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May 31, 1999

Cabrillo College and UCSC team up to foster community college students

By Jennifer McNulty

A new program being introduced by Cabrillo College and UC Santa Cruz encourages aspiring UCSC students to begin their college careers at Cabrillo and then transfer to the university.

The Student Transfer Education Pathway (STEP) program, initiated by Cabrillo College, will facilitate the transfer of Cabrillo students to UCSC after successful completion of their first two years of course work.

The program will support Cabrillo students throughout their education, offering a STEP orientation for new students, counseling services monitored by the Cabrillo Transfer Center to help students select appropriate courses, and a series of STEP receptions with Cabrillo and UCSC faculty and staff.

STEP students will also receive special services as they prepare for transferring to UCSC, including mailings about workshops designed to help them apply to UC, learn about financial aid opportunities, and prepare for their chosen major. In addition, STEP students will be invited to attend events and performances at UCSC, and UCSC departments will provide information about their programs to interested students.

Earlier this month, Cabrillo College President John Hurd and Chancellor Greenwood sent letters to 605 students whom UCSC was unable to accommodate in this year's entering class, inviting them to apply to Cabrillo College and join the STEP program.

The letter, which was sent to students in the Monterey Bay Area and beyond, was accompanied by a Cabrillo registration form and a college brochure.

"We encourage Cabrillo students to aim high, and helping them prepare to transfer to UCSC is a key part of our mission," said Hurd. "This program formalizes those efforts and reaches out to a population that might not have been considering Cabrillo."

Cabrillo College ranks third among the state's 106 community colleges in the percentage of students who transfer to the UC system.

"The STEP program will increase the number of community college transfers to the University of California in keeping with the memorandum of understanding signed recently by Chancellor Thomas Nussbaum of the California Community Colleges and UC President Richard Atkinson," said Greenwood. "We are pleased to join Cabrillo in this effort, and we look forward to working with STEP students while they are at Cabrillo--and to seeing them at UCSC in two years."

STEP students will be eligible to qualify for guaranteed admission to UCSC through the university's Guaranteed Admission for Transfer Entry (GATE) Program. Students must complete 30 transferable units with a 2.8 grade-point average.

The STEP program is the brainchild of Bette Hirsch, dean of instruction, transfer, and distance education at Cabrillo College, who wanted to facilitate the transfer process for Cabrillo students who want to earn a bachelor's degree at UCSC. "This partnership is a win-win collaboration that will benefit all of the participants--most importantly the students," said Hirsch.

Michael Thompson, associate vice chancellor for outreach, admissions, and student academic services at UCSC, noted that Cabrillo sends more transfer students to UCSC than any other community college in the state. "They do well here," he said. "We are happy to guarantee STEP students a space at UCSC, and we're confident that this program will only enhance their success."

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