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Causal-Comparative Study of Two-year to Four-year Bachelor Degree Attainment of Joint Admission Students at a Flagship University

Peg Ferguson Boyd, Johnson & Wales University


Approximately 80% of students attending community colleges intend to earn a bachelor’s degree; however, only 17% attain the goal (Horn & Skomsvold, 2011). The Complete College America (2011) initiative signaled a paradigm shift from access to higher education to public policy defining success as completion, graduation, and transfer. Despite efforts made, community colleges are falling short of reaching their two-year to four-year college completion goals (Monaghan & Atwell, 2015). Attention to transfer students and their role in the college completion agenda has become a focus of recent research. There is, however, minimal understanding of transfer admission pathways such as Joint Admission programs and their relationship to degree completion. ^ This non-experimental causal-comparative ex-post facto study investigated the relationship between a Joint Admission Agreement (JAA) program and two-year to four-year degree completion and time to degree completion, and was guided by these research questions: 1. Is there a relationship between JAA student participation and bachelor degree completion? ^ 2. Is there a difference in bachelor degree time-to-completion between JAA and non-JAA transfer students? ^ 3. To what extent and in what manner is variation in bachelor degree completion rates explained by four-year GPA, total number of transfer credits, degree type, Pell and demographics on JAA and non-JAA? Ex-post facto data of JAA and non-JAA transfers (n = 846) who earned an associate’s degree and transferred to a state flagship institution from 2011 to 2015 were collected and analyzed using SPSS software. A t-test analysis indicated participation in JAA (n = 121) showed a positive, significant relationship to four-year degree completion, t = 5.038, p = .001, M = .70 compared with non-JAA M = .47. A t-test analyses showed JAA t = 4.28, p = .001, M = 2.12 had .33 of a year faster rate of time-to-completion over non-JAA, M = 2.45. Results of ANOVA analysis showed demographics has no effect on time-to-degree completion. ^ This study filled a gap in the literature in finding a positive relationship between JAA participation and both four-year degree completion and time to completion. The results may suggest consideration of both system and institutional policy initiatives to promote and encourage JAA participation.^

Subject Area

Community college education|Education policy|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Boyd, Peg Ferguson, "Causal-Comparative Study of Two-year to Four-year Bachelor Degree Attainment of Joint Admission Students at a Flagship University" (2018). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI10793714.