Do Community Colleges Provide a Viable Pathway to a Baccalaureate Degree?


Long, Bridget Terry, and Michal Kurlaender. 2009. “Do Community Colleges Provide a Viable Pathway to a Baccalaureate Degree?” Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 31: 30-53.


Community colleges have become an important entryway for students intending to complete baccalaureate degrees. However, many question the viability of the transfer function and wonder whether students suffer a penalty for starting at 2-year institutions. The authors examined how the outcomes of community college entrants compared with those of similar students who initially entered 4-year institutions within the Ohio public higher education system. Using a detailed data set, the authors tracked outcomes for 9 years and used multiple strategies to deal with selection issues: propensity score matching and instrumental variables. The results suggest that straightforward estimates are significantly biased, but even after accounting for selection, students who initially began at community colleges were 14.5% less likely to complete bachelor's degrees within 9 years. (Contains 22 notes, 9 tables, and 1 figure.)

Last updated on 10/26/2017