CSUN Connections

CSUN Connections is one of California’s first reverse transfer initiative, aligning California State University, Northridge and the Los Angeles Community College District in supporting stopped out students with degree bearing credits.

CSUN Connections is a reverse transfer initiative between Cal State Northridge and three LA Community college District campuses (LA Mission, LA Pierce, and LA Valley). This pilot in the Los Angeles area has two distinct tracks. The first, a traditional model of credit recovery reverse transfer, in which students who transferred to a four-year institution without earning an Associates degree and subsequently left without earning a Bachelor’s degree, can combine credits to earn the two-year degree. The second and innovative new model, creates a pathway for four-year students who are academically disqualified after their first year to seamlessly transfer to a community college, earn an Associate degree for transfer and return to CSUN and continue their degree program where they left off. This partnership was born of the L.A. Compact, a Cradle-to-Career effort that works across education sectors, government, business, and labor organizations to address inequities and barriers in our educational and workforce development systems.

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Adam Gottlieb
Associate Director of Postsecondary Initiatives
Debra Cours, Ph.D.
Assistant Vice President, Academic Community Partnerships – California State University, Northridge



Students Identified

In it’s first collection of data, CSUN Connections identified 548 students, over three cohorts, eligible to take part in the program based on degree credits and enrollment status.


Completers and 52 Degree Earners

127 students were identified as having earned a degree after attending both a community college and CSUN. 52 have gone through the process of claiming a degree.

Unintended Achievements

With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CSUN Connections collaborative did its part to support students with deferred education goals or little knowledge about opportunities still available to them by widening the list of students eligible for campus wide benefits to those still considering a community college education.

Key Initiatives

Charting a New Path

CSUN Connections charted a new path in reverse transfer. Traditionally, reverse transfer goes one way, in which students recover credits lost in the process between transferring from a two-year to four-year institution. In the same fashion of leaving an institution without a degree, CSUN Connections identified this as an issue in the California higher ed ecosystem, but for students beginning in a four-year institution. With no existing support systems, this collaborative found that students who were academically disqualified from CSUN after their first year had no known alternative educational paths. As such, CSUN Connections was also designed to interact with these students immediately before their disqualification and afterwards, in order to help them transfer into a community college and set a plan to return to CSUN with an Associate degree.

Scaling Across the Region

CSUN Connections was always designed to be a pilot in the LA region. The LA Compact, which as acted as the backbone of the initiative, works with numerous two- and four-year institutions in the region and across the state and has actively worked with the original collaborative partners to document the project processes, in order to replicate it among other campuses. Throughout the course of the CSUN Connections’ existence, the partners have shared these processes and findings with other campuses in order to support their own reverse transfer goals. In as such, UNITE-LA, CSUN, and LACCD are working to expand the partnership to other campuses and subsequently extend benefits that have been mutually agreed upon to those other causes, in effort to support more students.