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Chico State and Seven North State Community Colleges Sign Transformational Agreement to Support Transfer Student Success 

Olivia Johnson speaks from a podium about her experience at Butte College and Chico State.
(Jason Halley / University Photographer)

Olivia Johnson, a computer science major, chose Butte College to start her college journey because it was the most affordable way to explore what she wanted to do for a career. She had to navigate some of her transfer student journey on her own to make it to Chico State to major in computer science, and hopes the agreements signed this week will make that process even easier for students who follow in her footsteps.

Junior Olivia Johnson began her academic journey at Butte College to explore different majors without added financial stress. While she met frequently with the transfer counselor and meticulously used Chico State’s online resources to track her own progress, she wished there was a stronger, more structured collaboration to make the process simpler.

As of today, it exists.

On Monday, President Steve Perez was joined by leadership from Butte College, College of the Siskiyous, Feather River College, Lassen Community College, Shasta College, Woodland Community College, and Yuba College to sign Memoranda of Understanding to formalize dual admission and streamlined transfer for students interested in pursuing their bachelor’s degree at Chico State. This guaranteed admission and accompanying support mechanisms lay the groundwork to simplify and ease transfer students’ pathways to pursue four-year degrees, credentials, and further education within their region.  

“Supporting transfer students isn’t just about easing the transition, it’s about empowering us to realize our educational dreams without undue obstacles,” Johnson said. “Many community college students find themselves taking unnecessary courses due to uncertainties about which classes will fulfill requirements. This not only extends their time in school, but it also increases their financial burden.”

Through the memoranda, Chico State guarantees admission to students from all seven colleges as long as they meet minimum eligibility requirements and apply by published deadlines. Chico State will also extend a dual admission program invitation through the Transfer Success Pathway (TSP) to eligible first-time, first-year applicants at the end of their high school career after being denied admission. Each community college campus will establish a mechanism for early identification of students who are interested in transferring and schedule a Chico State campus tour for those students, and Chico State educational opportunities will be promoted at the individual community college campuses.  

“We’re signing agreements to build guaranteed admission and seamless transfer pathways so any student in the North State that wants to go to a community college and wants to come to Chico State can hit the ground running and consider themselves a Wildcat from Day One,” said Chico State President Steve Perez. “Our mission, as partners, is to provide access to high-quality education to any person in the North State that wants it, and these agreements are a really important step to make that happen.”

Seven community college presidents sit in a row as they sign their MOUs.
The seven presidents represent more than 30,000 students across the North State region.

Several of the presidents from the smaller, more rural community colleges acknowledged that there is familiarity and a sense of belonging at Chico State that appeals to their students and helps foster their success.

“Our district is 10,000 square miles—larger than a lot of states in our country—so providing educational opportunities and transfer opportunities can be a challenge. With this MOU, it’s become a whole lot easier,” said Kevin O’Rorke, interim superintendent and president of Shasta College. “No single institution, no matter how powerful or innovative, can tackle the challenges that we have in isolation. Truly, we are not isolated now, and we feel a strong partnership with Chico State.” 

Sierra Bowling (Communication Sciences and Disorders, ’23), a Shasta College transfer student now completing a master’s degree at Chico State, said she chose the community college path because of its flexible scheduling and low cost. The support she would inevitably receive from advising staff paved the way for her to have a smooth transition.  

“Chico State has been everything I could ask for and more in a university. However, I could not have done this without the support from Shasta College. They prepared me so well for the transition between community college and university, which I know can be very intimidating for many of us. The amazing staff encouraged my educational journey and made my transfer experience completely worry-free,” she said. “It is my hope today that through these agreements, transfer students across our whole region will continue to have similar experiences for years to come.”

Virginia Guleff, superintendent and president of Butte College, emphasized that the pathways for students are critical to helping them achieve their goals.

President Perez signs a stack of MOUs with each community college.
President Steve Perez is working his way through in-person visits at each of the seven campuses, to get to know their leadership and students better so the partnerships with Chico State can continue to be enhanced.

“Frankly, it’s not uncommon for community college students to wonder if they belong at a university or to be concerned about their ability to be successful there. Guaranteed admission is one of the most important promises we can make for our students.”

To have a partnership with Chico State makes it even better, she said.

“This guarantee makes a huge difference for our students who want to further their education in the region, and in a community that is familiar to them,” she said. “When barriers are reduced, our institutions work in partnership. Students are more likely to believe they can succeed in pursuing four-year degrees and credentials.”

At Woodland Community College, two-thirds of students are the first in the family to attend college. Seamless transition opportunities are the best way to support individuals where the institutions themselves and all of their acronyms and processes can be so unfamiliar, said President Lizette Navarette.

“What we call the ‘Woodland Way,’ is caring about our students like they’re family—we will guide them to a class if they’re lost, we will walk them through processes,” she said. “This MOU and the partnerships to come really show us that when our students come to Chico, they will also be taken care of the way that we would in the Woodland Way.”