Teachers College, Columbia University

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 31% of community college students who started in fall 2014 actually transferred to a four-year institution within six years. Among community college students who transferred to a four-year college, 75% transferred to public institutions, 19% to private nonprofit institutions, and 6% to for-profit institutions.

Of the 31% of first-time, degree-seeking community college students who transferred to four-year colleges, 47% completed a bachelor’s degree within six years. In other words, 15% of the entire 2014 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, 46% completed a bachelor’s within six years of starting at a community college. Of students who transferred to private nonprofit four-year institutions, 33% completed a bachelor’s within six years. Of students who transferred to private for-profit four-year institutions, 9% completed a bachelor’s within six years. 

Lower income transfer students (40%) were less likely to earn a bachelor's degree within six years than higher income students (54%).

Forty-two 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. Among students who earned bachelor's degrees in 2018-19, 22% had already earned an associate degree.

CCRC data viz

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

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