U.S. Department of Education examines transfer student success

The U.S. Department of Education has introduced new measures to evaluate the performance of the postsecondary education system concerning students transferring from community colleges to four-year degree programs.

The initiative aims to address the challenge of low transfer and degree completion rates, with only 16% of community college students earning bachelor’s degrees within six years. The Department’s resource guide emphasizes strategies for improving the transfer system and completion rates, particularly significant as over half of students of color and low-income students begin their higher education journey in the two-year sector. The blog utilizes data from the National Student Loan Data System to analyze the performance of the postsecondary education system, highlighting state and institution-level findings to inform state transfer policies and practices.

The analysis reveals that 13% of Title IV students starting at community colleges ultimately earn bachelor’s degrees within eight years, with notable variation across states. The study emphasizes the pivotal role of both two-year and four-year institutions in determining overall state transfer performance, underscoring the importance of effective partnerships between them. The blog introduces metrics such as the “transfer-out rate” and “transfers’ bachelor’s completion rate” to assess the success of community colleges and four-year institutions. It also explores the significance of institutional dyads, pairs of community colleges and four-year institutions, in influencing overall state transfer performance, recognizing the impact of successful partnerships on efficient student transfers.

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