Research in Higher Education

, Volume 57, Issue 2, pp 152–189 | Cite as

What Matters in Increasing Community College Students’ Upward Transfer to the Baccalaureate Degree: Findings from the Beginning Postsecondary Study 2003–2009

  • Robin R. LaSota
  • William Zumeta


This research uses the nationally representative Beginning Postsecondary Study: 2003–2009 to investigate the relative significance in upward transfer of individual and institutional factors for different groups of students, considering their state policy contexts of variable support for improved articulation and transfer between 2-year and baccalaureate-granting colleges. Layered analyses of hierarchical generalized linear model population-average results found that a few community college characteristics and state transfer policy components (such as a state articulation policy, cooperative articulation agreements, transfer data reporting, etc.) demonstrated a statistically significant association with individual upward transfer probability within 6 years of community college entry. Student characteristics found to be influential and positive for increasing upward transfer probability included: having an intention for upward transfer at entry, attending primarily full-time, working between 1 and 19 h per week (not more or less), and declaring a transfer-oriented major in STEM (science, technology, engineering, or mathematics), Arts and Social/Behavioral Sciences, or Education.


Community college students Upward transfer probability correlates Beginning Postsecondary Study State transfer and articulation policies Multi-level modeling of upward transfer probability 



The authors extend their appreciation to Robert D. Abbott (Professor, Educational Measurement, College of Education, University of Washington), Mark C. Long (Associate Professor of Public Policy and Governance, University of Washington), Christopher Adolph (Associate Professor, Center for Statistics and the Social Sciences, University of Washington), Margaret Plecki (Professor, College of Education, University of Washington), Xueli Wang (Associate Professor, Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis, University of Wisconsin-Madison), and David Kaplan (Professor, Educational Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison) for their guidance and assistance in these research analyses. The authors gratefully acknowledge funding for this research provided by the US Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences (#R305B090012), and the Association of Institutional Research. We thank the fellow faculty and students in the Collaborative Researchers for Education Sciences Training (CREST) program who provided valuable input throughout this research project.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Development Services Group, Inc.BethesdaUSA
  2. 2.Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy and GovernanceUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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