The average cost of college seems to skyrocket every year with no end in sight. When the average cost for a year at a private four-year institution exceeds $42,000 and even public colleges charge almost $20,000 for in-state students, shell-shocked families start looking for sane alternatives.
One classic path for students seeking to save money on a four-year degree is the 2+2, which begins at a community or junior college and ends at an institution granting Bachelor’s degrees. Our excellent local community college offers a perfect example of the standard 2+2:
2+2 Dual Admission Degree Programs are guaranteed transfer programs offered by Monroe Community College and participating four-year colleges. Students admitted to these programs will, upon completion of a prescribed sequence of courses leading to an Associate’s degree, be assured transfer with full junior-year status.
Since even full-time students at community colleges often pay less than $3000 per semester and live at home, the 2+2 plan can lead to substantial savings. For those who make it to the finish line, that four-year degree carries all of the prestige of the granting institution at a much lower cost.
Unfortunately, completing the 2+2 is easier said than done. According to the Community College Research Center, only 14% of the students who start out in a community college transfer to a four-year university and earn a bachelor’s degree within six years. The Tracking Transfer report draws conclusions from the experiences of about 720,000 degree-seeking students who first enrolled in community college in 2007. What did they learn?
- 80% of new community college students want to earn a bachelor’s degree.
- 60% degree of students who started at public four-year colleges completed a bachelor’s degree.
- 42% of students who started at community college and successfully transferred completed a bachelor’s degree.
- 14% of students who started at community college and successfully transferred completed a bachelor’s degree within six years.
- In most states, lower income students, who are more likely to start at community colleges, do worse on almost all transfer measurements than their higher income peers.
The full report shares much more information along with a deeper exploration of both the numbers and their implications. The 2+2 program still makes a lot of sense for many students seeking a college education, but a clear understanding of the potential pitfalls can lead to more successful outcomes.