Innovative Higher Education Partnership Receives Substantial Funding

The L.A. Reverse Transfer initiative earns a 2017 Governor's Award for Innovation in Higher Education

April 13, 2017 10:00 am
by L.A. Area Chamber

LOS ANGELES, CA —The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and its affiliate, UNITE-LA, applauds our higher education partners who have received $1 million through the Governor’s 2017 Awards for Innovation in Higher Education. The award will help launch the L.A. Reverse Transfer initiative among three Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) campuses in the San Fernando Valley and California State University, Northridge (CSUN).

The Awards for Innovation in Higher Education provide one-time funding from the state to support community college innovations that shorten time to degree completion and/or make college more affordable. Reverse transfer falls under the category of shortening time to degree completion as it enables students who have left the higher education system without a bachelor’s degree to apply their coursework to a partnering community college in order to receive an associate degree.

“We are thrilled to learn about this award. It is a true representation of the great work that can help our region’s students when various partners and institutions work together to reach a common goal,” said David Rattray, executive vice president of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and president, UNITE-LA. “The project aims to help students who are part of the sizeable ‘some college, no degree’ population reap the economic advantages related to associate degree completion, such as higher rates of employment and wage gains. This benefits students, the local workforce and our community as a whole.”

The idea for the L.A. Reverse Transfer Pilot was first explored in the Student Success Workgroup, a working group of the L.A. Compact that convenes senior academic administrators from local higher education institutions. Representatives from CSUN, the LACCD District Office, and other Los Angeles area institutions learned about successful models for reverse transfer, examined their own campus data to better understand how local students would benefit from such an initiative and began mapping out necessary steps to develop a local initiative.

Noticing compelling trends in the San Fernando Valley, the representatives from CSUN and LACCD engaged campus leadership at L.A. Mission College, Pierce College, and L.A. Valley College (LAVC) to develop the proposal for the Award for Innovation in Higher Education, with LAVC ultimately serving as the application lead.

“I am very happy to have LAVC serve as the lead institution for this project.” Noted Dr. Erika Endrijonas, president, LAVC. “San Fernando Valley residents who lost their way on the path to a bachelor’s degree will be able to complete their journey with a team of counselors, faculty and staff from CSUN and all three LACCD colleges to help guide them in a highly personalized way.” 

Dr. Ryan Cornner, vice chancellor, Educational Programs and Institutional Effectiveness, LACCD, added, “The LA Reverse Transfer initiative brings together a community of practitioners from across all segments of higher education with the singular goal of student completion. Recognizing that we can do more together than as individual organizations, this partnership ensures student work is honored, the state's investment sees dividends and our institutions will learn how to collectively serve our students.”

"This partnership is a rare win-win-win," CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison said. "First and foremost is the tremendous benefit for the students who will have a new pathway to earn associate degrees and complete their baccalaureate degree. This also enhances each of the partners and contributes to our shared mission to support student success. Finally, this initiative elevates the regional economy by providing the educated and prepared graduates to fuel local business success."

The L.A. Compact Student Success Workgroup and the L.A. Area Chamber also partnered on the Innovations Award proposal and will continue to provide ongoing support as the higher education partners launch the first phase of the L.A. Reverse Transfer initiative in the 2017-2018 academic year.

The L.A. Compact is a commitment by L.A. leaders from the education, business, government, labor and nonprofit sectors to transform education outcomes from cradle to career, ensuring that today’s youth have the skills necessary to compete and succeed in a 21st century global workforce. The L.A. Area Chamber is one of twenty-three L.A. County institutions that has signed onto the L.A. Compact, along with CSUN, LACCD, and ten additional higher education institutions.


The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of business in L.A. County. Founded in 1888, the Chamber promotes a prosperous economy and quality of life in the Los Angeles region. For more information, visit

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