The Economic Benefits of Obtaining an Associate Degree Before Transfer: Evidence From North Carolina

This paper investigates the economic benefits of obtaining an Associate Degree prior to transferring to a four-year college. Data on student credit accumulation, award receipt, and labor market returns for students enrolled in the North Carolina Community College System were all taken into consideration. The author found students who transfer to four-year colleges before obtaining an Associate Degree frequently do not graduate and thus leave school with no credential. Students who remain in community college and complete an Associate’s Degree, as opposed to transferring to a four-year college without a degree, have a double advantage in the form of greater labor market benefits and lower postsecondary expenditures.


External Publication
Community College Research Center
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