Ahead of Higher Ed: Lost in transfer
Students who begin their college careers in community colleges are less likely to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in four years because of credits lost in the transfer process, according to a new study by the American Education Research Association.
The study followed a “nationally representative” selection of 13,000 first-time-in-college students who started college in 2004 at community colleges or four-year institutions, according to Inside Higher Ed, and they were interviewed six years later. Their transcripts were also taken into consideration.
“About 14 percent of transfer students in the study essentially began anew after transferring,” according to the paper, titled The Community College Route to the Bachelor’s Degree. “Their new institution accepted fewer than 10 percent of their community college credits.”
The paper, which was published Wednesday in the journal Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, noted that 28 percent of transfer students lose between 10 and 89 percent of their credits.
In fact, the study found that of the students who completed two years at a community college, or 60 credit hours, and expressed their interests in completing their bachelor’s degrees, only 60 percent successfully transferred to a four-year university. The reasons for the transfer failures were not able to be determined by the authors and researchers.
Shining a positive light on the community college experience, the results showed that transfer students had similar completion rates to the students who started at four-year institutions. This means that the education received at the community-college level adequately prepared the students for the four-year universities.