- Only 31.5% of students who first enrolled at a community college in the fall of 2010 had transferred to a four-year institution after six years had passed, according to an update of a previous report released by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center on outcome percentages for students who transfer; 42% of those transferring students had earned a bachelor's degree six years after starting at the community college.
- The report found community colleges in suburban areas had a slightly higher level of students transferring to baccalaureate institutions than those in cities and rural areas, and community colleges which tended to service wealthier students also had higher rates of transfers. Women were also slightly more likely to transfer out and earn a bachelor's degree than male students.
- Primarily occupational community colleges see higher baccalaureate rates than their primarily academic counterparts, with 35.8% of students at the former and 32% of students at the latter transferring to a four-year institution with some type of credentialing, whether it was a sort of certificate or an associate degree.
Institutions and states often create incentives, whether purposefully or inadvertently, to try and entice students to attend school full-time. Though it is more likely that students will graduate with a degree if they attend full-time, some moves on the part of institutions and states can have a negative impact on part-time students, particularly if they are seeking financial assistance, according to a recent report by the Education Commission of the States.
The report also points to the need for four-year higher ed institutions to continue to build relationships and strategies to find suitable recruits in community colleges, particularly for liberal arts universities seeking to boost the percentage of non-traditional students in their ranks. In a recent Education Dive interview, Sidonia M. Dalby, the associate director for admissions at Smith College, said she felt many institutions did not pay enough attention to recruiting at community colleges, but she felt that it was vital for Smith. She is an advisor for the Ada Comstock Scholar Program, which focuses on non-traditional students and adult learners, and she said it was important for four-year institutions to commit to working with community colleges.
"Almost half of students in the U.S. are going to community college, and many of them are working, and one of the nice things about Smith is we have the funding to help students not have to work two or three jobs,” she said. "I think a lot of places don't know about the community colleges."