Community College Transfers, Engagement, and Bachelor's Degree Completion

Abstract

Community colleges provide affordable options for students beginning higher education. However, there are concerns about the rate of community college students who do not complete bachelor’s degrees. Previous research studies have found that student engagement on campus at four-year institutions can improve student retention. The purpose of this research was to determine if there is a mediating effect from community college transfer students engaging with on-campus educational activities on improving the likelihood that they will graduate with a bachelor’s degree. This research utilizes data from the 2002 Educational Longitudinal Study and includes a structural equation model using maximum likelihood estimation. The results indicate starting at a community college has no effect on completing a bachelor’s degree, though socio-economic characteristics and grades can negatively affect the likelihood of degree completion. Overall, when institutions assist community college transfer students with support services and opportunities, they can help strengthen student retention.

Author Biography

Samuel J. Grubbs, South Carolina Commission on Higher Education
Academic Program Manager, Department of Academic Affairs
Published
2020-02-26
Section
Research Articles