OLYMPIA, Wash. — A new study paints a bright picture of community and technical college transfer students in Washington.
The State Board for Community and Technical Colleges looked at 23,470 bachelor degree graduates from public universities in 2016, and found that 39 percent of them started at a community or technical college. Most of the transfer students — 80 percent — already had a 2-year transfer degree in hand, saving thousands in tuition. Once there, they did just as well as their students who started as university freshman, earning similar GPAs and credits upon graduation.
About a fifth of the 2016 bachelor-degree graduates — 21 percent — earned tuition-free college credits while they were still in high school thanks to the popular Running Start program.
“We’re pleased, but not surprised, by these excellent results,” said Jan Yoshiwara, SBCTC executive director. “Our students get an affordable, top-notch education that prepares them to shine at the university level. And, they can get a head start while they’re still in high school.”
Of the 2016 bachelor-degree graduates, community and technical college transfer students made up 39 percent of all business majors, 44 percent of all health field majors, and 37 percent of all STEM majors (science, technology, engineering, and math).
Precollege (remedial) education at two-year colleges expanded the talent-pool for universities. Of the transfer students who graduated with a bachelor’s degree, 57 percent took at least one precollege course at their community or technical college. Precollege education opened the door to a college education first at a community or technical college, and then at a university.
The latest findings dovetail with a 2016 study that rated Washington’s community and technical college system first in the nation for transfer students completing university bachelor’s degrees. The study was produced by the Community College Research Center at Columbia University, The Aspen Institute, and the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.