Does the current transfer system hinder student progress?

Report ranks states based on colleges’ performance in helping students transfer to four-year universities and earn bachelor’s degrees

college-transferJust 14 percent of students who begin their higher education in community colleges transfer to four-year institutions and earn a bachelor’s degree within six years, according to a new report released on Jan. 19 by the Community College Research Center (CCRC) at Teachers College, Columbia University; the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program; and the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

Even in states with the best track records, only about one in five community college students transfer and graduate within six years of enrolling. In states at the bottom of the list, transfer and graduation rates are in the single digits. Read the full report here.

“Too many students are failed by the current system of transfer between community colleges and universities,” said Davis Jenkins, Senior Research Associate at CCRC. “This report enables us, for the first time, to see in which states colleges are supporting students in this journey so we can figure out what works and enable students everywhere to be successful. Greater success for more students will cut down on the waste in taxpayer money when students drop out or lose credits as they transfer.”

Studies have shown 80 percent of new community college students want to earn a bachelor’s degree. However, only 14 percent of the 720,000 degree-seeking students examined in the study—who enrolled in community college for the first time in fall 2007—transferred to and graduated from a four-year university within six years of entry. Among students who started at community college and successfully transferred, only 42 percent completed a bachelor’s degree. This is far below the 60 percent degree attainment rate of students who started at public four-year colleges.

Next page: Key data from the report

Laura Ascione