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Degree Completion among Transfer Students from Community Colleges to a Baccalaureate Degree-Granting Public Institution in the Northeast
Most recently, overall national baccalaureate degree completion rates were reported at 58.3% compared to 15.8% for transfer students who began their postsecondary enrollment at 2-year public institutions (Shapiro, Dundar, Huie, Wakhungu, Bhimdiwala, & Wilson, 2018). While several researchers have noted the numerous challenges and barriers transfer students face, inhibiting successful degree completion (Gard, Paton, & Gosselin, 2012; LaSota & Zumeta, 2016; Monaghan & Attewell, 2015), more research focused on transfer students has been conducted on upward transfer compared with successful baccalaureate degree completion. Conversely, minimal research has investigated factors that influence successful degree completion for transfer students from 2-year to 4-year public institutions following transfer. The purpose of this quantitative causal comparative study was to examine the relationships between degree completion and demographic variables, GPA following second semester, sending institutions, academic major, and statewide transfer pathway participation among transfer students from community colleges to a 4-year public institution in the Northeast. Four research questions were constructed to investigate whether differences in baccalaureate degree completion rates exist between community college transfer students who participate in a statewide transfer pathway program and those who do not. Research questions were also posed to determine whether differences in time to degree completion exist between sending institutions and academic major type. Ex post facto data from students who transferred from a community college between Fall 2014 and Spring 2017 were included in the data analyses. Data were analyzed utilizing descriptive statistics, t-tests, chi-square analyses, and one-way ANOVAs. Results indicated that transfer pathway participants earned baccalaureate degrees at significantly lower but faster rates, and a higher percentage who had not yet earned a degree remained enrolled and a lower percentage withdrew. Students who chose to major in the social sciences or health were more likely to earn a baccalaureate degree and earned them at faster rates. Findings depict positive returns on investment in response to policy reform efforts and institutional practices, although more work may be warranted on behalf of policymakers and institutional leaders to minimize credit loss for a subset of transfer students who participate in transfer pathways and/or major in particular areas of study.
Higher education|Education Policy|Educational leadership
Trudell, Tanya, "Degree Completion among Transfer Students from Community Colleges to a Baccalaureate Degree-Granting Public Institution in the Northeast" (2020). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI28721333.