Community College Research Initiatives

December 28, 2018

Data Note 7: Characteristics of MIAP students in two states

Researchers at the University of Washington found that non-linear transfer pathways from community colleges to universities differ by race and Pell grant eligibility. The findings indicate that research about college transfer should more closely examine non-traditional pathways to inform policies and programs that serve these students.

The transfer process most often talked about and studied is a vertical path from one community college to a university. However, many students follow what is called a multi-institutional attendance pattern (MIAP), earning credits at two or more community colleges before transferring to a four-year institution. While this is not a rare phenomenon, most research on transfer excludes data on MIAP students.

In addition, demographic variables are often not included in data sets, limiting the ability to identify potential disparities in the transfer process.  Documenting transfer patterns for different student populations is important to providing a fuller and more inclusive understanding of transfer, including identifying where inequities prevail for racial and ethnic student groups (see Data Note 3).

The Community College Research Initiative (CCRI) conducted a study that helps fill these gaps using data from Ohio and Minnesota, two states with strong transfer policies. The researchers found that both states have relatively high percentages of MIAP students – 53% in Minnesota and 36% in Ohio – indicating that research on transfer should include these students. In addition, there is variation by race and Pell grant eligibility, indicating further research should be done to understand the characteristics of MIAP students. If transfer policy is solely informed by studies of linear transfer partnerships, than institutions may be overlooking the needs of underserved and non-traditional students.

For more information on this study and its findings, download the full Data Note below.

Download Data Note 7


This Data Note is part of CCRI’s High-Performing Partnerships Study (HPTP) funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The study focuses on how higher performing transfer collaborations between two and four-year colleges and universities work on the ground. Researchers identified high-performing partnership pairs from a dataset collected for the national initiative on reverse credit transfer called Credit When It’s Due (CWID). Read the full series of Data Notes and more about the project here