Tracking Transfer

Measures of Effectiveness in Helping Community College Students to Complete Bachelor’s Degrees

Updated September 20, 2022

This series was first developed in 2016 as a collaborative effort among the Clearinghouse Research Center, the Community College Research Center (CCRC), Columbia University, and Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program.

The first Tracking Transfer report was released in 2017 and each following year the Clearinghouse Research Center updates the key metrics, with which to benchmark and measure progress and completion for transfer students from two- to four-year institutions. The annual updates are available only as spreadsheet downloads; please see the original 2017 report for an additional explanation of the metrics and methodology.

The 2022 update shows that of those who began postsecondary education at a community college in fall 2015, lower-income students were nearly half as likely than their higher-income peers to have transferred to a four-year institution (25% vs. 41%) and to have attained a bachelor’s degree within six years of first entry (11% vs. 22%). These gaps by income group reflect no changes from the previous cohort year.

The overall six-year baccalaureate completion rate for the fall 2015 community college starters was 16 percent, up 1 percentage point over the previous cohort year.

2017 Report 

The CCRC released an analytical guide for community colleges to monitor and evaluate their own transfer bachelor’s degree outcomes using degree and enrollment data from the National Student Clearinghouse. The first part of this two-part guide provides instructions on how to identify the cohort, prep the Clearinghouse Research Center data files for analysis, and calculate the outcomes included in the Tracking Transfer Report Series. The second part provides suggestions on the methods that institutions can use to evaluate the effectiveness of transfer partnerships (learn more).

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