Free Community College Requires New Paths to Four-Year InstitutionsFebruary 19, 2021 |
by Loni Bordoloi Pazich, Andrew Delbanco and Michael Murray
Jill Biden — the first presidential spouse in U.S. history to hold a doctorate and a job outside the White House — has made it clear that free community college is a policy priority for the Biden administration.
Community colleges serve over 40 percent of undergraduates in our country, many of them minorities and first-generation college students. Eighty percent of students who enroll in community colleges hope to go on to earn a bachelor’s degree at a four-year institution. Yet fewer than one in six achieve that goal within six years. Worse, students who plan to earn the baccalaureate are less likely to do so if they begin at a community college. This problem is due in large part to bureaucratic and financial obstacles that block students from transferring in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree.