Nationwide Implications


Once a prize that put its holder in the upper echelons of the employable population, the baccalaureate is fast becoming the requirement to making a living wage. A high school diploma today has small value in the labor market. Attaining an associate degree garners an average 21 percent gain in wages. But the big gains go to those holding the baccalaureate degree: 31 percent higher average earnings. (Professional degree holders earn even more: 63 percent higher.)

Nationwide, 2/4 transfers are becoming the preferred route to higher education. Forceful financial and social factors are pushing more students into beginning their degree courses at community colleges. But many students who invest time, effort, and resources into higher education are still failing to gain that all-important four-year degree.

State policy can make a difference! States that have a comprehensive, integrated approach to 2/4 transfers do better than those that focus on transfer as an academic and institutional matter. No state is using all the tools available to energize transfer performance. States need policies that relate funding and accountability to academic strategies. Policymakers can benefit from a fresh look at student flow and transfer performance, and by studying the strategies of other states, especially those with high 2/4 transfer success.


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