Investigating community college enrollment of post-baccalaureate students : pathways to high-value careers
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Increasing numbers of underemployed bachelor degree holders are seeking career-tooling opportunities at community colleges in an enrollment phenomenon known as post-baccalaureate reverse transfer (PRTS). Limited research exists on this enrollment pattern, despite the fact PRTS disrupts traditional concepts of transfer and signifies evolving postsecondary pathways to careers. Through an exploratory multiple-case study methodology, the study examined the PRTS enrollment phenomenon. More specifically, the study explored the demographic profile of PRTS enrollment in Texas, the challenges PRTS students encounter, and institutional responses to this enrollment phenomenon. Three key findings emerged from the study: (1) discrepancies in PRTS data reporting pose significant limitations in research aimed at better understanding PRTS enrollment demographics, (2) institutional resources and programs are not commonly organized for PRTS student pathways, and (3) institutional responses to the PRTS enrollment phenomenon are limited by traditional, more predominant pathways of student transfer from two-year to four-year institutions. Findings from the study suggest inadvertent oversight of the PRTS enrollment phenomenon with potential equity implications for access to high-value careers.