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ERIC Number: ED566399
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Jun
Pages: 37
Abstractor: As Provided
Do Students Benefit from Going Backward? The Academic and Labor Market Consequences of Four- to Two-Year College Transfer: A CAPSEE Working Paper
Liu, Vivian Yuen Ting
Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment
Facilitating student transfer from two-year to four-year institutions has been a focus of research and policy in recent years. Much less attention has been given to the phenomenon of four-year to two-year (4-2) college transfer. About 16 percent of students who begin in a four-year college transfer to a two-year college within six years. Using public higher education data from one small state and using distance to the closest two-year college as an instrumental variable, this paper examines the effects of 4-2 transfer on "struggling" students, those who earned less than a 3.0 grade point average in the first term. Results indicate that these 4-2 transfer students are more likely than similar non-transfer students to attain two-year college credentials (including associate degrees and long- and short-term certificates); the gain is concentrated in women who tend to enroll in health-related programs. What is more, struggling students who transfer to two-year colleges are no less likely than struggling non-transfer students to earn a bachelor's degree. Early employment outcomes also indicate that the labor market does not penalize 4-2 transfer behavior. Falsification tests show strong first stage results and no correlation between distance and socioeconomic indicators, which supports the use of distance as an instrumental variable for 4-2 transfer status. The findings indicate that 4-2 transfer can improve college completion for students struggling in four-year institutions.
Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment. Teachers College, Columbia University, 525 West 120th Street Box 174, New York, NY 10027. Tel: 212.678.3091; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Two Year Colleges; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Institute of Education Sciences (ED)
Authoring Institution: Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment (CAPSEE)
IES Funded: Yes
Grant or Contract Numbers: R305C110011