SELECTIVE COLLEGES AND universities tend to overlook students seeking to transfer from community college, despite those students graduating at higher rates than other students, a new report shows.
Notably, nearly half – 49 percent – of all students enrolled in four-year colleges and universities begin at a two-year schools. But the report finds that selective schools are less likely to enroll community college students than other institutions. In fact, when it comes to the 100 most selective colleges, 14 percent of students transfer in, but only 5 percent have transferred from a community college.
Community college students who transfer to selective colleges and universities, the study found, have equal to or higher graduation rates as students who enrolled directly from high school or those who transferred from other four-year schools. They also graduate in a reasonable amount of time, earning their degrees within two and a half years, on average.
Most first-time college students enroll in certificate or associate degree programs, indicating that the role of America’s more than 1,000 community colleges is more critical than ever. By offering students an affordable education and training close to home, community colleges may be the only option for some students who are raising children, working, in need of remedial classes, or can only take classes part-time. They are also uniquely positioned to partner with employers to create tailored training programs to meet economic needs within their communities.
That’s why the President proposed the America’s College Promise plan to make two years of community college free for responsible students, letting them earn the first half of a bachelor’s degree or earn skills needed in the workforce at no cost. Inspired by programs in Tennessee and Chicago, America’s College Promise would create a new partnership with states, and would require everyone to do their part: community colleges must strengthen their programs and increase the number of students who graduate, states must invest more in higher education and training, and students must take responsibility for their education, earn good grades, and stay on track to graduate. Today, the Administration is announcing a new plan to cut taxes on businesses willing to work with community colleges to create or expand quality programs in in-demand fields.
When someone says, “I want to go to college,” a traditional four-year college or university often comes to mind.
Many don’t think of community colleges as an option, even though they are the single largest sector of the U.S. higher education system, enrolling nearly half of all undergraduates each year.
Community colleges provide opportunity and access to millions of students, helping them prepare for a degree at a four-year institution, obtain an associate’s degree, or retrain and retool for the 21st century global economy.