Not only is starting at a community college attractive financially, research shows it can be a promising path for students who want to earn a four-year degree.
A new report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center released today finds 80 percent of transfer students with an associate degree either graduated or remained in a four-year institution, and 71 percent earned a degree within four years.
Among all who transfer from a community college (including those without an associate degree), about 60 percent finished a bachelor's degree within four years, and another 12 percent were still enrolled, but had not graduated.
The new figures were based on data from 3,300 participating colleges and universities included in the Snapshot Report series from the clearinghouse.
In a previous report from September, the clearinghouse found 45 percent of all students who finished a four-year degree in 2010-11 had previously enrolled at a two-year college. Its report released this summer examined reverse transfer, illustrating the success that some students have had moving from a four-year to a two-year postsecondary institution.
Overall, about one in five community college students transfer to a four-year institution. The average tuition at a two-year college is about $3,100 and $8,600 for in-state students at a public, four-year university, according to the latest reports from the College Board.