Abstract

In the US, transferring from a two-year program to a four-year program has become an increasingly important route towards a bachelor's degree. However, the pathway has an extremely high attrition rate. Utilizing two recent institutional reforms in the University System of Georgia, I show that allowing community colleges to offer bachelor's degrees and consolidating institutions increase two-year students’ bachelor's degree attainment by around 3 percentage points, which represents a 20% improvement. Both reforms increased two-to-four transfer rate, and institutional consolidations also increased bachelor's degree attainment, conditional on transferring. Moreover, I find evidence that reduced loss of credits during transfer is the driving force of the improvements. In particular, the reforms reduced credits lost during transfer by around 36%.

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