Do Community Colleges Provide a Viable Pathway to a Baccalaureate Degree?

42 Pages Posted: 2 Oct 2008 Last revised: 8 Oct 2008

See all articles by Bridget Long

Bridget Long

Harvard University - Harvard Graduate School of Education; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Michal Kurlaender

University of California, Davis

Date Written: September 2008

Abstract

Community colleges have become an important entryway for students intending to complete a baccalaureate degree. However, many question the viability of the transfer function and wonder whether students suffer a penalty for starting at a two-year institution. This paper examines how the outcomes of community college entrants compare to similar students who initially entered four-year institutions within the Ohio public higher education system. Using a detailed dataset, we track outcomes for nine years and employ multiple strategies to deal with selection issues: propensity score matching and instrumental variables. The results suggest that straightforward estimates are significantly biased, but even after accounting for selection, students who initially begin at a community college were 14.5 percent less likely to complete a bachelor's degree within nine years.

Suggested Citation

Long, Bridget and Kurlaender, Michal, Do Community Colleges Provide a Viable Pathway to a Baccalaureate Degree? (September 2008). NBER Working Paper No. w14367. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1276627

Bridget Long (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Harvard Graduate School of Education ( email )

6 Appian Way
Gutman Library 465
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Michal Kurlaender

University of California, Davis ( email )

One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
United States

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