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Few Texas community college students move on to complete bachelor's degrees

About 16 percent of students enrolling in Texas community colleges complete a bachelor's within six years.

In Texas, only 16 percent of students who enroll in a community college … are able to transfer to a four-year school and earn a bachelor’s degree within six years. That’s according to a new report from the Aspen Institute. TPR Education Reporter Camille Phillips explains.

In both Texas and across the country, only a third of community college students transfer to four-year schools. And only half of those transfer students earn a bachelor’s degree within six years of starting higher education.

Josh Wyner with the Aspen Institute says improving those dismal statistics would help address the critical need for more nurses, teachers, and software engineers.

“If we don't figure out how to take the enormous population — a third to 40% of all undergraduate students in community college — and give them a pathway to the degrees to fill those worker shortages, we're going to struggle.”

Wyner says some institutions, like San Antonio’s Alamo Colleges, are doing a lot better than others. He says the key to improving graduation rates is making sure two-year-schools and four-year-schools agree on what courses are needed.

I’m Camille Phillips in San Antonio.

Mark Haslett has served at KETR since 2013. Since then, the station's news operation has enjoyed an increase in listener engagement and audience metrics, as well recognition in the Texas AP Broadcasters awards.