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Growing Trend: Two-Year Public Institutions Serving as a Foundation to a Bachelor’s Degree

by | Jun 29, 2017 | Research Reports, Research Services, Snapshot Reports |

Institutions Adding Great Value to Communities and States

For many students pursuing higher education and earning a bachelor’s degree isn’t always a linear pathway.

For twin sisters Alyssa and Brandi Cothren of Pittsfield, Illinois, community college was the most ideal avenue, serving as a stepping stone in achieving degrees in business management. According to a recent article published in the Herald-Whig, before transferring to Auburn University in Alabama, the Cothren sisters attended John Wood Community College in Illinois for two years because of financial reasons as well as the desire to stay close to home.

Their journey illustrates a growing trend explored in the Research Center’s Snapshot 26 Report, which sheds light on the role of community colleges in postsecondary success. During the 2015-16 academic year, 49 percent of students who attained a bachelor’s degree at a four-year institution had been enrolled at a two-year public institution at some point in the past 10 years. Moreover, in 20 states, including the Cothren sisters’ home state of Illinois, more than half of bachelor’s degree earners at four-year universities had attended a junior or community college.

“This snapshot report shows that community colleges are greatly impacting educational attainment for hundreds of thousands of students,” said Doug Shapiro, Executive Research Director of the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. “Even when not awarding their own degrees, these institutions are adding great value to their communities and states.”

“This snapshot report shows that community colleges are greatly impacting educational attainment for hundreds of thousands of students. Even when not awarding their own degrees, these institutions are adding great value to their communities and states.”

Doug Shapiro
Executive Research Director of the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center

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