Escaping the Transfer Trap
Mary Alice McCarthy and Debra Bragg, Washington Monthly Magazine
Seven years ago, Melissa Curry was an unemployed single mom on the edge of crisis. Now she has a bachelor’s degree—and a job at Microsoft. Curry worked hard to get where she is. But she also had the good fortune of living in one of only two states that make it easy to get a bachelor’s degree—a prerequisite to a good-paying job in the tech sector—from community college.
A consistent finding in higher education research is that students are more likely to complete a bachelor’s degree when they can do it all at one institution. But for the vast majority of people who start at community college, that’s not an option; the only way to complete a bachelor’s is by transferring to a four-year university. And it’s the transfer process that leaves many students behind.