New Report Examines the Relationship between Earning an Associate Degree Prior to Transfer and Bachelor’s Degree Completion for Recent High School Graduates

Distinguished Panel of Researchers and Education Leaders to Present Report Findings at the American Council on Education’s 100th Annual Meeting

ARLINGTON, VA – MARCH 12, 2018 – The American Council on Education’s (ACE) Center for Policy Research and Strategy (CPRS), with support from Hobsons, the leader in education technology, today announced the release of a report that examines the impact of earning an associate degree prior to transfer on the probability of earning a bachelor’s degree.

The new report, The Impact of Earning an Associate Degree Prior to Transfer on Bachelor’s Degree Completion: A Look at Recent High School Graduates, revealed that earning a strong GPA while enrolled in community college and the control and selectivity of the four-year institutions students transferred to were among the strongest predictors of bachelor’s degree attainment. Earning an associate degree prior to transfer neither increased nor decreased the likelihood transfer students would complete a bachelor’s degree.

“Recent studies have estimated that roughly four out of five community college students say they plan to earn a bachelor’s degree, yet only one in 10 do within six years of entering college,” said Jonathan Turk, Senior Policy Research Analyst at CPRS. “This research aims to provide some additional insights into the factors that increase the likelihood of bachelor’s degree attainment for beginning community college students.”

Turk will present findings from this and prior studies during a panel presentation at ACE2018, ACE’s 100th Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. on Monday, March 12 at 2:30 p.m. The session, titled Strengthening Transfer Pathways to Improve Student Success, features a distinguished panel of researchers and higher education leaders who will discuss barriers facing transfer students and offer best practices to remove those barriers.

Panelists include:

  • John Fink, Research Associate, Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University
  • Lexa Logue, Research Professor, The Graduate Center of the City University of New York
  • Christopher M. Mullin, Director, Strong Start to Finish
  • Jonathan M. Turk, Senior Policy Research Analyst, ACE

ACE’s Center for Policy Research and Strategy (CPRS) provides thought leadership at the intersection of public policy and institutional strategy. The research brief is the third installment in a four-part series examining the educational journeys of high school graduates who enroll in community college directly after high school. The research project analyzes data from the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS), a nationally representative study of students who began 10th grade in 2002 and were tracked over a 10-year period.

“Working with the American Council of Education has been an exciting process. We are eager to share this research with others in the high education community, as it offers many insights into an under-researched area of success at community colleges,” said Howard Bell, Hobsons Senior Vice President and General Manager of Starfish.

To download the full report, visit here.


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