Title 5 Regulations Governing Catalog Rights

Resolution Number
Assigned to
Transfer, Articulation, and Student Services Committee
Consultation with the Chancellor's Office
Assigned to: 1st Resolved: TASSC
2nd Resolved: 5C Co-chair

Whereas, California community college district catalog rights are governed by contract law, as stated in Chancellor’s Office Legal Opinion 09-04, which states that “(c)atalog rights are based in contract law and students can enforce the catalog rights only against the original college. . .   [and] colleges are authorized to grant additional rights to students on a permissive basis,” [1] thus permitting the establishment of district-based catalog rights policies and procedures not subject to any standards established in regulations approved by the California Community Colleges Board of Governors;

Whereas, Catalog rights are intended to protect students from changes in program requirements by affording them the ability to complete such requirements based on any catalog in force while they are in attendance at a college, yet the current lack of statewide regulations governing the existing catalog rights policies and procedures established by California community college districts results in the inconsistent, and potentially inequitable, application of catalog rights for students who attend colleges between districts and who are likely not aware that inconsistencies in catalog rights policies and procedures may delay or prevent them from completing their educational goals in a timely manner; and

Whereas, The California State University (CSU) Board of Trustees has long established through California Code of Regulations, title 5, §40401- which was last amended December 4, 1984- uniform catalog rights requirements for the entire CSU system that are applicable to any “undergraduate student remaining in attendance in regular sessions at any California State University campus, at any California community college, or any combination of California community colleges and campuses of The California State University” [2];

Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges assert that uniform statewide standards for catalog rights that remove unnecessary barriers to students seeking to complete their educational goals are essential for improving student success and ensuring equitable outcomes for students; and

Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges work with the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office and appropriate system partners to research possible alternatives for crafting California Code of Regulations, title 5 language that establishes minimum requirements for catalog rights for all California community colleges, removing unnecessary and inequitable barriers to completion for all California community college students, and report their findings and recommendations at the 2023 Spring Plenary Session.


[1] Chancellor’s Office Legal Opinion 09-04 can be found at https://www.cccco.edu/-/media/CCCCO-Website/Files/General-Counsel/2009-04-opinion-application-of-catalog-rights-to-new-degree-requirments-a11y.pdf?la=en&hash=5F9E0ACB70E3D0779F8688E6811F871CAB957585.
[2] California Code of Regulations, title 5, §40401 https://govt.westlaw.com/calregs/Document/I56AABD734C6911EC93A8000D3A7C4BC3?viewType=FullText&originationContext=documenttoc&transitionType=CategoryPageItem&contextData=(sc.Default).