Lower Columbia College | Study Shows Community and Technical College Transfers Excel at Four Year Schools

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Study Shows Community and Technical College Transfers Excel at Four Year Schools

For Immediate Release

October 4, 2013

From: Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges

OLYMPIA, Wash. – A recent study indicates students who transfer from a two-year college to a four-year school do just as well as those who start out as freshmen, with similar GPAs and credits earned upon graduation.

The study, produced by the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) in cooperation with all Washington public four-year colleges and universities, looked at 20,499 bachelor degree students who graduated in 2011.

Community and technical college transfer students made up 40 percent of all bachelor’s graduates. They graduated with virtually the same number of credits as those who started as freshmen, without many excess, unused credits – an indicator of the smooth transfer between two-year and four year colleges. GPAs were similar as well.

Transfer students graduated in all subjects and comprised 47 percent of all business majors, 46 percent of all health field majors, and 35 percent of all STEM majors (science, technology, engineering, and math).

Remedial education at two-year colleges expanded the talent-pool for universities. Of the community and technical college transfer students who graduated with a bachelor’s degree, 59 percent took at least one remedial course at their two-year school. That includes 43 percent of STEM transfer graduates and 53 percent of business transfer graduates. Remediation opened the door to a college education first at a community or technical college, and then at a university.

“We are extremely pleased, but not surprised, by these terrific results,” said Marty Brown, SBCTC executive director. “Our two-year colleges do an outstanding job preparing students for upper division coursework. We’re a vital pipeline into four year schools.”

About a third of community and technical colleges now offer a different type of four-year degree known as an “applied bachelor’s degree.” These four-year degrees are practical, career-oriented degrees designed to meet the needs of the economy in specific, high demand fields. They allow those with a two-year degree in a specific field – radiation and imaging services, for example – to add two more years of management-level training and move up the educational and professional ladder without having to start over. The degrees can build upon a two-year associate degree, or be a continuum of courses over a four-year period.

A separate report found that even in the midst of the recession, 82 percent of applied bachelor’s graduates in 2010 and 2011 were employed seven quarters after graduating. Students’ earnings also increased by an average of 26 percent after graduation. Ten community and technical colleges offer 17 applied bachelor’s degrees and 160 students graduated from those programs in 2012.

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About the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC):

The State Board for Community and Technical Colleges is led by a Governor-appointed board and provides leadership, advocacy, and coordination for Washington’s system of 34 public community and technical colleges. Each year, nearly 420,000 students train for the workforce, prepare to transfer to a university, gain basic math and English skills, or pursue continuing education. Visit the website at SBCTC.edu.

For more information contact:

Laura McDowell 360-704-4310 or lmcdowell@sbctcedu