As tuition has risen at four-year institutions in recent years, starting at a community college has become an increasingly popular – and affordable – way to launch an academic career.1
“To start your pursuit of a four-year degree at a community college is a very smart decision for a lot of people,” Peter Hans, President of the NC Community College System, says in the accompanying video.
“Because you can do so on a flexible schedule. It’s accessible. It’s affordable. And those credits you gather at the community college will transfer into the universities.”
Transfers by community-college students and graduates to UNC System institutions have grown steadily from 49% of all transfers in 2009 to nearly 61% in 2017.2 Transfer students have a four-year graduation rate of 69%.3
Some universities have special programs to work with community-college students and help them transfer as juniors – UNC Chapel Hill’s C-STEP program, for example, has a 79% graduation rate.4
Other institutions, such as UNC Greensboro, offer dual enrollment for qualified community-college students.5 NC Central University’s Eagle Connect program even allows Durham Tech students to live on Central’s campus, further easing their transition to a four-year university.6
And the RIBN program that started at Western Carolina University and surrounding community colleges allows a student to mix community college and university classes and obtain a four-year nursing degree for under $20,000.7
For many students, it can be a great, affordable way to start.
1 https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/05/education/learning/community-colleges-middle-class-families.html; http://www.dailytarheel.com/article/2018/04/community-college-transfers-0416.
2 https://ung4.ondemand.sas.com/SASVisualAnalyticsViewer/guest.jsp?appSwitcherDisabled=true&reportViewOnly=true&reportPath=/UNG/External+Content/Reports&reportName=transfer_enrollment_report, Transfer Enrollment Trends tab.
3 Ibid, Graduation Rates tab.
Editor’s note: This perspective was originally published by Higher Education Works. It has been published with the author’s permission.