Sb 1440 Implementation Frequently Asked Questions (faq) #1 What are the key provisions of the bill?

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SB 1440 Implementation

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) #1

  1. What are the key provisions of the bill?

Senate Bill 1440 (Padilla), which was signed by the governor on September 29, 2010, requires prompt action by the California community colleges (CCCs) as it specifies the composition of these new associate degrees that will be available to students by the 2011-2012 academic year. It also requires action by the California State University (CSU) as it prepares to accept students who complete what the bill calls “associate degrees for transfer.” The following summarizes the key provisions of the bill:

    1. Establishes requirements for the “associate degree for transfer” (“a CCC district shall develop and grant associate degrees for transfer”)

      1. To earn an “associate degree for transfer” a student must complete 60 semester units or 90 quarter units that are eligible for transfer to the CSU including:

        1. IGETC or CSU GE Breadth

        2. at least 18 units, as defined by the CCC, in a major or area of emphasis

      2. No additional local graduation requirements may be required

    1. If a student completes an “associate degree for transfer” with a minimum GPA of 2.0

      1. “The CSU shall guarantee admission with junior status”

      2. “Admission to the CSU, as provided under this article, does not guarantee admission for specific majors or campuses”

      3. “The CSU shall grant a student priority admission to his or her local CSU campus and to a program or major that is similar to his or her community college major or area of emphasis, as determined by the CSU campus to which the student is admitted”

    2. Once a student completes an “associate degree for transfer” and is at the CSU

      1. “The CSU may require a student transferring pursuant to this article to take additional courses at the CSU so long as the student is not required to take any more than 60 additional semester units or 90 quarter units at the CSU for majors requiring 120 semester units or 180 quarter units.”

      2. The CSU shall not require students transferring pursuant to this article to repeat courses that are similar to those taken at the community college that counted toward the associate degree for transfer.

Please find the complete bill at:

  1. What are the requirements in SB 1440 for designing new transfer associate degrees?

Degrees must consist of 60 semester units or 90 quarter units in courses that are eligible for transfer to the California State University, including both of the following:

  • The Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) or the California State University General Education-Breadth Requirements.

  • A minimum of 18 semester units or 27 quarter units in a major or area of emphasis, as determined by the community college district.

A community college district shall not impose any local curriculum requirements in addition to the requirements above, including any local college or district requirements. However, remedial noncollegiate level coursework shall not be counted as part of the 60 units, given that they are not transferrable. The standards for associate degrees are still in place and defined in

Title 5, Section 55063.
A student must obtain a grade point average of at least 2.0 to earn the associate degree for transfer.

  1. What are some topics that have not yet been resolved----that will require direction from the SB 1440 committee?

  • How will “similar majors” be defined?

  • What will “local CSU campus” mean?

  • What are the details of the priority admissions process?

  • What are the “high unit” majors?

  • How will high unit majors be handled?

  • How will campus and major impaction be handled without additional course requirements?

  1. What is the plan at the state level for implementing these new SB 1440 degrees statewide?

Because the content of degrees is an academic matter, the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC) is taking the lead on coordinating a statewide response to SB 1440. Rather than all 112 colleges developing 112 different degrees in each transfer major, the Academic Senate is, with the strong support of the Chancellor’s Office, recommending a concerted, statewide response in the form of a transfer model curriculum (TMC). The TMC will define the major component of a degree and will consist of a common “core” for the major of at least 6 units and then delineate options that colleges can select from as they design a degree that meets local needs. The goal is to effectively establish common major preparation while also allowing for some local flexibility. In this way, students will know what is expected in each major, and CSU faculty can be confident that incoming transfer students who receive priority admission have a certain minimum level of preparation for the major. While SB 1440 places control of the degree solely in the hands of community college districts, it is in the best interest of students that the legislation be implemented in such a way that it simplifies the transfer process.

These are the steps implementation will follow:

  1. Intersegmental discipline groups are being convened (using the processes already in place for the C-ID course numbering initiative) to draft a transfer model curriculum (TMC) of at least 18 units for each major. Eleven disciplines were convened in early October and an additional three have TMCs in development.

  2. TMC’s will be vetted online at, to receive feedback from discipline faculty from both the CCC and CSU.

  3. Once a TMC is proposed by a C-ID intersegmental discipline group and approved by the Academic Senate’s SB 1440 Curriculum Work Group and then by the CCC Chancellor’s Office, colleges will be notified that it is now available for local adoption.

  4. Colleges are urged to establish a fast-track approval process through their curriculum committee and local board. The Academic Senate will provide suggestions for ways to speed up the local processes and will also meet with trustees and administrators at various statewide conferences to encourage their support of fast-track approvals. Colleges that adopt the model curriculum will have a fast-track approval process in the Chancellor’s Office as well.

  1. What is the list of degrees that will be included in the first phase of implementation?

At the time of this FAQ, there are a number of Transfer Model Curricula that are in the process of being drafted (see list below) and are being or soon will be vetted. All faculty are encouraged to visit to sign up for their discipline listserv to remain informed regarding any progress made in their discipline. It is anticipated that most of the disciplines on this list will have a TMC available for local adoption by January. Early in 2011 approximately ten more disciplines will be convened. More information regarding TMCs is available at

TMC’s in the process of being drafted include:

  1. Art History

  2. Biology

  1. Chemistry

  2. Communication Studies

  3. Criminal Justice/Administration of Justice

  4. Early Childhood Education

  5. Geology

  6. Kinesiology

  7. Math

  8. Physics

  9. Psychology

  10. Sociology

  11. Theatre

Disciplines scheduled to be convened in spring include:

  1. Accounting

  2. Economics

  3. Political Science

  1. How will this plan benefit our students, colleges and universities?

There are several benefits to having a concerted plan for implementation of 1440.

  1. Many students attend multiple colleges; a statewide approach will help minimize the chances of them taking excess units and simplify their understanding of the courses they need to take.

  2. A statewide approach will increase the confidence of CSU faculty that our students are well prepared for upper division.

  3. CCCs will be provided with a fast-track approval process to assist them in the establishment of new degrees.

  1. But the timeline is so fast - how can we have new degrees in place by fall 2011?

The law does not say that all associate degrees for transfer need to be in place by fall. It says in section 6746 (a) “Commencing with the fall term of the 2011–12 academic year, a student who earns an associate degree for transfer granted pursuant to subdivision (b) shall be deemed eligible for transfer into a CSU baccalaureate program when the student meets both of the following requirements…“ In other words, it speaks to the CSU having to deem students who have completed an “associate degree for transfer” eligible for transfer and clearly indicates an expectation that the CCCs will have such degrees in place by 2011. This is interpreted to mean that as long as colleges have some degrees in place for fall, community colleges will be in compliance. The goal is to get as many associate degrees created and available as soon as possible.

  1. What should colleges begin to do now?

Colleges should:

  • Encourage faculty, counselors, and Articulation Officers to participate in TMC review. All faculty in a transfer discipline, Articulation Officers, and other faculty who work with transfer students are urged to go to and sign up for their discipline listserv. Draft TMCs will then be distributed through the listservs for local discipline discussion and input.

  • Initiate discussion that includes Curriculum Committees, instructional administrators, CEOs and Trustees about establishing fast-track degree adoption procedures.

  • Encourage counselors, public information officers and others to be informed about implementation of the SB 1440 associate degrees for transfer so that students, parents and communities can be informed.

  1. Will we have to change all the degrees at our college? How will this legislation impact existing associate degree programs?

No, colleges do not have to stop granting existing degrees. The new transfer degree is an additional option for students who plan to transfer to the CSU and want the guarantees it offers. Each college will need to determine whether existing degrees that have been designated for transfer should be modified to meet the SB 1440 requirements or retained to serve students who will not benefit from the SB 1440 degrees. Colleges can expect to receive additional guidance regarding transition issues as the new degrees are brought on line and communication tools are developed for working with students and the public to understand the new degrees.

  1. What will happen with high unit programs?

The legislation specifically excludes “high unit” majors from the unit limits it imposes. The SB 1440 Implementation and Oversight Committee has agreed to discuss in the future whether an SB 1440 approach can be applied to high unit majors. In the meantime, the CSU Chancellor’s Office has agreed to provide a list of current high-unit majors and has stated the list will not be expanded in response to this legislation.

  1. What will the effect of the new law be on CTE degrees?

For the CTE degrees that are intended for students to go directly into the workplace, this new law does not affect them. For the CTE disciplines that routinely are developed for students who transfer to CSU, we recommend the discipline faculty participate in the development of their TMC and consider adopting it when it becomes available. Disciplines that are only offered at only a few colleges/universities may not need to develop a TMC.

  1. SB 1440 requires degrees to have 18 units in a major or area of emphasis; what about majors that do not have 18 units of major preparation course work?

The “major” component of a degree need not consist solely of courses in the major. The faculty who have worked thus far on developing Transfer Model Curricula have been asked to consider the courses that prepare a student for transfer and are appropriate for an associate degree that can stand on its own – courses both inside and outside of the discipline. Faculty members have also been encouraged to identify “double-counting” opportunities – where a given course can count for both the major and general education. As the Transfer Model Curriculum is intended to prepare a student for transfer to any CSU and consist of coursework appropriate for an associate degree in the discipline, it may be the case it in some disciplines that the new degree will include more major preparation courses than are currently required by the CSU to which a college’s students generally transfer. However, the contents of an associate degree for transfer will define what is required for major preparation in the future and current CSU requirements that are not included in the new degrees will probably cease to be relevant.

  1. What is the difference between an associate degree before the bill and after the bill?

The requirements for community college associate degrees are defined in title 5, section 55063. The degrees created by SB 1440 are consistent with those requirements but have additional criteria and afford students specific guarantees for transfer to the CSU system.

  1. Will the Chancellor’s Office offer a “fast track” process for degree approval? How will the office expedite the many degree changes across the system?

Yes, once a Transfer Model Curriculum has been approved, the Chancellor’s Office will offer, for colleges that choose to develop associate degrees consistent with the model, a modification of the process for approving conjoint programs described in the Program and Course Approval

Handbook, 3rd Edition (March 2009), p. 16-17. The process may require a new form, or modification of an existing form, that will be submitted through the CCC Curriculum Inventory. Detailed instructions will be distributed as soon as they are finalized.

  1. Can a college continue to require a local course requirement, if fulfillment of the requirement can be completed via a number of CSU GE courses?

No, SB 1440 is explicit that a college cannot add on local requirements outside of the IGETC or CSU GE requirements and the 18 units required in a major or area of emphasis. Note that the law ONLY applies to the new transfer degrees. Existing associate degrees may retain the local GE and local graduation requirements.

  1. What about double-counting?

In developing the TMCs, double-counting is encouraged as permitted in Title 5, section 55063. ”Double-counting” refers to the use of a course to fulfill both a general education and a major requirement. For example, statistics is a course that is commonly a component of a variety of majors and typically satisfies the quantitative reasoning general education requirement. The Academic Senate approved a fall 2010 resolution to urge districts to allow double-counting for these degrees as one approach to avoiding the accumulation of additional units as a student completes a degree and prepares for transfer. In addition, this should help students who change majors or want to keep their options open.

  1. Will associate degrees requiring 19 or more units of a major/area of emphasis be acceptable?

Yes. The law and existing regulations specify a minimum of 18 units in a major or area of emphasis, not a maximum. For example, double-counting units for the major and GE can permit the major to have a higher unit requirement, as long as the associate degree does not require more than 60 units.

  1. This legislation guarantees admission to a program or major that is similar to the student’s community college major or area of emphasis, as determined by the CSU admitting campus. How will “similar” be determined?

This is one of the areas that will be worked out in the SB 1440 Implementation and Oversight committee, which began its deliberations on Nov 2, 2010.

  1. How will the implementation team help to inform college personnel about the new law?

As of the end of November, ten presentations have been made and many more are planned in the coming months, including to such groups as the Academic Senate, the CIOs, the Consultation Council, CEOs, CCCAOE, trustees, CSSOs and others. In addition, the Academic Senate has offered webinars and will conduct more in the coming months. Both the Chancellor’s Office and Academic Senate will continue to disseminate information as there are developments.

  1. Is this legislation going to supersede Title 5 regulations, where community colleges are required to offer 18-unit majors? Can new majors have fewer units?

No, Title 5 regulations are still in effect. All new (and existing) associate degrees must include a minimum of 18 units in a major or area of emphasis. The legislation was designed to be consistent with current policy and is not in conflict with existing Title 5 regulations.

SB 1440 FAQ – Volume 1, December 2010 Page

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