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ACE Report Identifies Key Predictors of Upward Transfer for Community College Students

April 19, 2017

Students studying

Register Now for May 18 Webinar Exploring Findings

​As the workforce demand for college degrees continues to increase, understanding how to improve the pipeline between two- and four-year colleges is of paramount importance. New research from ACE’s Center for Policy Research and Strategy (CPRS), with support from Hobsons, illuminates the policies and practices that can ensure students have the best opportunities to achieve their educational goals.

The report, Improving the Odds: An Empirical Look at the Factors That Influence Upward Transfer, analyzes data from the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002, a nationally representative study that tracked students who began 10th grade in 2002 over a 10-year period. It is the first in a series about community college students by ACE and supported by Hobsons.

ACE researchers examined the impact of factors such as dual enrollment, academic performance and testing, financial aid, and campus engagement on successful upward transfer rates for community college students. 

Among the findings, students who participated in dual enrollment programs—on average—were two-and-a-half times more likely to transfer to a four-year institution than students who did not. The analysis also revealed that students who completed Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate courses enjoyed higher upward transfer rates.

In addition, strong academic performance in high school predicted the likelihood of transfer from two- to four-year institutions. Standardized 10th grade reading test scores were found to have a positive influence on the odds of upward transfer.

However, students who reported behavioral problems while in high school were significantly less likely to transfer to a four-year institution than their counterparts who reported no disciplinary issues.

Drawing from the results of the study and previous research, the report also offers resources and several key recommendations to increase students’ likelihood of transferring to a four-year institution.

Hobsons and ACE will host a webinar on May 18 at 2:00 p.m. EDT to review the findings and discuss strategies for taking action on key predictors of upward transfer for students who enroll in community college directly after high school. The confirmed speakers are: 

  • Jonathan Turk, senior policy research analyst, CPRS
  • Wei-Lin Chen, graduate research associate, CPRS
  • Ellen Wagner, vice president of research, Hobsons
  • David Schuler, superintendent, Township High School District 214 in Illinois

Click here for more details and to register.

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