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ASU launches pathway to bachelor’s degree at Long Beach City College

Partnership will help more LBCC students make the leap to a 4-year degree program

Group of ASU students standing in an outdoor setting.

(From left) Jocelyn Rios, Gabriel Leal, Marleigh Hurlburt, Joseph Polanco and Joanne Albarado at ASU Local — Long Beach.

October 20, 2023

One obstacle prospective college students often face is the transition from community college to a four-year degree program.

The process can sometimes be confusing or feel daunting. But what if the transfer process was seamless — and could happen right in your community?

Students at Long Beach City College (LBCC) in Long Beach, California, can now earn their bachelor’s degree at Arizona State University, thanks to a partnership between ASU and LBCC.

Today, the two institutions launched a new site at LBCC for community college students who wish to transfer to four-year degree programs at ASU, called ASU Local — Long Beach. The inaugural cohort of students are in their first semester.

“This new partnership with ASU will unlock additional educational opportunities for our LBCC students,” said Herlinda Chico, LBCC Board of Trustees president. “While the prospect of transferring to a four-year, out-of-state university might be exciting for some transfer students, it may instead present a challenge for others who wish to remain close to home while pursuing their bachelor’s degree.

“Through this innovative partnership, students will be able to earn an ASU bachelor’s degree while staying local on our LBCC campus, and eliminating the need to relocate.”

This collaboration aims to help California community colleges improve overall transfer rates

More than 2 million students attend one of 116 colleges in the California Community College system, but only 2.5% transfer to four-year institutions within two years, with approximately 23% making the transition after four years.

Long Beach has long been a diverse community, with 44% of residents identifying as Latino and 12% as Black. California Community Colleges report that 69% of its students have diverse ethnic backgrounds. ASU Local — Long Beach will create more opportunities for students of color to earn their bachelor’s degrees and advance their careers.

Embedding ASU’s world-class education in partnership with communities across the nation, ASU Local is changing how learners experience college. Students can pursue their degrees where they live and work — staying close to their families and other connections.

“ASU Local gives me the opportunity to accomplish my academic goals at the same time that I work for a place I consider home,” said LBCC student Joseph Polanco, an ASU Local — Long Beach film studies major who recently made the transfer.

Students like Polanco can choose from more than 140 top-tier undergraduate degree programs, with the flexibility to complete coursework in a blend of in-person and 24/7 online environments.

The ASU and LBCC collaboration advances both institutions’ commitments to help students develop the capacity to thrive in all facets of life while infusing their knowledge back into the communities they value so deeply. 

At the core of ASU Local is its aim to nurture belonging, curiosity, resilience and empathy in students through community and support services. Personal coaches will support both emotional well-being and academic paths for students at ASU Local — Long Beach, while learning alongside their peers bolsters their professional networks and sense of belonging.

“Long Beach is as vibrant as the people who call it home, and every community college student deserves the opportunity to earn their bachelor’s degree,” says Maria Anguiano, executive vice president of ASU's Learning Enterprise, a core pillar of ASU devoted to advancing universal access to learning at all stages. “By joining forces with Long Beach City College, we’re opening up more flexible pathways for students to pursue their deepest aspirations with constant support from ASU and their community.”

When it comes to making the transfer process simpler, access is key. ASU Local will be located at LBCC’s Liberal Arts Campus to encourage its community of students, coaches and staff to come together for connection and support while having access to the extended LBCC community and facilities. 

Easily accessible through metro bus and train routes, the site offers one-on-one spaces for students and success coaches. They can participate in group activities with ample room for solo study sessions and connecting one on one.

“This partnership exemplifies LBCC's commitment to breaking down barriers and expanding access to higher education,” said Mike Muñoz, LBCC’s superintendent-president. “Last year LBCC announced the seamless transfer with ASU, and we’re proud to expand our partnership by opening up for our students an array of available degree options offered through ASU.”

This partnership builds upon existing collaborations between ASU and LBCC. Through a recent joint effort of ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, ASU and LBCC launched a customized cohort of faculty and staff for its Leadership and Innovation, EdD degree program. The degree offers an action research approach tailored to addressing education systems needs through a blend of research-based techniques and practical application.

ASU Local coaches will also help those who need it to identify suitable federal financial aid opportunities, including Pell Grants and work-study positions. Students can also apply for external scholarships and jobs for additional financial support.

ASU Local — Long Beach is now admitting new students for the spring 2024 semester.

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