For the first time since World War II, the demand for higher education and the opportunity to achieve the baccalaureate is greater than ever-while funding is at its lowest mark.
Two-four transfer is rapidly becoming the most common route to the baccalaureate because it costs less per student. Nationwide, roughly 43 percent of students who begin at two-year institutions transfer at least once. Only about half of these enroll in a baccalaureate program in a four-year institution.
State policy makers must take these trends seriously. Their reasoning should go something like this:
- The demand for higher education is growing faster than funding.
- Nationwide, enrollments are growing too fast for four-year institutions to accommodate.
- Because costs are lower, policy makers are relying on community colleges to provide the first two years of higher education for increasing numbers of students.
- Two-four transfer has to be viable, or we have to find other ways of getting more students to the baccalaureate.