The University of California at San Diego has announced that it will no longer be a part of the guaranteed transfer program community college students enjoy with the state’s public four-year schools.

According to an article by Pat Flynn in the San Diego Union-Tribune:

The UC San Diego program that guarantees transfer admission to community college students who meet certain requirements will come to an end in 2014, campus officials have decided.

They said explosive growth in the number applications under the program, coupled with sharp cuts in state funding for the University of California, have threatened to swamp the campus.

UC San Diego’s Transfer Admissions Guarantee, or TAG, program began in the early 1980s. Students from the six regional districts who took specific required courses and earned a 3.0 grade-point average were guaranteed admission to the La Jolla university.

The problem seems to be that the school simply doesn’t have space for all the community college students who qualify. Because while at first the program applied only to local students, now, thanks to policy changes in the University of California system, students from all 112 California community colleges are eligible for the guaranteed transfer program.

In 2008, Flynn explains, 408 TAG students applied for admission to UC San Diego. In 2011 almost 9,000 students applied. And since, unlike regular transfer applications, the institution has to admit all the students who took that required courses and earned the specified GPA, the program was becoming trouble to manage.

Community college officials object to the change. “If this decision is final … that pathway, that gateway will be closed to many students from our local colleges. We think this decision is shortsighted,” Francisco Rodriguez, president of MiraCosta Community College District, told Flynn.

He’s got a point. The reason California has community colleges, at least in part, is to help people to get degrees by encouraging them to transfer into Cal State or the UC’s.

Community colleges are appealing the decision.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer