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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.

References

1 https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/05/education/learning/community-colleges-middle-class-families.htmlhttp://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.
4 https://admissions.unc.edu/apply/transfer-students/carolina-student-transfer-excellence-program-c-step/.
5 http://www.higheredworksfoundation.org/2017/08/dual-enrollment/.
6 http://www.higheredworksfoundation.org/2016/03/durham-tech-nccu/.
7 http://www.higheredworksfoundation.org/2017/04/wcu-nursing/.


Editor’s note: This perspective was originally published by Higher Education Works. It has been published with the author’s permission.

Higher Education Works

Higher Education Works is a bipartisan organization that supports public higher education in North Carolina. We advocate for investment in North Carolina’s public universities and community colleges by building support among citizens and engaging leaders. Our State’s systems of public higher education must continue to distinguish North Carolina from other states.