more about repayment plan options here: https://studentaid.gov/h/understand-aid.
Before you withdraw, you should speak with a college counselor or the financial aid office to discuss your options. If you have to drop a class, it may affect your eligibility for financial aid for the current term or future terms. Review the information on your college's enrollment requirements and satisfactory academic progress standards, and check with the financial aid office to ensure you aren't jeopardizing your financial aid eligibility. If you have to drop out or withdraw from college, you may be expected to repay a portion of the financial aid that was disbursed for that term. If you withdraw, some of the funds paid to the college for your fees, tuition or other charges may be refundable. If you received financial aid, refunds must first be returned to the financial aid programs according to federal regulations and other program guidelines. Check with the college about procedures for withdrawing or taking a leave of absence. Be sure to consult with the financial aid office or business (bursar's) office about refunds, repayment of financial aid funds, and your future eligibility to enroll and receive financial aid funds.
Check your college's literature about complaint and appeal procedures. In preparation for discussing the matter with the appropriate college official(s), document your concerns and review them against the information explaining the college's policies and procedures. Many colleges will ask you to put your concerns in writing and provide supporting documentation to the financial aid office for review before escalating the issue to a higher level. Your college's complaint policies should explain what steps to take.
You have a few other options, depending on the nature of the issue.
*If you have a complaint about your college's compliance with academic program quality or accrediting standards, you can contact the accrediting commission for community and junior colleges (ACCJC).
*If the issue is unlawful discrimination, click here.
*You can visit the Chancellor's Office website to fill out an online complaint form for all other matters.
You don't have to be a full-time student to receive financial aid. There is no minimum unit requirement for enrollment fee waivers at California community colleges through the California College Promise Grant. To receive assistance from other state and federal programs, you can take as few as six units and still qualify for financial aid. You can always be eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant with as little as one unit in some cases. Be sure to talk with an advisor or counselor, as well as staff in the financial aid office, to help you develop an education plan that meets your needs and makes effective use of your financial aid.
Students without high school diplomas who are 18 years old can qualify for financial aid if they have a GED or another high school proficiency certificate, such as the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE). The California College Promise Grant (CCPG) fee waiver does not require a high school diploma for eligibility.
You might qualify for an enrollment fee waiver if you meet specific income requirements based on family size. To apply for a California College Promise Grant, you should file the FAFSA or CADAA because it will help you apply for the fee waiver and other types of aid.
Yes. There are a wide variety of federal, institutional and scholarship programs for which you may qualify. Start by filing the FAFSA and contact the community college you plan to attend for more information.
Head to the website of the college you want to attend, as most colleges have a page specifically for scholarships.Never pay for access to a scholarship and never provide personal information such as your Social Security Number. The College Board offers one great free resource to search for scholarships online. You can go to this link, complete a profile, and the search engine will identify any scholarships that interest you.
The California College Promise Grant, available to eligible students, will waive your per-unit enrollment fee (tuition) at any California community college throughout the state.
Complete the online FAFSA or California Dream Act Application (CADAA). If you cannot complete one of those applications, complete the California College Promise Grant application here. To find contact information for your college's financial aid office, use the office locator.
Yes, you can apply for the California College Promise Grant online here: https://www.cccapply.org/en/money/california-college-promise-grant
However, please note that some California community colleges do not accept the online application.
Yes, you may apply for and receive a California College Promise Grant to cover fees at more than one college or center.
No. You can complete the California College Promise Grant form anytime during the year.
You will receive email notification of your California College Promise Grant application decision. The California College Promise Grant will be applied to your units automatically. If you fill out the form after you've already paid enrollment fees and are approved for the waiver, you will receive a refund check for the cost.
If you don't keep up your grades or complete your classes, you will get notified within 30 days of the end of each term if you are being placed on either Academic (GPA) or Progress (Course Completion) probation. If you have two consecutive terms of probation, you may lose eligibility for the fee waiver at your next registration opportunity.
You can regain your eligibility by:
*Improving your GPA or Course Completion to meet the academic and progress standards
*Successfully appealing under extenuating circumstances (see VALID REASONS TO APPEAL below)
*Not attending your school district for one year (not including summer)
VALID REASONS TO APPEAL:
*Verified accidents, illness or other circumstances beyond your control
*Changes in an economic situation
*Evidence of inability to obtain essential support services
*Special consideration factors for CalWORKs, EOPS, DSPS and veteran students
*Disability accommodations not received promptly
You can join thousands of students across the state in making a difference in your community while earning money to help pay for college.
As part of the service experience, California College Corps Fellows will earn up to $10,000, receive ongoing training, and become part of a statewide cohort of young leaders across California. Undergraduate students at any partner campus of the #CaliforniansForAll College Corps are invited to apply now.
No, prior tax returns are used to calculate the amount of aid you receive. Remember that filing your application before September 2 means you will get the most aid available. Meeting priority deadlines is more important than waiting until your (and, if necessary, your parents') tax return is completed. If you fill out the FAFSA using estimated information from your W-2, be careful. Discrepancies between your FAFSA and your tax return could have an impact on your financial aid award. Check with your college to see if you need to update your application after filing your taxes.
Financial aid is available to help students and families cover the costs of your college education. If you want help paying for fees, books and other expenses, you should apply. Even if you aren't sure you'll qualify, you should at least submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Act Application (CADAA). You never know what you might be eligible for if you don't apply.
Most students are eligible for some form of financial aid, so all students should apply. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) gathers information from all applicants and a federal formula is used to compute a student's eligibility. The California Dream Act Application is a similar process for Undocumented or Dream Act students. Remember, by not applying, you are automatically disqualifying yourself from consideration for awards. Your financial aid eligibility will depend on lots of different factors. These include your family's income and assets, the size of your family household, and the number attending college in your family (excluding parents). Students can be defined as dependent or independent depending upon specific rules. Your dependency status determines whose information you must report on the FAFSA or California Dream Act Application. Even if you aren't eligible for grants, there are other kinds of aid available, including loan programs. To qualify for most financial aid, you also have to meet other basic requirements that don't have anything to do with your financial need. You must:
*Be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen (FAFSA).
*Be a Dream Act eligible student (CADAA).
*Be registered with Selective Service (if required).
*Be working toward a degree, certificate or eligible goal (such as transfer).
*Not owe a refund on a federal grant or be in default on a federal educational loan.
*Be a high school graduate or have the equivalent of a high school diploma (like a GED or the CHSPE).
*Not have been convicted of drug possession or sales while receiving financial aid (see the FAFSA for more detail).
If you meet these requirements, your family income, assets and other financial factors are reviewed to see if you could be eligible to receive aid. To keep receiving your financial aid while you're in college, you have to continue to make satisfactory academic progress towards your educational objectives. You must also file a FAFSA or California Dream Act Application each year you are in college.
Once you begin receiving financial aid, you have to meet satisfactory academic progress requirements at your college. Requirements include maintaining the minimum grade point average (GPA) and course completion standards specified by your college and working towards an approved educational goal, such as a degree, certificate, or transfer.
To receive financial aid, you must apply for it. The biggest mistake students make is not applying because they aren't sure if they'll qualify. To apply for federal, state and college financial aid programs, you need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Act Application (CADAA). For the Cal Grant program, you must also submit a verified Cal Grant GPA by September 2. Check with your high school or college regarding Cal Grant GPA verification – some automatically submit GPAs for you. Your college may also request additional documents, such as tax returns, so be sure to respond immediately.
Yes, some types of financial aid can be used to help cover your living expenses while attending college. Meanwhile, other types can help cover tuition and additional education-related costs, such as books and fees.
You should apply for financial aid first. Then, use the link below to find and apply to the California community college of your choice. To find a California community college near you and explore the majors and course offerings, you can use the College Locator. Or, if you're ready to enroll now, you can get started on your online admission form at CCCApply.org.
If you are not eligible for need-based financial aid, many options are still available. One option is to look for merit-based scholarships, which consider academic, athletic, artistic or other talents. Awards are also available for students who are interested in particular fields of study. Additionally, you may consider borrowing through the unsubsidized loan program or having your parents borrow through the PLUS program. To find out about these loan programs, go here.
Your eligibility for financial aid is based upon several factors, including the size of your family, how many family members are in college, how close your parents are to retirement, and, of course, household income and assets. Even though your family's circumstances may appear to be very similar to your friend's, there may be substantial differences in the components used to calculate financial aid eligibility.
Yes. Even though you may not think you qualify for aid, you should at least complete the FAFSA or CADAA. The application is free, and many colleges use it to assess your eligibility for some scholarships and non-need-based loans, including the direct unsubsidized and Direct PLUS loans. And, if your family circumstances change suddenly, you will already have the FAFSA or CADAA information on file with your college.
By completing the FAFSA or CADAA, submitting it to the processor, and supplying any other required documents to the financial aid office, you are considered for federal grant and loan programs. To be considered for a Cal Grant and other college funds, you will need to meet the priority deadlines. For the Cal Grant program, you also need to file a verified Cal Grant GPA by the priority deadline. To apply for a loan, you must first complete your FAFSA, complete a loan application, sign a Master Promissory Note through your college and complete online entrance loan counseling. Contact the financial aid office to determine precisely how and when to apply for a student loan at your college.
All students and potential students who want help paying for college should apply for financial aid.
No. The California Dream Act is specific to California. If you receive financial aid through the Dream Act, you would have to attend a college in California. Unfortunately, there is not currently any Dream Act financial aid available at the federal level. It has been discussed in Congress for several years, but nothing has been passed yet. If you're planning to go out-of-state, you should contact the financial aid office at the college you want to attend for more information on what opportunities might be available there.
If you file your FAFSA online, you'll receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) via email from the FAFSA processor within three to five days. If you submitted a paper FAFSA, it would take seven to ten days. The SAR will list all the information you put on the FAFSA. This information also is forwarded to the colleges you listed on your application. Once the colleges receive the information, they will notify you of your aid eligibility or send you a letter asking for more details. Be sure to respond quickly to the college's request.
If you haven't received a Student Aid Report (SAR), you can log into your FAFSA or CADAA account online or contact the federal processor at https://studentaid.gov/help-center/contact, or 1-800-4-FED-AID (800-433-3243). You will need to provide your application information as verification.
You can apply for federal aid any time after October 1, so you don't need to wait until you receive your W-2 forms. The prior year's tax returns are used to calculate the amount of aid you receive. These provide a relatively accurate estimate of your earnings. Although you can use estimated information on your FAFSA, it is recommended that you file it using a completed tax return for better accuracy. If you estimate on the FAFSA, you can update that information when you receive your Student Aid Report (SAR) or provide your college with a copy of your tax return (check with the financial aid office to see if they need it). If you use estimated information, your financial aid eligibility may be revised once you update your income information. Keep priority deadlines in mind – make sure you submit the FAFSA and the verified Cal Grant GPA before September 2 to meet the Cal Grant deadline.
To be considered as an independent student for financial aid purposes, you must meet one of the following ten criteria:
*Be over 24 years old.
*Be a veteran of or currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces.
*Be enrolled in a graduate or professional degree program.
*Have children or legal dependents other than a spouse whom you provide more than half of their support.
*Be an orphan or a ward of the court at any time after your 13th birthday.
*Be an emancipated minor as determined by a court in your state of legal residence.
*Be in legal guardianship as determined by a court in your state of legal residence.
*Be an unaccompanied youth as determined by either your high school or school district homeless liaison or the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
*Be an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or self-supporting and at risk of being homeless as determined by a director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program.
If you have highly adverse circumstances that prevent you from receiving your parents' assistance, you should still complete the FAFSA or California Dream Act Application and then contact your college financial aid office. Note that your parents' unwillingness to provide their financial information or to pay their expected contribution is usually not accepted as a reasonable circumstance.
If you don't meet one of the federal criteria to be an independent student, you will have to supply your parents' information on the financial aid application even if they don't support you. If family circumstances keep you from providing your parents' information, contact the financial aid office to discuss your situation.
If you are offered student work-study, you will need to work to receive those funds. If you don't want to work, you have the option to decline your work-study award. However, several recent studies show that working 10-15 hours per week can improve your time management skills, provide work experience, and improve your grades. Contact your financial aid office to discuss your other options.
Many recent studies show a correlation between good grades and working a small amount (10 to 15 hours per week). Also, work-study is an excellent tool to gather the work experience necessary for finding employment after college. If you choose not to work, you can decline the work-study funds offered. Contact your financial aid office to discuss your other options.
Yes, you do need to report it to the financial aid office. Federal regulations require that all financial assistance you receive be taken into consideration when awarding aid. Most colleges will use any outside scholarship you are awarded to replace an equal amount of loan or work-study funds you would have otherwise received before they reduce your grant aid. Some campuses may have a particular form you can fill out to indicate scholarships or other assistance you will be receiving, or you can notify the financial aid office in writing that you have received a scholarship. Be sure to include the name of the scholarship, the amount awarded, your name and student ID number on your correspondence.
Your eligibility for financial aid is based on your enrollment and making satisfactory academic progress toward a degree or certificate. If you don't attend classes, you probably will not receive a passing grade. Failure to complete coursework or document an effort to do so (e.g., participating in classes or completing assignments and exams) can determine that you were not enrolled and, therefore, not entitled to receive financial aid. All financial assistance would need to be returned, and you might be subject to charges for fees, tuition and other amounts due to the college. Besides facing these financial obligations, your academic records and ability to return to the college could be adversely affected.
Many colleges are loaning laptop computers so that students can continue their coursework while at home. Students should check with their financial aid office to see if their college is offering laptops.
Several companies throughout California are offering free or low-cost internet access to students during the COVID-19 pandemic. A list is available here: https://ccconlineed.instructure.com/courses/5432/pages/reduced-cost-or-free-internet-access-slash-wifi?module_item_id=271437.
Some work-study programs allow students to receive a payment still if they cannot work due to COVID-19 closures. You should check with your work-study employer to see if you are eligible to receive compensation still.
Colleges have been authorized to transfer financial aid funds between programs on an emergency basis. Make sure to explain your situation to your college to see if you can receive emergency assistance.
Possibly not. The CARES Act does not require Pell grants or federal student loans to be returned if you had to drop out due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Check with your college on how state assistance or other financial aid may be affected.
If you drop a class due to COVID-19, you will most likely receive EW (emergency withdrawal) grades. These will not affect your financial aid status. However, any letter grades you earned for the semester will be counted toward your GPA. Pell Grant and student loan Satisfactory Academic Progress eligibility will not include grades for the courses that the student dropped due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Colleges have flexibility in the use of leaves from attendance. Work with your college to find out the best way to maintain your enrollment and academic progress.
There will be some temporary relief for Federal Student Loan borrowers. Student loan payments will be deferred for six months, including principal and interest, through September 30, 2020, without penalty to the borrower for all federally-owned loans. Please note this relief program is scheduled to expire on September 30, 2020. You should contact your loan servicer to verify your loans have been placed on a non-interest accruing forbearance.
Pell Grants paid to students who dropped all of their units due to COVID-19 will be excluded when counting lifetime Pell eligibility.
In most cases, if a student receiving a Promise Program (AB19) fee waiver and has to drop below full-time, they may still be eligible to receive a Promise Program fee waiver as long as they enroll full-time in the following semester. Since Promise Programs vary by college and district, it is best to check with your financial aid office to verify your eligibility.
If your income has decreased due to reduced hours or layoffs because of COVID-19, you may be eligible for additional financial aid. You should contact the financial aid office at your college to explain the decrease in your income.
Your college will determine your eligibility to receive emergency grants made available from the CARES Act. The financial aid office will notify you if you are eligible and when you can expect to receive any emergency aid.
The University of California has taken temporary measures which relax undergraduate admissions requirements for students looking to enroll at UC. College entrance exams have been canceled, and the UC has taken additional steps:
*For transfer students, suspending temporarily the cap on the number of transferable units with "pass/no pass" grading applied toward the minimum 60 semester/90 quarter units required for junior standing.
*Suspending the letter grade requirement for A-G courses completed in Winter, Spring and Summer 2020 for all students, including UC's most recently admitted freshmen students.
*Providing that there will be no rescission of student admissions offers that result from students or schools missing official final transcript deadlines and student retention of admission status through the first day of class until campuses receive official documents.
For more information on the UC-related changes, visit here. For more information on the CSU-related changes, visit here.
Bachelor's Degree Program
There are 15 California community colleges currently offering this program.
No. Unfortunately, the California College Promise Grant (formerly known as the Board of Governors' Fee Waiver) is not available for upper-division classes in this program. However, you may be eligible for other financial aid.
Yes. Speak to a counselor at your community college campus or visit the articulation office at the college where you're looking to transfer.
Right now, there are limited programs and degrees available through the Bachelor's Degree Program, but be sure to check out ICanGoToCollege.com for other California community college programs that are available.
All programs through the Bachelor's Degree Program are fully articulated, as they would be at a CSU or UC. However, the bachelor's degrees offered through the California Community Colleges Bachelor's Degree Program are in career education and are not available through the CSU or UC systems.
Associate Degree for Transfer
Typically, a minimum of 60 transferable semester units (90 quarter units) is required for transfer. However, depending on the major you choose and the university you transfer to, the number of units may vary.
Meet with a counselor at your local community college to learn if an ADT is offered in your major area of study.
A counselor will help you develop an Education Plan to follow while at your community college. This plan prepares you to transfer to a four-year university that offers a bachelor's degree related to your ADT major.
Yes. While at a community college, you can always change majors while pursuing an ADT. However, if you change your major, your pathway of required classes will change, meaning it can take longer to earn your degree.
Students intending to transfer during a fall term typically begin the application process a year prior during the fall. While all partner universities accept applications in the fall, some will accept applications in the spring, and WGU begins enrollment monthly.
Yes. It is common for students enrolling at a community college to have taken courses earlier. When you first meet with a counselor, you will typically be asked to bring transcripts of your past coursework. Your counselor can help you determine which of the past courses can be used to fulfill specific requirements of your Education Plan.
Besides the benefits of an admission guarantee, and in some instances, admission priority consideration, the ADT is recognized by the university as adequate fulfillment of lower-division general education and major requirements. This recognition allows you to focus on your upper-division major requirements, which continues to save you time and money. If you transfer to a CSU, you receive a guarantee that you will earn your bachelor's degree by completing 60 units, as long as you do not change your major.
Yes, and there are various strategies available to shorten your time while at a community college. These strategies include taking courses while in high school or taking Advanced Placement (AP) exams, which can waive certain course-taking requirements when passed. If decreasing your time on the ADT pathway is essential to you, be sure to meet and talk with a counselor about your options to consider.
While you can consider a break between attending a community college and university, it is not recommended. A break could negatively impact the number of required courses necessary to complete a bachelor's degree.
Yes. summer courses are a popular option to accelerate your time at a community college. Students are advised to talk with a counselor to develop an Education Plan and map out the appropriate summer classes scheduled into their academic year.
Most partnering universities state that you need to fulfill your requirements by the spring semester of the year you are looking to transfer. For instance, if you plan to take summer courses before transferring in the fall, understand carefully how your intended transfer destination evaluates those courses.
Yes. Taking college-level courses while in high school is a great way to get a head start on your ADT degree. Programs such as Dual Enrollment serve as partnerships between local high schools and community colleges. Talk with your high school counselor to learn more about the options your high school has to offer.
Once you have identified your major and are on your ADT path, talk with your counselor about your university options. As you narrow down the list of universities you are interested in, a counselor can help identify any additional transfer requirements.
Yes. All universities, including our ADT partner universities, have a minimum grade point average (GPA) requirement that students must meet. The CSU, for example, requires that students have a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA for all transfer-level courses attempted. For admission directly into an impacted major, the GPA cut-off is typically higher.
An ADT (also referred to as an AS-T or AA-T) is a degree offered through the California community colleges that allow students to earn a guaranteed saved spot at participating four-year universities, both throughout California and outside the state.
The ADT makes it easier for students to transfer between a California community college and CSU, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), entirely online and out-of-state universities or participating independent, non-profit universities in California (member institutions of AICCU).
While new majors are constantly added, there is no guarantee the major you are interested in is coming soon. It is better to meet early with a counselor and talk about your career interests, so the counselor can help you confirm your best options and which degree pathway is right for you. Since the ADT focuses on popular majors, in many instances, an ADT or similar ADT will be available for you at your community college. If not, a counselor will be able to help you identify whether the ADT is available at a nearby college, online, or a mix of both.
To make the most efficient use of their time while at a community college, students are asked to identify a major by their second semester. Quickly identifying a major allows an Education Plan to be developed for you that will serve as your ADT streamlined path while at the community college. Knowing your major also allows the opportunity to take courses that fulfill specific general education requirements while also fulfilling a course requirement for your major, called double counting.
The ADT is available in more than 40 popular majors and continues to expand as new majors emerge.
California community colleges offer a wide range of ADT majors. However, not all majors are available at each community college. Visit your local community college to speak with a counselor to determine if your community college offers an ADT major you are interested in pursuing.
Students are strongly encouraged to meet with a counselor regularly. It is also helpful to attend transfer-related workshops that can help you understand the transfer application process you need to follow and critical action items and dates that need to be met. Students are also encouraged to check their student portal and email frequently to keep up to date on important announcements and reminders.
Students must apply for the ADT by their college's specified deadline for the degree to be recognized in the CSU admissions process.
Most transfer options are available to California-based universities and some out-of-state campuses. However, the ADT program currently partners with more than 40 Historically Black Colleges and Universities located outside California. Another transfer option to consider is Western Governors University (WGU) or Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), which allows you to complete your bachelor's degree online.
Historically Black Colleges and Universities
Southern New Hampshire University
Western Governors University
Yes. With an ADT, you can apply to any four-year university that accepts transfer students. And, if you apply to a participating university, in addition to your guaranteed saved spot, your ADT ensures that you have fulfilled all the necessary lower-division transfer requirements upon enrolling into a similar major or degree program.
In addition to low tuition rates at California community colleges, financial aid options can help pay for tuition, books, and even help with rent. For more information, visit Financial Aid Resources.
ADT students transferring to a participating university enroll at junior standing, meaning you only have to pay for two years' tuition at a four-year university if you continue full-time.
With 116 California community colleges to choose from, one is often nearby and allows you to live at home while completing your ADT.
California community colleges provide many course options to choose from, both during the day and evening and online. In some instances, with careful course selection, you can fulfill both a general education requirement and a requirement for your major with the same course.
Early research indicates the ADT helps students be more efficient with the courses they take. These students tend to graduate with fewer units at a California community college because the ADT sets them on a streamlined path of classes for their major, finishing faster than non-ADT students while at a CSU.
The guarantee means students who earn an ADT can transfer with a guaranteed spot to a participating university.
Requirements vary depending on where you'd like to attend. With this degree, you may get an admission advantage when applying to specific campuses or majors, which also helps you transfer.
Each university's guarantee has different eligibility requirements, such as achieving a minimum GPA. Therefore, it helps to know what you want to study before you begin planning. For example, at a CSU, students are guaranteed admission into a CSU in a similar major but not necessarily to a particular campus. Meanwhile, at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, entirely online and out-of-state universities, and the participating independent, non-profit universities in California, students are guaranteed admission into the exact campus or major they want to pursue.
California community colleges continue to offer a variety of associate degrees. However, when you earn an ADT, you can transfer with a guaranteed saved spot to a participating four-year university and gain other admission advantages.
An ADT can still be used to transfer to any college or university outside of the program, just as you could with a standard associate degree. However, when you apply to a partner university with an Associate Degree for Transfer, you receive various admission advantages. And because the ADT is considered transfer-level preparation, your courses transfer, versus standard Associate Degrees, where not all courses are likely to transfer.
It varies by college, but at most campuses, the maximum number of units per semester is 18 (seven units per summer semester). If you wish to take more than the maximum number of units in one semester, you must have an established grade point average of 3.0 or above and seek a counselor's approval.
It depends on the schools you are applying to and their specific admission requirements. Most CSU, UC, HBCU or out-of-state campuses usually only admit upper-division transfer students. Upper-division transfer students have completed at least 60 semester units of transferable coursework, or 90 transferable quarter units, as well as specific courses required for admission. If you meet these unit minimums, your college work will determine your transfer eligibility.
If you transfer with fewer than 60 semester or 90 quarter units, you are considered a lower-division transfer student, and admission is based on both your high school performance and your college work to determine if your eligibility.
Admission requirements for California independent, out-of-state and HBCU campuses vary. Please speak with a counselor at your community college for additional information.
It is highly recommended that you meet with your community college counselor to develop your educational plan based on your goal. They will introduce you to functions that allow you to learn what courses are required for your general education and major courses, view major requirements for the UC and CSU systems and see requirements for degrees and certificates.
You should take 15 units per semester (fall and spring). If 15 units seem too much for you, you can also take 12 units per fall and spring semesters, plus six units each summer.
The California Community College system offers hundreds of degrees and certificates. Our career centers have staff and technology tools designed to help you find the perfect match between your skills and interests.
To transfer to the CSU, you must: have completed at least 60 transferable semester (90 quarter) units; have a grade point average of 2.00 (2.40 for non-residents) or better in all transferable units attempted; are in good standing at the last college or university attended; and have completed at least 30 semester (45 quarter) units of college courses with a grade of C minus or better in courses in English, arts and humanities, social science, science, and mathematics at a level at least equivalent to courses that meet general education requirements.
The 30 semester (45 quarter) units must include all the general education requirements in communication in the English language (at least nine semester or 12 quarter units to include written communication, oral communication and critical thinking) and mathematics (at least three semester or four quarter units). If you are completing the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC), you must have completed English communication (at least nine semester or 12 quarter units in English composition, oral communication and critical thinking) and the requirement in mathematics (at least three semester or four quarter units).
Transfer applicants must submit final transcripts before attending CSU classes to verify that all the necessary coursework has been completed successfully. CSU campuses may delay admission until a final transcript is submitted and may establish specific deadlines.
Most CSU campuses are not admitting lower-division transfer students. If you are a lower-division student who wants to begin attending a CSU before you earn 60 transferable semester units, you must have a minimum grade point average of 2.00 (2.40 for non-residents) in all transferable units. You also must meet the admission requirements for first-year students and be in good standing at the last college or university attended. Contact the campus you wish to attend before applying.
You are advised to complete at least 30 units of general education coursework, including courses that meet requirements in written communications, critical thinking, speech, and quantitative analysis (mathematics). You should also consult a counselor on your campus and use ASSIST.org to determine which lower-division major courses might be advisable to take before transferring to a CSU campus.
Generally, a pattern of courses that matches the recommendations above will keep you on track for a timely graduation from a CSU campus. The CSU can accept a maximum of 70 transferable semester (105 quarter) units from community colleges.
All California Community Colleges have lists of courses that will transfer to the CSU or the UC. It is highly recommended that you consult your college counselor or transfer center to determine which courses will be accepted for transfer credit by the CSU or the UC. The ASSIST.org site can provide information on comparable pre-major coursework and transfer courses available at California Community Colleges.
If you are transferring from a four-year college, a private college or an out-of-state college, you should consult with the campus to which you are planning to transfer to identify specific courses necessary to meet the transfer requirements.
If you are undecided but have a broad goal of either earning an associate degree or transferring to a university to complete a bachelor's degree, you can work on foundation courses in English, reading and math, as well as general education courses until you decide on a major.
It is highly recommended that you meet with a counselor at your community college to discuss your goals and determine the best plan of action to reach them.
It is not necessary to declare a major the first semester you enter. However, you are expected to spend time exploring educational options. It is recommended that you take advantage of the Career Center and its counselors. Additionally, it is suggested that you consider enrolling in a Career Planning class.
Credit for college classes is measured in "units." A unit relates to the amount of time spent in class. For example, a three-unit class will meet for three hours per week. Courses with labs will meet for additional hours, and very often, those classes are worth additional units. Most classes are worth three units, but some are worth as little as one unit, while others are up to five.
Taking 12 units or more in one semester is considered a full-time load.
Community colleges offer Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees. It requires that you complete a minimum of 60 semester units (depending on your major) of general education and major classes.
A four-year college or university offers the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees, which are more advanced. It requires that you complete a minimum of 120 semester units (sometimes more depending on your major) before graduating. You may complete 60 lower-division units at a community college and approximately 60 upper-division units at a university.
In most cases, as an upper-division transfer student, you need to have a major declared. If you are unsure, work with a counselor or the Career Services Office at your community college to begin researching potential majors.
The Associate of Arts for Transfer (AA-T) or the Associate of Science for Transfer (AS-T) is intended for students who plan to complete a bachelor's degree in a similar major at a four-year university. Students completing these degrees are guaranteed admission to the CSU system, but not to a particular campus or major. Students transferring with an AA-T or AS-T to a CSU similar program are considered to have their lower division major and general education coursework complete. They are admitted at junior standing.
1. Take 15 units the first semester.
2. Take 30 units the first year.
3. Take transfer-level Math and English the first year.
If you do not reach 30 units in the first year, you can catch up by enrolling in summer school courses.
Meet with a counselor or advisor regularly and update your Comprehensive Student Educational Plan (CSEP) to meet your goals.
It is recommended that you try to take a full course load (12 to 15 units) in your first semester. Taking a full course load will make it easier to complete your degree on time.
Also, there are more financial aid dollars available for full-time students, so your tuition might be less than you think.
However, students should first meet with a counselor to discuss their specific circumstances and the appropriate number of units they should enroll in to succeed.
Don't worry if you don't know what you want to study. Your community college's career center has the staff and technology tools to help you find the perfect match between your skills and interests.
It is highly recommended that you meet regularly with a counselor at your community college to discuss your goals and determine the best plan of action to reach them.
Yes, although you cannot earn the same degree twice. Each degree is evaluated independently of any others. Each degree can use a different General Education pattern. Each major can use a different catalog year as long as catalog rights exist to that catalog.
The University of California (UCLA, UCSB, UCB, UCR, etc.) has nine undergraduate campuses. They offer degrees ranging from the Bachelor of Arts/Science to degrees such as the Doctoral of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or Doctoral of Education (Ed.D.). The UC system also has a variety of graduate-level professional schools, Law Schools and Schools of Medicine. Along with education, research is a primary mission.
California State University (CSU) is a 23-campus system, including CSULA, CSULB, CSUN, CSUS and others. They offer Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees, Masters (graduate) degrees, and in limited instances, doctoral degrees.
Your options include the University of California, California State University, private and independent institutions, out-of-state and international institutions, and Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
To transfer as an "upper-division student" at junior-level standing, you need to complete approximately 60 transferable semester units. These classes should include identified general education, major, and elective courses. If you choose to transfer as a "lower-division student," you must send your community college transcripts, high school transcripts and SAT scores along with the college application.
Check your college's Transfer Center.
Counselors located throughout the campus can give you information on universities.
Instructors who teach classes in your major can often provide information about colleges and universities that offer strong programs in your field of interest.
The campus library or public libraries also offer information on colleges and universities.
View your college's website for relevant, up-to-date information on colleges and universities.
A student's career choice may require a degree beyond the Associate of Arts, Associate of Science or Certificate completed at a community college. Generally, community colleges offer classes that are at the freshman and sophomore levels. For some careers, an associate degree is sufficient. However, other careers may require the advanced classes offered at four-year institutions.
Lower-division courses are introductory classes. Upper-division classes generally specialize in your chosen major and are more advanced.
Community colleges do not offer upper-division classes. Usually, you must take lower-division courses before enrolling in upper-division classes.
Associate Degree for Transfer Program During COVID-19
Learn more about California State University’s updated transfer policies here.
You can also read about the University of California’s updated transfer policies here.
If you intend to transfer to a university other than a UC or CSU, check with the university’s admissions office for the current Pass/No Pass grading policy.
It is highly recommended that you discuss all your pass/no pass options with a counselor at your community college.
Typically, the UC requires final transcripts by July 1 and the CSU by July 15. The UC and CSU will not rescind admission if final transcripts are not submitted by those deadlines, but students should make every effort to submit them as soon as possible. New transfer students will remain in a conditionally admitted status until the university campus receives a final transcript document and a review of the transcript for admission requirements is completed.
CSU campuses are still checking mail regularly. Electronic transcripts are preferred, but a paper transcript is always accepted.
If you require a deadline extension or a deposit deferral, please contact the university campus(es) directly with your request. Campuses will use maximum flexibility when considering such requests. If you received a fee waiver for the application, the deposit is most likely automatically deferred.
The College Board, which administers AP exams, recently announced changes to AP exam content and formats for spring 2020. Both the UC and CSU recognize the effort that students have already applied in these challenging courses and will award credit for 2020 AP exams completed with scores of 3, 4 or 5, which is consistent with previous years.
For admissions purposes, the UC and CSU treat EW the same as a Withdrawal (W) grade. It does not affect units, GPA or admission. Campuses, however, are aware that the EW grade is not the same as a W. The EW grade is for students who are unable to continue a course due to extenuating circumstances. In contrast, W is for a student who chooses to drop the course.
If you have received an offer of admission from one or more universities, communicate directly with each university any change to your course schedule or grades. Instructions on how to contact the university with any changes typically accompany admissions offers. For financial aid inquiries, you should visit the university's financial aid office website for contact information.
Both the UC and CSU systems will continue to apply selection criteria consistent with what was in place before the COVID-19 crisis.
The CSU would prefer that IGETC/GCSUGE certifications are notated on the transcript.
Historically Black Colleges & Universities
Research the HBCUs the California Community Colleges are partnered with to identify the college with the best fit. Meet with your counselor at your local community college to review your transcript to make sure minimum transfer qualifications are met: 2.0 GPA (higher at some institutions), 30+ transferable units, or an Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT). Your counselor can also give you a promo code that will allow you to apply to up to four HBCUs free on the Common Black College Application. For HBCUs not included on the Common Black College Application, go directly to that school’s website to apply. Once you apply, submit official transcripts for ALL colleges/universities attended. Be sure to attend one of the California Community Colleges' “How to Apply” webinars or work with one of our team members to assist you through the process.
See our Fast Facts Sheet to see the HBCUs we partner with that have nursing programs. Please note this Transfer Guarantee Pathway allows for admission to the HBCU college or university. Upon acceptance to the HBCU, students will need to apply directly to the nursing program. Each nursing program has its own admission criteria. Advance research is highly recommended.
No, students do not need to be Black and/or African American to attend an HBCU. HBCUs are open and welcoming spaces to all backgrounds.
No, we do not take students on HBCU tours. However, we strongly encourage students to attend an HBCU tour (in-person or virtual). Opportunities for HBCU tours typically exist within your local community college through the counseling office or local Umoja community.
California College Corps
You can join thousands of students across the state in making a difference in your community while earning money to help pay for college.
As part of the service experience, California College Corps Fellows will earn up to $10,000, receive ongoing training, and become part of a statewide cohort of young leaders across California. Undergraduate students at any partner campus of the #CaliforniansForAll College Corps are invited to apply now.