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ERIC Number: EJ1050955
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Mar
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 56
ISSN: ISSN-0162-3737
The Community College Route to the Bachelor's Degree
Monaghan, David B.; Attewell, Paul
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, v37 n1 p70-91 Mar 2015
It is well established that students who begin post-secondary education at a community college are less likely to earn a bachelor's degree than otherwise similar undergraduates who begin at a 4-year school, but there is less consensus over the mechanisms generating this disparity. We explore these using national longitudinal transcript data and propensity-score methods. Inferior academic preparation does not seem to be the main culprit: We find few differences between students' academic progress at each type of institution during the first 2 years of college and (contrary to some earlier scholarship) students who do transfer have BA graduation rates equal to similar students who begin at 4-year colleges. However, after 2 years, credit accumulation diverges in the two kinds of institutions, due in part to community college students' greater involvement in employment, and a higher likelihood of stopping out of college, after controlling for their academic performance. Contrary to some earlier claims, we find that a vocational emphasis in community college is not a major factor behind the disparity. One important mechanism is the widespread loss of credits that occurs after undergraduates transfer from a community college to a 4-year institution; the greater the loss, the lower the chances of completing a BA. However, earlier claims that community college students receive lower aid levels after transfer and that transfers disproportionately fail to survive through the senior year are not supported by our analyses.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Two Year Colleges; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study