Community College to a Bachelor’s Degree: Closing the Gap


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Community College to a Bachelor’s Degree: Closing the Gap

Although most students enroll in community college with the goal of transferring to a college and earning a bachelor’s degree, only one in seven succeeds within a six-year window.  Compare this to the roughly two thirds of students who earn a degree if they start their college careers at a four-year public institution. 

These are among the findings in Tracking Transfer, New Measures of Institutional and State Effectiveness in Helping Community College Students Attain Bachelor’s Degrees, a report from the Community College Research Center (CCRC), The Aspen Institute, and the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, with support from Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Helmsley Charitable Trust. Its analysis of national data shows that some states are far more effective than others in assisting transfer students, and the biggest variables are support programs and collaboration among colleges.

Tracking Transfer is the first phase in a major initiative to tackle low transfer rates and to provide colleges with the tools they need to improve. For example, the report recommends a comprehensive set of five measures as a new way of tracking which institutions are effective in serving transfer students and which states have a robust transfer pipeline.  Download a free copy of the report. 

Special recognition goes to the top five states in the attainment of bachelor’s degrees: Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Texas.  States showing success in reducing the gap between low-income transfer students and their higher-income peers include Florida, Iowa, North Dakota, and New Hampshire. The research was covered by numerous media outlets including

Community College Daily, The Hechinger Report, and NPR’s The Takeaway.