One of the most productive pipelines in California higher education starts with six community colleges spread among the quiet, space-age suburbs of Silicon Valley. Every year the colleges send thousands of their students to the region’s public university, San Jose State.
The community colleges here are a prime source of high-quality students, supplying nearly a third of the graduates at San Jose State, the oldest campus in the California State University system. For generations of local two-year students looking to transfer to a university, San Jose State has been both a top prize and an obvious choice.
Jessica S. Perez, an Evergreen Valley College student, wants to transfer to San Jose State to continue on her path to becoming a therapist. Sharon Grimaldi, a West Valley College student, wants in because it is one of only a few places where she can study speech pathology. In 1970 the future novelist Amy Tan, then a San Jose City College student, transferred to the university to study English and learn how to become a writer.
That pipeline is now closed for at least a semester, part of the fallout from California’s deep fiscal problems. For the first time in memory, the roughly 1,300 community-college students who expected to transfer to San Jose State next spring are having to make other plans.
A huge number of people are getting screwed through no fault of their own.