I went my first two years at Fresno State, then went on to Juilliard. I couldn't go straight out of the gate because I couldn't get in at the time and couldn't have afforded it if I did. Transferring is a completely different set of criteria, because you have proven what you can do and can show progress, rather than being unproven. Drum corps is no different.
The reality is that the majority of kids that audition and get cut from top corps don't end up ever marching anywhere at all. Loads of kids audition for their ideal corps.... and it is either there or nothing. This is the mentality of kids.
Would you have paid the same amount for CC as for a UC college? (Did the CC/state school route myself). What I heard wasn't ego but the "for what I'd pay it isn't worht it" (see above post).