Upcoming Presentations

Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management (APPAM) Conference

Upwardly Mobile: Supporting Student Mobility Into, Across, and Through Postsecondary

March 28, 10:15–11:45 a.m. CDT | JW Marriott Austin, 302

Community colleges enroll more than 40% of all undergraduates in the United States, including larger proportions of lower-income, Black, Indigenous, and Hispanic students. The pandemic created a perfect storm of enrollment declines and revenue losses for community colleges, which compounded years of underfunding that has long challenged colleges’ ability to serve their communities. To fully build back in the wake of the pandemic, community colleges will need to support their students not only to get back to college but also to succeed through to completion. For the vast majority of community college students, their long-term goals include transferring and completing at least a bachelor’s degree—a credential increasingly required for career-path employment and greater economic security. Yet, for every 100 degree-seeking entering students, only about 30 will transfer, and only 13 complete a bachelor’s degree in six years. And the current transfer system, underperforming as it is, works twice as well for white students as it does for Black and Latinx students; twice as well for higher-income students as for lower-income students; and is particularly ineffective in helping students in STEM fields.

This panel will unpack the mechanisms that lead to inequitable stratification in the community college transfer pathway and will identify promising approaches to better facilitate student mobility across postsecondary institutions. The first two papers draw on student administrative data to focus specifically on the community college transfer pathway to a STEM bachelor’s degree. With course-level data on aspiring transfer students in three state community college systems, Myers et al. examined how instructors and demographic composition in gateway STEM coursework can lead to greater stratification in the STEM transfer pathway. In the second paper, Nichols and Jaeger more specifically examined how Calculus coursework serves as either a stepping stone or stumbling block along the transfer pathway to a STEM bachelor’s degree. Bringing in the voices of transfer-bound students, in the third paper, Hill et al. will detail the perceived challenges of navigating multiple postsecondary institutions and what sources of information were most useful, drawing on a recently fielded survey of community college students in California. Finally, the fourth paper presents a case study of six community colleges and universities in Oregon that have demonstrated stronger transfer student outcomes and examines features of strong transfer culture, transfer pathways, and student supports. Together these papers deploy a range of methodologies to offer insights from six different state contexts. The papers converge to ask: How can colleges and universities better partner on transfer, and how can policymakers better incentivize intra- and inter-institutional reforms? The discussion will prioritize identifying new insights and questions to guide researchers and policymakers working to strengthen the transfer pathway as an affordable and accessible route to a bachelor’s degree.


Michelle Hodara, Research Affiliate, Community College Research Center

Lauren Schudde, Research Affiliate, Community College Research Center

John Fink, Senior Research Associate, Community College Research Center

Adela Soliz, Research Affiliate, Community College Research Center

Taylor Myers, Senior Research Assistant and PEAR Fellow, Community College Research Center

Umika Kumar, Research Assistant, Community College Research Center

Holley B. Nichols, Research Associate, Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research

Michael Hill, Postdoctoral Scholar, University of California, Irvine

Equity in Schools: The Effects of Public Policy on Segregation, Equitable Service Provision, and Access and Achievement Inequality

March 28, 1:45–3:15 p.m. CDT | JW Marriott Austin, Lone Star B

Public schools in the United States are faced with competing priorities: They are expected to meet the needs of struggling students, provide experiences that will increase the chances that students continue into college, provide mental health services and security when appropriate, and provide quality education for students with diverse needs and interests. Furthermore, public schools are expected to meet these needs efficiently. These goals can conflict. The policy choices made by states and school administrators may benefit individual students while also increasing inequity across students. This panel evaluates four educational policies that have impacts on equity.

Paper 1 examines the effects of Florida’s middle school remediation policy—which requires students who score below the proficient level on prior year reading or math tests to be placed on a remedial schedule in that subject—on within-school segregation of students by race, ethnicity, and SES. It also focuses on how that segregation produces inequality of educational opportunities.

Paper 2 documents how barriers to engaging in high school/ college dual enrollment programs (including placement tests, transportation, and associated expenses) yields racial and ethnic disparities in dual enrollment participation and shows how some schools have reduced these disparities.

Paper 3 shows inequities in school staffing, particularly that students from traditionally underserved backgrounds—including students of color, students receiving free and reduced-price lunch, charter school students, and students in the lowest achieving schools—have much greater access to security guards, but decreased access to mental health staff.

Finally, Paper 4 shows the extent to which the introduction of charter schools into a school district leads to widening inequality in students’ test scores within the district.


Veronica Minaya, Senior Research Associate, Community College Research Center

Rajeev Darolia, Assistant Professor, University of Missouri

Celeste K. Carruthers, Associate Professor, University of Tennessee

Mark C. Long, Professor of Public Policy and Governance & Adjunct Professor of Economics, University of Washington

Victor Saenz, Department Chair & Professor, Department of Educational Leadership and Policy, University of Texas at Austin

Umut Ozek, Principal Researcher, American Institutes for Research

Anne Podolsky, Doctoral Student, Stanford University

Austin R. Sell, Doctoral Student, University of Washington

Statewide Transfer Articulation Policy: Does It Work, and How Can It Be Improved?

March 28, 3:30–5:30 p.m. CDT | JW Marriott Austin, 302

Most community college students aspire to a bachelor’s degree, but when such students transfer to a four-year college to complete their degree, they often “lose” course credits at the point of transfer. In turn, credit losses increase the cost of a bachelor’s degree and delay student entry into the post-baccalaureate job market. In response to research on the challenges of community college credit transfer, most states have created new or upgraded old "transfer articulation" policies, which are designed to smooth transfer from community colleges to in-state public universities.

Statewide transfer articulation policies build upon long-standing institution-driven systems, in which community college/university pairings with a high volume of transfer students work together to ensure that students can transfer seamlessly between the two colleges. However, reviewing and updating a multitude of bilateral institution-to-institution agreements is confusing and time-consuming for college staff, and presents major navigational challenges for students. To simplify and streamline the process, many states have created statewide “credit articulation” agreements. Typically, these agreements include popular general education courses, and may also include a selection of pre-major or introductory major-specific courses in popular majors.

The body of research on the effectiveness of statewide transfer articulation policy is thin, but in general, it suggests that a credit articulation framework alone is insufficient to boost rates of transfer, reduce excess crediting, or improve time-to-degree. However, these conclusions are tentative due to methodological limitations faced by prior researchers. This panel will present three new studies of transfer credit articulation from Ohio, Texas, and Tennessee. The results of these studies will have concrete implications for the active policy area of statewide transfer articulation, including implications for how such legislation can incorporate guidance regarding high-quality implementation.


Shanna Smith Jaggars, Research Affiliate, Community College Research Center

Michelle Hodara, Research Affiliate, Community College Research Center

Lauren Schudde, Research Affiliate, Community College Research Center

Adela Soliz, Research Affiliate, Community College Research Center

Umika Kumar, Research Assistant, Community College Research Center

Candice Grant, Senior Director of Ohio Guaranteed Transfer Pathways, Ohio Department of Education

Labor Market Returns to Education

March 29, 1:45–3:15 p.m. CDT | JW Marriott Austin, 306

Description TBA.


Florence Xiaotao Ran, Community College Research Center

Jenny Nagaoka, University of Chicago Consortium on School Research

Allyson Flaster, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan

Youngran Kim, University of Kentucky

Yang "Rachel" Zhou, Community College Research Center

Matthew Giani, University of Texas at Austin

Developmental Education Reform: Early Findings From CAPR

American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Annual Convention
April 29, 2018
Dallas, TX

Community colleges are under pressure to reform developmental education. This session, based on research from the Center for the Analysis of Postsecondary Readiness (CAPR), explored current practices and innovations in developmental education, especially using multiple measures for placement and math pathways to align math to programs of study.


Director Emeritus and Senior Fellow
Community College Research Center
Senior Research Scholar
Community College Research Center
Elena Serna-Wallender
Research Associate
Alexander K. Mayer
Deputy Director

Associated Project(s)