Pierce Graduation Office still behind on certificates

Pierce Graduation Office still behind on certificates

It is a satisfying feeling to finish a degree or certificate and move on to the next aspect of your life. 

But last summer, students were delayed in getting necessary documents to transfer. 

This issue has caused concern among students, as many of them are trapped in limbo until the applications have been looked over and approved. 

Student Hannah Hotchkiss says that she is starting to feel the pressure of not having the documents she needs.

“I’m freaking out,” Hotchkiss said. “UCLA is emailing me saying they can’t advance my enrollment without my official transcript being sent there, and I ordered it maybe a month and a half ago from today. Probably actually longer than that.”

According to Pierce College Registrar Lorena Lopez, the delay is in part due to COVID-19, combined with three members of the review staff leaving since February.

Lopez added that the departures leave only two people left to do the work.

“In reality I have 1.5 evaluators,” Lopez said, referring to herself and one union member who can dedicate 40 percent of their time to union duties. 

Interim Vice-President of Student Affairs Donna-Mae Villanueva said that many students are reaching out about not receiving their documents. 

“Students email me because they’re frustrated about the fact that they have not yet received their transcripts,” Villanueva said. “So because they don’t know the process and who to reach out to, they are looking for a VP. That would be me.” 

Despite these obstacles, Transfer Center Director Sunday Salter said that she thinks things are moving in the right direction.

“The Vice President has got it pushed through that we are going to replace the evaluators who left so at least we’ll have a full staff again this year so that’s good,” Salter said.

Salter added that although bringing in a new staff is good, she only sees it as the first step.

“Step two is I went ahead and reached out to the University of California Office of the President to ask if they could do a data share with us.”

This data transfer would allow Pierce to know which students got into what UC schools, as well as which students attended which schools. 

“They do a data share where they’ll share back with us in January and say okay, all these students apply from Pierce College to all of these UCs and these majors,” Salter said. “But what they don’t do is a second data share to tell us who got in.” 

Salter took the initiative of sending an email to start the process to not just get the records of who has applied, but also who got in. According to Salter, knowing who got into what school gives the transfer center a roadmap to which transcripts need to be done first according to either the semester or quarter system. 

Interim President Ara Aguiar said extra time has been taken to bring in the new hires, as well as more investment in the current staff being able to accomplish their goals.

“We have provided overtime to expedite the process,” Aguiar said. “We are making sure we are asking other individuals. In other words, expand the amount of people.”