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Rethinking Cooling Out at Public Community Colleges: An Examination of Fiscal and Demographic Trends in Higher Education and the Rise of Statewide Articulation Agreements


by Gregory M. Anderson, Mariana Alfonso & Jeffrey C. Sun ó 2006

Recent data indicate that a large proportion of students entering community colleges are identifying terminal certificate or occupational associate degrees instead of academic majors or transfer as their short-term goal. Despite this, throughout much of the 1980s and 1990s, states established articulation agreements as policy instruments to enhance the transfer of students from public 2-year institutions to 4-year institutions. This conundrum raises an interesting two-part question: In the absence of a significant increase in the demand for transfer by community colleges entrants, why have states enacted these agreements, and what potential impacts may arise from these legislative trends? Applying the state relative autonomy theory, we contend that the rise of articulation agreements constitutes a new state strategy to cope with the stagnation of higher education appropriations, the spiraling costs of tuition, and an excess demand for affordable higher education.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 108 Number 3, 2006, p. 422-451
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 12331, Date Accessed: 10/23/2017 4:48:16 PM

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About the Author
  • Gregory Anderson
    Teachers College, Columbia University
    E-mail Author
    GREGORY M. ANDERSON is an assistant professor in the Programs in Higher and Postsecondary Education and the associate director of the Center for African Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. He earned a Ph.D. in sociology from the Graduate Center at the City University of New York. Andersonís research interests include issues of race, equity, access, compensatory reform, and higher education policy from a comparative perspective, with emphases on South Africa and the United States.
  • Mariana Alfonso
    Brown University
    MARIANA ALFONSO is a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Public Policy at Brown University. Her research interest is in the economics of higher education. She focuses on issues of higher education access and attainment by minority and low-income students, with particular emphasis on the role played by community colleges.
  • Jeffrey Sun
    University of North Dakota and Teachers College, Columbia University
    JEFFREY C. SUN is an assistant professor of educational leadership and an affiliate professor of law at the University of North Dakota. Sun researches and writes in the area of higher education law and policy.
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