Community colleges offer many students an alternative route to achieving a baccalaureate degree. In this article, Kevin Dougherty analyzes data on these institutions to see how effective they are in helping students transfer to and succeed in four-year colleges. After controlling for differences in family background, high school record, and educational aspirations of students entering two- and four-year colleges, the author finds that community college entrants receive fewer bachelor's degrees. While finding a strong case for reform, Dougherty argues that present reformers need to keep in mind the comprehensive nature of the community college and be sure that their reform proposals will preserve rather than diminish the services it offers students. Dougherty then discusses two sweeping reforms: transforming community colleges into four-year colleges, and converting them into two-year branches of state universities.

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