by Kathleen Reynolds
The average cost to attend a college in the University of California system is $41,052 a year, which includes tuition, campus fees, books and supplies, housing and meals, transportation and a health insurance allowance. The average for one year at the less expensive California State University system ranges from $22,889 to $32,110 depending on the campus. In its most recent survey of college pricing, the College Board (the creator of the SAT) reported that for the 2022-23 academic year, the average annual total cost for a private college is $57,570.
Multiply that by four years, at least. How can most families afford it?
One way to mitigate these costs is through the California Community College’s Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) also known as the Degree with a Guarantee. Napa Valley College participates in this program.
A college student, graduating with an Associate in Arts Transfer or Associate in Science Transfer, in one of 36 ADT majors, is guaranteed admission at junior standing to complete their degree at a CSU. The 36 majors include areas such as Administration of Justice, Computer Science, Film, Television and Electronic Media, Social Work and Theater Arts.
Students with those degrees are guaranteed comprehensive admissions review by the University of California system and/or priority admission consideration and guarantee into the CSU system, although it doesn’t guarantee admission to a specific CSU campus or major. The Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (which includes many online colleges) also has partnered with the Transfer degree program, although each college has its own admission and graduation requirements.
Over 100,000 California community college students transfer to a four-year university to earn their bachelor’s degree every year according to icangotocollege.com.
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. A student applying to a partner university with an associate degree for Transfer may receive various admission advantages. Because the ADT is considered transfer-level preparation, the courses transfer, versus standard associate degrees, where not all courses are likely to transfer.
Paige Hurst graduated from Napa Valley College in 2019. She first heard about the ADT from her NVC counselor. A Criminal Justice major, she transferred to CSU, Sacramento where she graduated in 2021.
“I explored a bit (at NVC) and took a lot of classes in different areas to be sure about what I wanted to do,” says Paige, who is 27 years old. “I didn’t have a time frame where I needed to decide which track to take or what four-year to attend. I was taking classes leisurely and once I decided I wanted to transfer, the process from there on was quick. I already had the schools in mind to which I wanted
“It wasn’t hard at all to enroll,” she says. “You must meet a few requirements like taking the appropriate classes and a certain number of units. The counselors are there to keep you on track with what classes you need and the whole process in general.”
How did she know to what university she wanted to transfer?
“I decided on CSU Sacramento because they have a good criminal justice program. I also liked that I would still be close to family and wasn’t crazy expensive like some other schools. Plus, I got to live with a family friend who conveniently lives not even 10 minutes away from campus. It seemed like the perfect school for me. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree, which took only a year and a half.”
After graduation, how was her job search?
“I actually got hired at my current job while I was still attending Sac State,” says Paige.” A professor from whom I previously took a class would occasionally send students job postings in different criminal justice areas. He sent one that really intrigued me, so I emailed him back saying I was going to apply for it. He was very helpful and supportive throughout the background process and was so excited for me when I told him I got hired. My position with the Sacramento Police Department was the only job I applied for related to my degree and field.”
Paige is now a Forensic Investigator with the Sacramento Police Department.
“I decided on my current job because I have always been interested in crime scene investigations. I watched a lot of CSI and Forensic Files shows and knew I wanted to do something of that nature. I also didn’t want a sedentary office job, so the fact that this job has mostly field work was perfect for me.”
What’s her advice to anyone entering Napa Community College?
“Take all the classes on topics that interest you and see what’s out there. Once you figure it out, I suggest the Associate Degree to Transfer if the school you want is on the list and the major interests you. They make it very easy to complete and you’re guaranteed a spot at a CSU.”
There are also many different types of financial aid available to get help paying for advanced education. A significant proportion of ADT students’ expenses are offset by grants and scholarships.
Many questions can be answered about the transfer process at Napa Valley College’s Transfer Center, a student support service. It provides a variety of services to assist students with transfer guidance (including application assistance) through workshops/open labs and one on one appointments, facilitate student appointments with college/university representatives, provide information about 4-year campuses, live or virtual tours and transfer resources.
For Napa Valley College transfer information, go to napavalley.edu; under the Academics tab, click Academic Support Programs, Transfer Center.
For additional general information on ADT, go to icangotocollege.com.
For Napa Valley College transfer information napavalley.edu