- A new study challenges the idea that two-year colleges are often dead ends, embracing instead the idea that community college is better than no college at all on the path to a four-year degree.
- The study's sample--graduates of Chicago's public schools who went on to enroll in the two-year Chicago City Colleges system between 2001 and 2007--was chosen because of the quality of data available, as well as the likelihood of students to stay local when enrolling in community colleges or non-selective four-year schools.
- The study's primary author, Jennie E. Brand, warned against making broader generalizations since the study focuses on a single urban area, but she and co-author Sara Goldrick-Rab both agree that community college students in Chicago and nationwide tend to come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
From the article:
Most public high school graduates from Chicago who attend the city's community colleges increase their odds of eventually earning a bachelor's degree, according to a study that challenges a fairly common belief that two-year colleges are often dead ends for students who could have aimed higher. That argument draws from the influential book Crossing the Finish Line, which said social mobility is at risk if too many disadvantaged but otherwise qualified students are being shunted toward community colleges - so-called "undermatching." But the new study found that for the vast majority of students, the alternative to attending community college is not enrolling at a four-year institution, but not to attend college at all. ...