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Transfers From Oregon Community Colleges to Public Four-Year Universities

A critical component of an institution's commitment to access is its orientation toward transfer students. A recent research work by the Ford Family Foundation in Oregon highlights key findings about the state of transfer admissions and attainment in Oregon, and provides us a glimpse of historical data.

You can read the full report in .pdf format here.

I asked whether I could get the data cited in the report, and was happy to get it, and to pull the details into a visualization, below.  I've included just the four-year, public destination universities, although you can use the filters to select any set of four-year institutions in Oregon.  Similarly, I've included only the largest community colleges, but you can feel free to change that selection as well.

One of the problems with graduation rate data is the long time between inputs and outputs, so you should understand what this shows.  The intersection of a community college column and a four-year university row shows the number of transfers in the time period indicated (see next paragraph).  The color of the box shows the graduation rate of those students:  Gold is higher and purple is lower.

The analysis sample for the ODE model included Oregon public high school graduates whose first college enrollment was during the fall between 2006 and 2012, at  Oregon community colleges and universities,  who transferred to a four-year institution within six years of their first college enrollment, resulting in an analysis sample of 13,974 transfer students.

Of course, graduation rates, as I've often written on my Higher Ed Data Stories blog, are not always a sign of how well a university does in the educational process; they are often a function of inputs.  And we know that transfer students often arrive with many more obstacles to graduation than traditional students who enroll right out of high school.  So what this report may show us is just how much we have to re-think how we can help knock down those obstacles.

We'll keep thinking about it Out Here in Oregon.