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Postsecondary Research Round-up: Transfer, ROI, Online Learning

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April 16, 2014

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Postsecondary Research Round-up: Transfer, ROI, Online Learning

According to a recent working paper examining the return on investment for students in the North Carolina Community College System, even small amounts of postsecondary credits have labor market value, associate and bachelor's degrees yield stronger returns than certificates and diplomas, and health sector credentials return very highly on investment.

A recent study on transfer joins the growing body of research demonstrating how important it is that students' credits be accepted by the receiving institution. Researchers found that students whose community college credits successfully transferred to four-year institutions were as likely to attain bachelor's degrees as their peers.

In another publication, the CALDER Center dug into the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 to estimate the probability that dropouts from postsecondary education would have completed a degree, if they had made different enrollment choices. The researchers concluded that if students who had dropped out of four-year colleges had started at two-year colleges instead, they would have had a significantly higher chance of completing a degree. While much of this increase in attainment is from earning an associate's degree, the authors found that about one-third of the students who had left four-year colleges with no credential would have had a better chance of completing a bachelor's degree if they had started at a community college.

Finally, online enrollment at community colleges grew by 5.2 percent last year, according to the Instructional Technology Council, despite a slow-down in enrollments overall.

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