Teachers College, Columbia University

Charting Pathways to Completion for Low-Income Community College Students

By Davis Jenkins & Madeline Joy Trimble

This paper uses administrative data from Washington State to chart the educational pathways of first-time community college students over seven years, with a focus on young, socioeconomically disadvantaged students.

Of particular interest are the rates at which students enter a program of study or concentration (by passing multiple college-level courses within a focused field of study), the amount of remediation taken by students in each concentration, and the rates at which students in different concentrations earn certificates or associate degrees or transfer to four-year institutions.

The paper identifies patterns of progression among students with low socioeconomic status and makes recommendations for practitioners and policymakers.