Each year, millions of students enter community colleges with the goal of transferring to a four-year institution and earning a baccalaureate degree. To improve upward transfer rates, students, practitioners, and policymakers must have a clear understanding of the relationship between upward transfer and key academic, demographic, social, high school, and college characteristics.

In “Improving the Odds: An Empirical Look at the Factors That Influence Upward Transfer,” researchers from ACE’s Center for Policy Research and Strategy empirically explore the relationship between nine key factors and upward transfer for direct from high school enrollees.

Key findings include:

  1. Earning dual enrollment credit more than doubles students’ chances of upward transfer.
  2. Behavioral troubles while in high school negatively impact upward transfer rates.
  3. Delaying enrollment in community college after high school significantly lowers the likelihood of upward transfer.
  4. Declaring a major while enrolled in community college significantly increases the chances of upward transfer.
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