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Strengthening Transfer Paths to a Bachelor’s Degree: Identifying Effective Two-Year to Four-Year College Partnerships

By: Di Xu, Xiaotao Ran, John Fink, Davis Jenkins & Afet Dundar

Abstract

While the academic preparation of students for vertical transfer from two- to four-year colleges has traditionally been viewed as the major responsibility of the home institutions, there is a growing consensus that the receiving institutions play a critical role in facilitating the transfer process and in supporting students’ academic success after transfer. The goal of improving transfer outcomes cannot be fully achieved until colleges nationwide are provided with commonly accepted metrics and methods for measuring the effectiveness of transfer partnerships.

Using the individual term-by-term college enrollment records from the National Student Clearinghouse for the entire 2007 fall cohort of first-time-in-college community college students nationwide, this paper introduces a two-stage, input-adjusted, value-added analytic framework for identifying partnerships of two- and four-year institutions that are more effective than expected in enabling community college students to transfer to a four-year institution and earn a bachelor’s degree in a timely fashion. In doing so, the authors provide a description of transfer patterns nationwide, broken out by key institutional characteristics. Recommendations and cautions for using this framework to evaluate and benchmark institutional performance in terms of supporting the academic success of vertical transfer students for baccalaureate attainment are also discussed.

Associated Project(s):

Tackling Transfer