RELEASE: New Analysis Suggests Community Colleges Are Better at Serving Students Than Previously Believed

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Center for American Progress released a new analysis comparing new Outcome Measures completion rate data and four-year graduation rate data from Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). The analysis suggests that community colleges are doing a better job supporting their students than the traditional IPEDS graduation rate data has given them credit for—but more steps can be taken to ensure community college students complete their degree or pursue further education.

Key findings from the analysis include:

  • Nearly 6 in 10 community college students complete their programs within eight years, remain enrolled, or transfer to another institution.
  • 30 percent of community college students transfer to another school.
  • Similar to IPEDS graduation data, the Outcome Measures dataset finds 25 percent of community college students complete their programs even when including part-time and transfer students.

“With 2 in 3 of today’s jobs requiring some level of postsecondary education, community colleges play a vital role in expanding access to affordable higher education,” said Victoria Yuen, policy analyst for Postsecondary Education at the Center for American Progress. “This analysis should encourage policymakers to recommit to investing in community colleges and the students who attend them.”

Please click here to read “What Graduation Rates Have Missed for Community College Students” by Victoria Yuen.

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Colin Seeberger at or 202.741.6292.