Teachers College, Columbia University

Building Transfer Student Success at Macomb Community College: A Report on Transfer and Degree Completion

Beginning at a local two-year college and then transferring to a four-year institution has been one of the most affordable ways for students to earn a bachelor’s degree. Yet transfer pathways from two- to four-year institutions are often complex and confusing, and too many students who begin at a community college and aspire to earn a bachelor’s degree fail to do so. Macomb Community College has taken a number of significant steps to address this issue. Macomb has developed over 200 transfer plans with partner institutions to facilitate transfer and to improve success rates for transfer students. It has partnered with its most popular transfer destinations to form the University Partners Advisory Council (U-PAC) to study and improve transfer pathways for students who begin their studies at Macomb and want to eventually earn a bachelor’s degree.

Through an analysis of student data, this report provides information on the outcomes of students who attended Macomb during or after 2003 and who transferred to U-PAC institutions between fall 2007 and spring 2009. Outcomes are tracked through June 2017. The study examines the rate at which students earn bachelor’s degrees, for U-PAC colleges as a group and in some cases for each individual de-identified U-PAC member. It also examines excess credit accumulation, that is, whether transfer students earn more credits than are necessary for a degree. The excess credit analysis is based on a smaller sample of students for which linked transcript data from both Macomb and the U-PAC colleges were available. The conclusion of the report makes suggestions for reforms in policies and practices that have the potential to improve transfer outcomes for Macomb students.