As college costs continue to increase, community colleges are seeing a rise in the number of upper-middle class students enrolling to save money on their way to a four-year degree.
“This is about social norms,” Sara Goldrick-Rab, a professor of higher education policy and sociology at Temple University (PA), told The New York Times. “More middle-class parents are saying, I’m not succumbing to the idea that the only acceptable education is an expensive one.”
When students transfer, colleges are looking at more than just credit totals. Performance also matters, which is why Stanly Community College (NC) has eliminated D grades.
For course credits to transfer, many four-year colleges require students to have earned at least a C. So even through students with a D grade have technically passed the class, they didn’t perform well enough to have another institution recognize their learning. And in many cases, the low mark also prevents students from meeting the prerequisites needed to take more advanced courses within the same subject.
The Common Application has launched a new application for transfer students, helping meet a growing need for this student population.
More than one-third of all students switch schools sometime during their college career and more than two-thirds of US colleges view transfer students as considerably important in meeting enrollment goals, according to NACAC’s State of College Admission report.
The new Common App for transfer will allow transfer students to provide information about their qualifications for admission in a more targeted and tailored way. For example, it includes a prerequisite coursework feature, allowing applicants can select courses they completed that apply toward prerequisite requirements for particular academic programs.
Nearly one out of every five students who earned a master’s degree last year initially entered higher education through a community college, according to data released this month by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.
In addition, 11 percent of graduates from doctoral-research programs started out at a two-year school.
The celebration is organized by the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students, with support from the New England Transfer Association and the New York State Transfer and Articulation Association.
The bachelor’s degree pipeline is growing stronger for community college graduates.
A new report by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center found that of community college graduates who hold no previous degrees or certificates, 41 percent earn a bachelor’s degree within the next six years.
Nine percent of all international students in the US, or 95,000, were enrolled at community colleges in 2015-16, according to the Institute of International Education’s Open Doors report.
National data on the proportion of international students that start at community colleges upon initial entry to the US, versus those who start at a four-year college and then transfer to a community college, is currently unavailable. However, it’s clear from preliminary research that similar to domestic transfer students, international students reverse transfer from four-year colleges to community colleges, concurrently enroll in both, and swirl back and forth between the two.
Community colleges are an integral facet of the US higher education system. Serving nearly 6.3 million students, these public, two-year institutions offer a variety of courses and degree programs at a third of the price charged by four-year colleges. Because most community colleges have transfer agreements with baccalaureate-granting institutions, many students who seek a bachelor’s degree initially matriculate at a community college to take advantage of its cost-saving benefits. In fact, data from the National Student Clearinghouse show that 49 percent of students who completed a degree at a four-year university in 2015-16 had previously enrolled in a community college during the last 10 years.
Community colleges have typically established transfer agreements with local and regional institutions. These include “2+2” pathway programs, which guarantee admission for students at the partner four-year college if specific academic requirements are met, and articulation agreements that delineate how specific coursework will transfer between programs.
Results from a recent survey of 140 community colleges conducted by NACAC and Community Colleges for International Development (CCID) indicate a growing number of these colleges are also interested in pursuing transfer partnerships with universities abroad.
Spring is a season of mixed emotions for school counselors. As students come in to share the exciting news of college acceptances and generous scholarships, an equal number of families come in with questions that are harder to answer:
“What more were they looking for?”
“Don’t they know this isn’t enough to cover my needs?”
“Why does college cost so much?”
It turns out this last question has a pretty clear answer—it’s complicated, but it’s clear.
“It doesn’t have to cost this much, if you start at a community college and transfer.”