The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center this week released new data on the numbers of graduate and professional degree earners who first began their postsecondary studies at a community college.

Roughly one in five master’s degree earners, 11 percent who earned doctoral degrees and 13 percent of professional degree earners originally began at a two-year college, found the center, which tracks the progress of almost all U.S. college students.

“Community college is typically viewed as a portal to the baccalaureate degree, but this study shows that it also helps many individuals access the lifelong employment benefits associated with a master’s or doctorate,” Suzanne Ortega, president of the Council of Graduate Schools, said in a written statement. “I hope this study will inspire new strategies for helping community college students chart a path to graduate school.”Figure 1. Percentage of 2016-17 Master’s Degree Earners Who Entered Higher Education in Community College (by master’s degree field of study category). Bar chart shows six field of study categories and then the total fields of study. For health and clinical sciences, N=96,950, 18.5 percent earned associate degree from a community college, and 26.3 percent entered higher education in a community college. For social sciences and psychology, N=93,029, 13.8 percent earned associate degree from a community college, and 23.6 percent entered higher education in a community college. For education, N=128,253, 12.8 percent earned associate degree from a community college, and 22.1 percent entered higher education in a community college. For business, N=157,616, 11.5 percent earned associate degree from a community college, and 19.7 percent entered higher education in a community college. For humanities, N=45,500, 8.2 percent earned associate degree from a community college, and 16.3 percent entered higher education in a community college. For science and engineering, N=126,658, 4.7 percent earned associate degree from a community college, and 9 percent entered higher education in a community college. For all fields of study, N=710,407, 11.7 percent earned associate degree from a community college, and 19.5 percent entered higher education in a community college. Baccalaureate-granting institutions that predominantly award associate degrees (at least 55 percent of undergraduate degrees awarded are associate degrees) are classified as community colleges. A mapping of Classification of Instructional Program (CIP) family codes to broad field of study categories is included at the end of this report. A student is considered to have entered higher education in a community college if their earliest postsecondary enrollment at age 18 or above occurred at a community college.

From: Inside Higher Ed  |  11.2.17  |  By: Paul Fain

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