The Community College: Access to Opportunity or Barrier to Success
1 online resource (325 pages) : PDF
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
The purpose of this dissertation was to investigate some of the contradictory outcomes for community college students. I investigated whether community colleges lower their students’ aspirations and make students less likely to be socially involved if they transfer to four-year institutions. Furthermore, I tested whether there were significant positive differences in wage and job status outcomes between community college degree holders and people with some college studies but no degree. For this research, I used the 2002 Educational Longitudinal Study (ELS), a ten-year national study of 10th graders. The results of this dissertation show mixed support for the presence of social closure affecting community college students. Specifically, community college students who desired a bachelor’s degree experienced lowered educational expectations if they started at a community college or obtained an associate degree. Additionally, community college students who transferred to four-year institutions were less likely to become involved with engaging student activities on campus. The results also show that increased involvement with engaging activities positively correlates with bachelor’s degree completion. In the analysis of wage and job status outcomes, I found positive wage and job status benefits for certificate holders when compared to the benefits for people with some higher education and no degree. For associate degree recipients, the results indicate a job status benefit but no wage benefit. It is important for policy makers to take steps to assist community college students, so students can overcome social class differences and experience greater academic and employment success.
Social structureGovernment policyEducation, Higher
Community CollegeCooling OutHuman CapitalJob StatusSocial ClosureStudent Engagement
Stearns, ElizabethPiatak, JaclynGaggl, Paul
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 2016.
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