The impact of community college attendance on baccalaureate attainment
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Community colleges are seen as contradictory institutions. Supporters contend that community colleges increase baccalaureate attainment by providing access to higher education for students who would otherwise not attend college, while critics argue that these institutions decrease baccalaureate attainment for students who would otherwise attend a 4-year institution. Using the National Education Longitudinal Study, this article advances the literature on the impact of community colleges on baccalaureate attainment by estimating new models that allow controlling for pathways of enrollment while using different measures of educational expectations and correcting for college choice. Findings suggest that community colleges significantly reduce the probability of attaining a bachelor’s degree, as compared to 4-year institutions, an effect that remains after having taken into account non-traditional enrollment pathways, educational expectations, and self-selection into 2-year and 4-year institutions.