SHARE

Data show key role for community colleges in 4-year degree production

The Community College Pipeline
September 10, 2012

The notion that community colleges are key to putting students on a path to a four-year degree is not a new one; large numbers of Americans begin their postsecondary studies at two-year colleges, and transfer is one of the institutions' traditional functions. But new data from the National Student Clearinghouse show just how prevalent a role two-year institutions play in providing an educational foundation for those who go on to get bachelor's degrees.

The study -- one of a series on student mobility that the clearinghouse has begun producing to capitalize on the unique data it collects as a repository of student-level information from more than 3,000 colleges -- reveals that 45 percent of all students who finished a four-year degree in 2010-11 had previously enrolled at a two-year college.

Of those students, 24 percent had been enrolled at the two-year institution for just one term, 16 percent for two terms, and 19 percent for three or four terms. But a full 12 percent were enrolled for at least 10 terms, suggesting that even students who spend a significant length of time at a community college might eventually go on to a four-year college.



The data also show that while some of those students take their time finishing degrees upon transferring to four-year institutions, more than half of them earn their bachelor's degrees within three years. Of the 45 percent of four-year-degree completers in 2010-11 who had studied at a community college, 16 percent earned their bachelor's degree within one year of enrolling at the four-year institution, and 36 percent had earned a degree within three years of enrolling. (Twenty-four percent earned degrees within 4 or 5 years, 11 percent within 6 or 7 years, and 7 percent in 10 or more years.)





There is large variation among states in the rates at which four-year-degree holders had prepared at least in part at community colleges. As seen in the table below, one-time community college students made up more than half of the four-year-degree recipients in 13 states -- and more than three-quarters of such students in Texas.

Percentage of Four-Year-Degree Recipients With Community College Backgrounds, by State

State 2010-11 Degree Completers
at 4-Year Institutions
Degree Completers
at 4-Year Institutions Who Previously Enrolled at 2-Year Institutions
% of Degree Completers at 4-Year Institutions Who Previously Enrolled
at 2-Year Institutions
Texas 148,980 116,776 78%
Wyoming 2,404 1,709 71%
California 237,780 154,717 65%
Kansas 22,458 14,651 65%
Oregon 26,870 16,604 62%
Mississippi 18,637 11,213 60%
Oklahoma 26,215 15,164 58%
Nebraska 19,343 11,034 57%
Iowa 27,090 15,281 56%
Missouri 62,119 34,870 56%
Florida 112,371 61,644 55%
Illinois 109,734 59,138 54%
Arizona 142,973 73,869 52%
Alabama 37,631 18,158 48%
Arkansas 19,353 9,115 47%
New Mexico 10,459 4,888 47%
Tennessee 40,736 18,410 45%
Virginia 69,969 31,239 45%
South Carolina 30,628 13,401 44%
Kentucky 30,882 13,355 43%
Utah 36,533 15,618 43%
Colorado 34,471 14,577 42%
Michigan 85,222 35,902 42%
Washington 48,058 19,973 42%
Maryland 39,733 15,949 40%
Nevada 11,628 4,644 40%
Hawaii 6,937 2,727 39%
North Carolina 65,366 25,457 39%
Minnesota 57,016 21,501 38%
New Jersey 52,003 19,750 38%
Louisiana 30,520 10,557 35%
Wisconsin 45,871 16,207 35%
Indiana 69,144 23,620 34%
North Dakota 8,253 2,807 34%
New York 202,842 67,883 33%
Idaho 12,962 3,991 31%
Ohio 93,543 28,893 31%
West Virginia 14,677 4,593 31%
Montana 6,369 1,887 30%
Pennsylvania 126,093 37,375 30%
Vermont 9,143 2,754 30%
Connecticut 27,392 7,894 29%
Georgia 57,717 17,002 29%
District of Columbia 23,853 6,608 28%
Rhode Island 16,645 4,608 28%
South Dakota 6,834 1,699 25%
Massachusetts 83,975 19,215 23%
Maine 9,460 2,191 23%
Delaware 8,844 1,935 22%
New Hampshire 14,127 3,041 22%
Alaska 3,733 718 19%
Totals 2,505,596 1,136,812 45%

 

 

 

Please review our commenting policy here.

Most:

  • Viewed
  • Commented
  • Past:
  • Day
  • Week
  • Month
  • Year
Loading results...
Back to Top