Building Stronger Community College Transfer Pathways

Evidence from Massachusetts

Produced by the research–practice partnership, Educational Opportunity in Massachusetts, this study explores transfer patterns for 10 cohorts of students entering community colleges soon after high school. The findings provide evidence of how policies adopted to make the transfer process more transparent and predictable have impacted different subgroups of students, both in terms of the probability that they will transfer to a four-year institution, and the probability that those who do transfer subsequently earn four-year degrees.

Along with 2021 MassINC-Northeastern University research on the labor market value of community colleges and a 2022 MassINC study quantifying return-on-investment in community colleges, this research is a powerful example of the invaluable insight policymakers can glean from longitudinal data following students across systems.

The extensive research reported in this policy brief was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, US Department of Edu­cation, through grant R305H190035 to Brown University. The Boston Foundation provided additional funding for the production of this policy brief.

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