2-Year to 4-Year Pipeline Clogged?

Note added 4/11/22: Whoops! Tod Massa confirms that there is a problem with the JMU and Radford data that they are working to correct. As well, there looks to be another problem with my pivot table, so my numbers may not be correct. So, mark this post up as perhaps interesting but certainly wrong. I’ll try again after SCHEV works out the Radford/JMU issues.

Note added 4/12: Corrected a small problem in the first 5 graphs. Even so, in light of the data problems at JMU and Radford, the numbers for those schools and the totals are wrong.

While wandering through the data on the SCHEV Web site, I came upon Table TR01, Trends in Transfer from Two-Year Institutions. The table lets one select a 2-year institution (all but one look to be community colleges), a 4-year institution, a “gender,” (they list only men & women; presumably they refer to the biological construct not the grammatical), a student group (“majority” students or “students of color”), and a sub-cohort of transfer students (ranging from all new transfers to students earning fewer then 6 credits in the first year).

Trouble is, the Web page provides only a limited snapshot, e.g.:

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Any attempt to break out those data further would require downloading a flock of spreadsheets. However, the ever helpful Tod Massa of SCHEV kindly sent me a spreadsheet with the entire dataset (whew!). Indeed, his spreadsheet improves on the posted data, reaching back an extra two years to 2011 and forward a year to 2021.

The spreadsheet also includes data for Richard Bland College, albeit that school is not listed as a Virginia Community College.

Here are the results of my initial prodding of those data.

The count of transfers from all 2-Year colleges to public 4-year programs rose to a peak in 2017 and then declined monotonically, ending down by 14.8% in 2021.

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The largest decreases were at Radford and JMU, with Norfolk State also leading the pack. The largest gains were at VMI and THE University.

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The data by receiving institution show some interesting patterns (broken out here by relative overall size of the number of transfers). Notice the 2021 plunges at JMU and Radford.

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The transfers to all public and non-profit 4-year programs show a 20.9% drop since 2017.

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The sending 2-Year institutions all show declines since 2017.

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The largest decreases, ‘17 to ‘21, were at Lancaster, Wytheville, and Blue Ridge. The smallest, Camp and Tyler.

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To the extent that a major function of the 2-Year colleges is a low-cost path to a four-year degree, the demand for that path has been decreasing. These data do not reflect the level of participation in the ordinary 2-year programs or special programs such as FastForward (short-term training courses) and G3 (low-income students).