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ERIC Number: EJ1121671
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Jan
Pages: 30
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0091-5521
The Community College Penalty? Examining the Bachelor's Completion Rates of Community College Transfer Students as a Function of Time
Lichtenberger, Eric; Dietrich, Cecile
Community College Review, v45 n1 p3-32 Jan 2017
Objective: Recent studies have shown that community college transfer students are just as likely to graduate with a bachelor's degree as students who directly enroll in a 4-year institution. However, these studies do not typically examine whether there is a penalty for community college students in terms of the length of time it takes to complete a bachelor's degree. In this study, we seek to determine whether there are differences between community college transfer students and direct 4-year college entrants regarding the likelihood of bachelor's degree completion as a function of time. Method: Propensity score matching with a posttreatment adjustment was used to create observationally equivalent groups of community college transfer students and rising 4-year college juniors. Propensity scores were calculated using a multilevel model with students nested within high schools to account for pretreatment contextual differences. Descriptive survival analysis was applied to ascertain whether differences existed in the cumulative rate of bachelor's degree completion throughout a 7-year tracking period. Results: Several significant prematch differences between the two groups--community college transfers and 4-year college juniors--were established. It was then demonstrated how the matching process created adequate balance between the two groups on all observed covariates. Although community college students experienced an initial penalty with respect to degree completion until 125% of normal time, the penalty was no longer evident 6 years after initial enrollment in college. Contributions: Given this finding, we discuss the need for policies that help community college transfer students achieve timely bachelor's degree completion.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Two Year Colleges; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Illinois
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A