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Transfer to Four-Year Colleges

Transfer to Four-Year Colleges

While about 80% of entering community college students indicate they want to earn a bachelor's degree or higher, only 30% of community college students who started in fall 2012 actually transferred to a four-year institution within six years. Among community college students who transferred to a four-year college, 74% transferred to public institutions, 19% to private nonprofit institutions, and 7% to for-profit institutions.

Of the 30% of first-time, degree-seeking community college students who transferred to four-year colleges, 44% completed a bachelor’s degree within six years. In other words, 13% of the entire 2012 cohort of entering community college students earned a bachelor's degree within six years.

Bachelor’s completion varies by type of four-year institution. Of students who transferred to four-year public institutions, 43% completed a bachelor’s within six years of starting at a community college. Of students who transferred to private nonprofit four-year institutions, 31% completed a bachelor’s within six years. Of students who transferred to private for-profit four-year institutions, 7% completed a bachelor’s within six years. Additionally, among students who transferred to very selective four-year institutions, 53% completed a bachelor’s degree within six years. Of transfers to moderately selective and nonselective four-year institutions, 41% and 23% completed bachelor’s degrees within six years of starting at a community college.

Transfer students who enrolled full-time were significantly more likely to attain a bachelor’s degree within six years of starting college (62%) than students who switched between full- and part-time enrollment (40%) and students who enrolled exclusively part-time (6%).

Lower income transfer students (37%) were less likely to earn a bachelor's degree within six years than higher income students (51%).

Thirty-nine percent of first-time, degree-seeking community college students who successfully transfer to four-year colleges do so after first earning an associate degree or certificate.

CCRC data viz

CCRC's data visualizations offer an interactive way to explore trends in community college outcomes.

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CAPSEE's By the Numbers Series

by-the-numbers

Visit CAPSEE's website for a graphical introduction to for-profit colleges, financial aid, and college graduate earnings.