The Impact of Community College Baccalaureate Adoption on Associate Degree Production
by Justin C. Ortagus, Dennis A. Kramer, Manuel S. González Canché & Frank Fernandez - 2020
Background/Context: As of 2018, a total of 19 states allow at least one community college to offer baccalaureate degrees. Previous researchers have suggested that community college baccalaureate (CCB) adoption will lead to a host of unintended consequences, including decreases in associate degree production.
Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study: This study empirically examines the impact of CCB adoption on associate degree production and adds to conversations surrounding the consequences of CCB adoption.
Research Design: We use a quantitative quasi-experimental research design to examine the effect of CCB adoption on associate degree production.
Findings/Results: When comparing adopting and non-adopting community colleges within the state of Florida, the authors find that the adoption of CCB degree programs has a positive impact on overall associate degree production, but this impact varies considerably according to the type of academic degree program.
Conclusions/Recommendations: Opponents of CCB legislation have argued that giving community colleges the authority to confer baccalaureate degrees will detract from the sub-baccalaureate institutional mission of community colleges, but our results suggest that the adoption of a CCB degree program is associated with an overall increase in associate degree production. Findings from this work should be an important consideration for policymakers seeking to increase baccalaureate degree production in addition to—not at the expense of—associate degree programs.
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