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Lost transfer credits brings difficulty in achieving a bachelor’s degree

It is less likely for someone who went to a community college to continue and attain a bachelor’s degree, according to a study by the American Education Research Association.

Students from Queensborough Community College transfer to Queens College to continue their education and education programs at QCC allow for an easy transition, according to the QCC website.

But students who started at a community college are 17 percent less likely to achieve a bachelor’s degree than students who started at four-year colleges, according to the study.

The study tracked 13,000 students in two-year and four-year institutions. Students were interviewed from 2004 to 2009, seeing how two-year college students kept up with their four-year college counterparts in achieving a degree.

One of the biggest problems for students in the study was transferring. When going from a two-year community college to a four-year public college, students were less likely to graduate if they lost credits from transferring, according to the study.

Losing credits is very common throughout the U.S. higher education system. Katherine Salazar, 22, junior was setback an entire semester when she transferred from a CUNY community college to a private institution.

“I lost 15 credits from LaGuardia Community College to Long Island University, C.W. Post, but from C.W. Post to QC I actually did not lose any,” Salazar said.

Even though she had taken the classes at LaGuardia, C.W. Post did not accept them. Retaking those classes wasted time, money and put her behind in graduating on time.

The CUNY administration has instituted a resolution to combat the transferring problem — Pathways.

It started in Fall 2013 and provided a general education requirement for all CUNY undergraduate schools and made it easier for students to transfer from one CUNY to another.

Many CUNY professors believe the Pathways general education requirement jeopardizes the credentials of a CUNY degree, according to the Professional Staff Congress website, which posted several statements made by professors dissenting on the Pathways resolution. PSC is a union that represents CUNY staff and faculty.

“Pathways has run roughshod over faculty and made a mockery of self governance. Pathways threatens to gut the CUNY undergraduate degree in order to enhance graduation rates,” associate professor of English at QCC, Susan Jacobowitz said.

Even before Pathways was resolved, transferring from QCC to QC was not much of a problem for 22-year-old junior Alexandra Vergara.

“I did not lose any credits when I transferred from QCC to QC. I was in QCC for three years, but did not get my associate’s, I just wanted to leave and get my bachelor’s,” Vergara said.

Students that enter a four-year institution, whether they transferred from a community college or started at a four-year institution, have the same chance of finishing their bachelor’s degree, according to the report.

Steven Renteria continued his education after coming from QCC in the summer of 2012. Currently a junior, he double majors in history and secondary education.

“I lost only six credits [and] two classes. All I had to retake was a language and writing intensive course. It is not a huge strain so I do not mind,” Renteria said.

A problem encountered by the study is that it only tracked the students for six years. To fix this factor, AERA added a dependent variable to tell if a student graduated with a bachelor’s or if they were still enrolled.

But even with this variable, the attainment of a bachelor’s was 18 percent lower when a student began at a community college, compared to a student that began at a four-year college.

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