According to a study by the Community College Research Center, only 11% of low-income bachelor’s degree-seeking students who start at an Illinois community college earn a bachelor’s degree in six years. While progress has been made in Illinois to improve the path among and between two- and four-year institutions, transfer students still face institutional racial and socioeconomic gaps in college success measures in addition to increased time to degree. By dedicating resources to improve and expand existing transfer systems and supports, we can help our students graduate on time and without excess credits.
- Of the nearly two million students who start at a community college each year, 80% indicate they want a bachelor’s degree, but only 25% transfer to a four-year institution, and 1 in 6 of those students complete a bachelor’s degree in six-years.1
- Illinois’ bachelor’s-degree seeking community college students are not faring much better. Only 17% of bachelor’s degree-seeking students who start at an Illinois’ community college reach their educational aspirations in six-years. When disaggregated by income, outcomes are even worse.2
- To its credit, Illinois has built a strong foundation upon which transfer reform efforts can build. Illinois continues to improve the Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI), advance the Illinois Longitudinal Data System (ILDS), and in 2015, passed the Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act – guaranteeing junior status to eligible transfer students.
- While progress has been made in Illinois to improve the path among and between two- and four-year institutions, transfer students still face institutional racial and socioeconomic gaps in college success measures in addition to increased time to degree.
- Since nearly half of all transfer students nationally have incomes low enough to qualify for Pell grants, and Black and Latino students in the state tend to be more highly concentrated in community colleges than their peers, improving transfer systems could be a significant gateway to improving educational equity in Illinois.3
keep students on track to on-time degree completion, and ensure all students who indicate a desire to earn a bachelor’s degree reach their postsecondary goals.
Transfer Fact Sheet
1 Library Research Services, Despite intentions, only 25% oc available at https://www.lrs.org/2016/02/10/despite-intentions-only-25-of-community-college-students-transfer-to-a-bachelors-program-within-5-years-according-to-the-community-college-research-center/
2 Jenkins, Davis. Community College Research Center, Redesigning College for Student Success: A Clearer Path, 2017.
3 Illinois Board of Higher Education, Underrepresented Groups in Illinois Higher Education, 2016 Annual Report, 2017.