In the 2015-16 academic year, 49 percent of all students who completed a bachelor’s degree at a four-year institution had been enrolled at a two-year public institution at some point in the previous 10 years.

The Role of Two-Year Institutions in Bachelor’s Attainment

In the 2015-16 academic year, 49 percent of all students who completed a bachelor’s degree at a four-year institution had been enrolled at a two-year public institution at some point in the previous 10 years. The prior enrollment at a two-year public institution may have been brief, for as little as a single course, and the two-year institution may or may not have been the first institution the student attended. As shown on the third page of this snapshot, 22 percent were enrolled in two-year public institutions for only one term. In 20 states, more than half of the 2015-16 bachelor’s degree earners at four-year institutions had been enrolled at a two-year public institution in the previous ten years. A state-level data table in Excel format is available for download at https://nscresearchcenter.org/snapshotreport-twoyearcontributionfouryearcompletions26.

The states in the map represent the states in which bachelor’s degrees were awarded. In this analysis, baccalaureate-granting institutions that predominantly award associate degrees (at least 55 percent of the undergraduate degrees awarded are associate degrees) are classified as two-year institutions. As such, enrollments at these institutions count in the numerator, but bachelor’s degrees awarded by them do not count in the denominator. Alaska and D.C. are labeled N/A on this map because the two-year public institutions in those two areas report data to the Clearinghouse under the same institutional profile as four-year public institutions.

Recency of Two-Year Public Enrollment

Forty-nine percent of all 2015-16 bachelor’s degree earners at four-year institutions had been enrolled at a two-year public institution at some point in the previous 10 years. About half of these students (49 percent) earned their bachelor’s degree within three years of having been enrolled at a two-year
public institution.

Duration of Two-Year Public Enrollment

Forty-nine percent of all 2015-16 bachelor’s degree earners at four-year institutions had been enrolled at a two-year public institution at some point in the previous 10 years. Almost two-thirds of these students (63 percent) were enrolled in two-year public institutions for three or more terms.

Community Colleges Outcomes Report

The Role of Community Colleges in Postsecondary Success

The Community Colleges Outcomes Report, “The Role of Community Colleges in Postsecondary Success,” provides recent report findings from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center on two-year colleges. Key community college metrics are provided for three areas — college access and persistence, transfer and mobility, and certificate and degree completion – which are important indicators of community college progress.