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California Community Colleges: Interim Evaluation of Baccalaureate Degree Pilot Program


Final Evaluation of Community College Bachelor’s Degree Pilot

January 24, 2020 - State law authorizes the California Community Colleges (CCC) to award associate degrees, generally limiting the awarding of more advanced degrees to the state’s universities. As an exception to this rule, Chapter 747 of 2014 (SB 850, Block) authorized CCC to offer bachelor’s degrees on a pilot basis at up to 15 community colleges. Chapter 747 directed our office to conduct an interim evaluation of the pilot by July 1, 2018 and a final evaluation by July 1, 2022. This report reflects our final evaluation.


[PDF] Evaluation of Cal Grant C Program

April 30, 2019 - In this report, we evaluate the Cal Grant C program, as required by statute, and make a recommendation regarding whether the state should maintain it.


[PDF] Evaluation of CSU's Doctor of Nursing Practice Pilot Program

January 5, 2017 - To increase capacity in its nursing programs during the nursing shortage in the late 1990's, the California State University (CSU) cited a need to increase the number of nursing faculty holding a doctoral degree (required for tenured/tenure-track positions) and expressed interest in establishing its own Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program to prepare such faculty. In response, the state enacted Chapter 416 of 2010 which temporarily allows CSU to offer an independent DNP on a pilot basis. Related legislation requires our office to evaluate the pilot program and make a recommendation regarding its extension. For a variety of reasons, we recommend the Legislature allow the CSU DNP pilot to sunset.


Options for Creating a Forestry Management Training Center

January 4, 2022 - Prepared in response to a requirement in the Supplemental Report of the 2021-22 Budget Act, this report identifies key design choices and options for establishing a forestry management training center in Northern California. Additionally, this report discusses some other strategies that the Legislature could consider pursuing—either in addition to or instead of establishing a new training center—to meet its policy goals.


An Evaluation of CSU Doctor of Physical Therapy Programs

January 16, 2015 - Chapter 425, Statutes of 2010 (AB 2382, Blumenfield), authorizes the California State University (CSU) to award independent doctor of physical therapy (DPT) degrees. The legislation followed a 2009 decision by the sole accrediting organization recognized by the federal government to accredit physical therapy programs to no longer accredit programs at the master’s level. The legislation requires CSU, the Department of Finance, and the Legislative Analyst’s Office to conduct a joint evaluation of CSU DPT programs by January 2015. The joint team found that CSU DPT programs comply with the provisions of Chapter 425. In addition, the review raised a number of broader issues regarding state tuition policy, expansion of academic programs, year-round programs, and additional CSU doctoral programs.


Implementation Update: Reforming Transfer From CCC to CSU

February 2, 2015 - This report updates our 2012 progress report on transfer reform. We found that since 2012, both CCC and CSU have made substantial progress in meeting the legislation’s goals. Although some community colleges and CSU campuses are lagging in meeting specific statutory targets, both segments are making a good faith effort to comply with the legislation. Moving forward, we recommend the Legislature set specific reporting and data requirements to ensure the segments stay on track toward achieving the goals of transfer reform.


Reforming the State's Transfer Process: A Progress Report on Senate Bill 1440

May 11, 2012 - In an attempt to fundamentally reform the state’s transfer of students between the California Community Colleges (CCC) and the California State University (CSU) system, the Legislature and Governor enacted Chapter 428, Statutes of 2010 (SB 1440, Padilla). The legislation requires community colleges to create two-year associate degrees for transfer. Students who earn such a degree are automatically eligible to transfer to the CSU system as an upper-division (junior) student in a bachelor’s degree program. Our review finds that since the legislation was enacted, CCC and CSU have made some progress, but additional work needs to be done by both segments to achieve SB 1440's intended goals. For their part, community colleges need to increase the number of associate degrees for transfer they make available to students. It is incumbent on CSU, meanwhile, to maximize the number of academic programs to which these degrees can be applied. Toward these ends, we recommend the Legislature provide additional guidance and clarification to CCC and CSU on their responsibilities, as well as continued oversight to track their progress.


[PDF] The 2016-17 Budget: Higher Education Analysis

February 26, 2016 - In this report, we provide background on three key areas of higher education in California: enrollment, tuition and financial aid, and institutional performance. We then analyze specific budget proposals for the University of California, California State University, California Community Colleges, Hastings College of the Law, and California Student Aid Commission, making corresponding recommendations for the Legislature's consideration.


The 2022-23 Budget: College and Career Proposals

February 23, 2022 - In his January budget, the Governor proposes $2 billion in one-time funding across three programs to increase college and career readiness among high school students. In this post, we provide background on the state’s programs, describe and assess the Governor’s proposals, and provide our recommendations to the Legislature.


The Master Plan at 50: Using Distance Education to Increase College Access and Efficiency

October 25, 2010 - While distance education is not—and is not intended to be—suitable for everyone (students as well as faculty), we find that it offers an important alternative means of providing instruction that can complement existing formats and expand options for the state’s students and segments. In order to take fuller advantage of this potential, we believe that the Legislature should guide a clearer statewide vision that specifies data which the segments should collect and report on distance–education students, and which clarifies expectations concerning intercampus collaborations and other partnerships. To that end, we make a number of recommendations.

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Review of Recent Changes to The Cal Grant C Program

June 22, 2015 - To ensure recent legislative changes are having the intended effects on the Cal Grant C program, the Legislature requested that our office prepare a report on the implementation of the new rules and their impacts on Cal Grant C recipients. While data suggest the Cal Grant C program may contribute to better jobs for those recipients who ultimately receive a certificate or degree, these successes are offset by lesser outcomes among the high proportion of students who do not complete their courses of study.


[PDF] Improving High School: A Strategic Approach

May 9, 2005 -
This paper summarizes our recent report on the success and shortcomings of high schools in California. High school represents a critical phase in the educational development of K-12 students. Our report examines high schools through the lens of three groups of high school students.

Our Findings
Dropouts (Students Who Fail to Graduate). About 30 percent of the entering ninth grade class fails to graduate on time. Research and data suggest that the factors leading to student dropouts are in place by the time students enter ninth grade. Despite decades of trying, research has not identified programs or services that consistently reduce dropout rates.
The "General" Track (Students Who Graduate Without Qualifying for a Four-Year University). This includes about 45 percent of entering ninth grade students. About one-half of this group attends college after graduation and the other one-half enters the labor force. Research and data indicate that many in this group do not have clear postgraduation goals, which prevents these students from using high school most effectively to make a smoother transition to adult life.
The "University" Track (Students Who Graduate and Qualify for Admission to the State’s Public Four-Year Universities). These students account for about one-quarter of entering ninth grade students. Entering college freshmen frequently lack the English or mathematics skills required for study at the university level. Higher education admissions and placement policies contribute to the problem, as they fail to clearly communicate the skill levels needed for success in college.
Our Recommendations
Despite considerable differences in the problems facing these groups, several themes emerge in our recommendations that are consistent across the groups. Our recommendations address the problems experienced by high school students by strengthening accountability, improving information, and increasing flexibility.
We recommend the Legislature "fine tune" accountability programs by:
  • Adjusting existing accountability programs to focus more attention on the needs of students who are likely to drop out of school.
  • Establishing accountability for improving student transitions to college and work.
  • Aligning K-12 and higher education standards by using Standardized Testing and Reporting scores as admissions data for the University of California and the California State University.
We also suggest several ways the Legislature could employ information to help make high schools more responsive to student needs by:
  • Obtaining accurate dropout data by school and district within two years.
  • Evaluating state supplemental instruction and social promotion programs for elementary and middle school students.
  • Providing additional information and choices to help parents and students use high school to reach student goals for work and school.
Flexibility also is a theme of our report. Improvements could be made by:
  • Encouraging schools to provide a greater range of curricular options that respond to the needs and interests of students.
  • Giving districts greater latitude to use existing state and federal resources effectively to meet the needs of students.
The Bottom Line
While many critical factors are outside of the state’s control, we think our recommendations provide a strategic approach for how the state can contribute to improving high schools.