Many students start their higher education experience at community colleges. It’s more affordable for those two years you wade through general education courses and try to determine a career path. But a study released this week suggests that students who started at a community college before transferring to complete a Bachelor’s degree at a four-year university are being penalized. The study says that these students are earning less than their counterparts who earned their entire degree at a four-year university, and that this trend remains true for those who go on to earn higher level degrees.
“It is important for individuals to know both the benefits and the disadvantages of attending a community college when making decisions about education,” says Natalia Kolesnikova, a Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis economist who calculated the data from a 2003 National Survey of College Graduates, completed by the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Science Foundation.