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Tracking Transfer: Community College & 4-Year Institutional Effectiveness in Broadening Bachelor’s Degree Attainment


A bachelor’s degree is increasingly necessary for securing a job that pays a family-supporting wage, yet while most community college students aspire to transfer and complete a bachelor’s degree, too few make it through to this goal: Nearly 80% of community college students want to transfer and earn a bachelor’s degree—yet just 16% do so after six years. .

And because community colleges enroll nearly 40% of undergraduates, including many students from low-income backgrounds and historically underrepresented groups with limited access to a bachelor’s degree, low levels of bachelor’s attainment among community college entrants contribute to disparities in bachelor’s attainment by income and race/ethnicity nationally.

The 2024 edition of Tracking Transfer features two companion reports—one focused on community colleges and the other on four-year institutions—and is a call to action to improve ineffective and inefficient transfer pathways in higher education. Each report offers a state-by-state breakdown of transfer outcomes, as well as recommendations to improve transfer practices and bachelor’s degree attainment rates.

This research was conducted through a partnership between the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program; the Community College Research Center (CCRC) at Teachers College, Columbia University; and the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, with funding from the Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research, College Futures Foundation, ECMC Foundation, and The Kresge Foundation.

TRACKING TRANSFER: Community College Effectiveness in Broadening Bachelor’s Degree Attainment

TRACKING TRANSFER: Four-Year Institutional Effectiveness in Broadening Bachelor’s Degree Attainment

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