Community College Transfer Student Pathways in Virginia

Ericson, Matthew, Education - Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Roksa, Josipa

While the association between college selectivity and graduation outcomes is well understood in the context of students who begin their postsecondary studies at four-year institutions, little is known about this relationship for community college transfer students. Using data from the Virginia Longitudinal Data System, three issues around this important topic are examined. The first issue pertains to community college transfer student enrollment patterns (in terms of the selectivity of the four-year transfer destination) and graduation outcomes (bachelor’s degree completion, bachelor’s degree completion in 6 years, and time-to-degree among bachelor’s degree holders). Acknowledging the important role that geography plays in the college-choice and completion process, the second issue concerns how transfer patterns and graduation outcomes differ between students from rural and suburban communities in Virginia. The third issue relates to the extent to which Guaranteed Admissions Agreements (GAAs) induce students to attend more selective colleges and the causal effect of these enrollment decisions on graduation outcomes. Overall, descriptive evidence suggests that attending a more selective college significantly improves graduation outcomes for community college transfer students; however, the causal evidence is less conclusive.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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