Michigan Center for Student Success
Postsecondary Transfer and Mobility in Michigan: Exploring Transfer Patterns, Programs, Places, and People
This report examines transfer and mobility in Michigan to understand how students successfully use community college transfer to progress toward their bachelor’s degree. I use a sample of 2015 bachelor’s degree graduates from all public and independent universities in Michigan who began college in 2009-2010 or later (n=37,353), allowing for six years of enrollment records to be analyzed (high quality post secondary data were not available prior to 2009). Thus, it is important to consider that the results of these analyses should only be generalized to students who begin and complete college within six years. The report is organized into three sections: (1) Transfer Patterns and Types; (2) Transfer Programs; and (3) Transfer Places. The executive summary provides key findings from the report.
Transfer Patterns and Types
- Among all bachelor’s degree graduates, 43% transferred at least once and 31% transferred at least once via the community college (Figure 1).
- Among bachelor’s graduates that transferred via the community college (n=11,612), 57% began at the community college and transferred to a 4-year university, but 43% began at a 4-year university and attended the community college at some point prior to receiving their bachelor’s degree (Figure 5).
- Among bachelor’s graduates that transferred via the community college (n=11,612), 50% enrolled in the community college for one or two terms, and about 70% enrolled in the community college for four or fewer terms (Table 4).
- Bachelor’s graduates have varied and complex enrollment and transfer patterns, and the analysis of enrollment patterns produced hundreds of enrollment patterns (see Appendix A).
- Among bachelor’s graduates who began at a community college, there was large variation in the number of
years students enroll at the community college prior
to transferring to a 4-year university (Tables 6 to 8).
- Even among bachelor’s graduates who followed the most traditional pathway to a bachelor’s degree (those graduates who enrolled at a 4-year institution every year), between 14% and 21% enrolled in the community college for at least one term (Tables 6 to 8).
- Transfer patterns and types varied considerably by several factors, including: the bachelor’s degree institution (Table 9 and 10), public or private college (Figure 7), high school type (Figure 9), sex (Figure 11), and race/ethnicity (Figure 13).
- 75% of all bachelor’s graduates were concentrated in ten Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) 2-digit codes (Table 11). At the top of the list was Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services (17.9% of graduates).
- Graduates from different CIP programs transferred at different rates. For example, 37% of graduates in Health Professions and Related Programs transferred via the community college, whereas only 23% of graduates in Biological and Biomedical Sciences transferred via the community college (Table 12).
- Graduates from different CIP programs displayed different transfer types. For example, graduates from some programs were more likely to enroll in one and/or two or more years at the community college prior to transferring (e.g., Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services; Public Administration and Social Services, etc.), whereas graduates from other programs were more likely to start at a 4-year institution and enroll in the community college at some point prior to completing a bachelor’s degree (Engineering; Physical Sciences, etc.) (Table 12).
- A larger percent of graduates who transferred (71%) changed programs compared to students who did not transfer (51%) (Figure 15).
- A large percent of graduates that began at the community college also change program categories, although this varied considerably based on the program categories in which students begin and complete college (Table 13).
- Bachelor’s graduates that began at the community college transfer among 2-year and 4-year colleges all over the state of Michigan, as illustrated in Figure 29.
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