Grantee Research

The Role of Community College Attendance in Shaping Baccalaureate Recipients’ Access to Graduate and Professional Education

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



community colleges, graduate schools, professional schools


Although community colleges have received increasing attention as a steppingstone to advanced degrees for a diverse pool of students, empirical work around these institutions as a pathway to graduate and professional education is practically onexistent. Using national longitudinal data from the Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study (B&B:08/12) and propensity score matching techniques, this study examined the impact of having attended a community college on baccalaureate recipients’ access to graduate and professional schools in general and how previous community college attendance influenced student enrollment in different professional and graduate programs. Our findings revealed that there was no significant negative or positive effect of community college attendance on access to graduate or professional school, or program enrollment choices. These results imply that baccalaureate recipients having attended a community college are as likely as those who have not to advance to graduate and professional programs, suggesting that community colleges can indeed serve as a viable pathway to graduate and professional education.