The UC Transfer Admission Guarantee program, or TAG, guarantees California community college students entry into participating university schools if they satisfy all admission requirements. Currently, the Davis, Irvine, Merced, Riverside, Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara campuses participate in the program.
According to a university document directed at students applying to transfer for the 2023-2024 academic year, these students must meet a minimum GPA, obtain a number of transferable units and complete some general education courses by a deadline, all of which may differ between campuses. Before now, students have only been able to choose one school to apply to with TAG.
In March, the university proposed a policy change that would offer a system-wide admission guarantee and streamline the transfer process for UC Berkeley, UCLA and UC San Diego. This would guarantee students who were not admitted into their school of choice a spot at UC Merced, UC Riverside or UC Santa Cruz, as reported in the Los Angeles Times.
A UC spokesperson commented on the matter, stating the University of California is grateful for these developments in making a more “streamlined and easily understandable” set of prerequisites to participate in TAG. The spokesperson added, however, that the proposal is still in the works.
“It is important to note that what was discussed during the State Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance will be further refined in consultation with the Governor and state legislative leaders as we consider a range of options to meet our shared goal of achieving a more accessible transfer pathway for prospective UC students,” the UC spokesperson said in an email.
With the changes to make transfer admission more accessible, students have formed opinions on the benefits and drawbacks of TAG.
Emily Morton, a campus student who transferred from Foothill College in 2021, noted that while she could not use TAG for UC Berkeley, she understands how it could be beneficial to other transfer students.
“When you’re a high school senior, you apply to college and then you don’t have to do it again until you’re applying to grad school typically,” Morton said. “But for transfers you’re having to do it again. That takes time away from your studies. That’s extra effort on your part.”
She emphasized that giving transfer students the opportunity to have a guaranteed admission generates “peace of mind” and takes some of the pressure off when one is also balancing other academics.
However, Morton said she can also see how this program, especially if applied to UC Berkeley, could have some negative effects.
“In terms of the drawbacks, the process could make it more difficult for historically marginalized students to gain access to UC Berkeley because it’s already a very competitive school,” Morton said.
Campus transfer student Ellie Sweiger, who applied to several other campuses through TAG, agreed that the TAG program has several advantages for students looking to transfer. She also added, however, that the varying requirements for each school are challenging to navigate as not every school in the program has the same requirements to meet for admission.
Overall though, Sweiger feels the “peace of mind” aspect of the TAG program to be its biggest drawing factor, noting it made her transfer applications “smoother” than when she applied in high school.
“In high school there was no guarantee anywhere. You had to wait and find out,” Sweiger said. “It was very huge to just check all the boxes. It made for a pretty smooth transition I wouldn’t have had otherwise.”