The Road to the Baccalaureate

Assessing the Viability of Community Colleges as Transfer Pathways for International Students


  • Dina Ghazzawi University of Houston, USA
  • Lyle McKinney University of Houston, USA
  • Catherine Lynn Horn University of Houston, USA
  • Vincent Carales University of Houston, USA
  • Andrea Burridge Houston Community College, USA



community college, international students, persistence, transfer


International students are increasingly enrolling in U.S community colleges as a starting point to their higher education. However, limited research examines the factors contributing to their successful transfer to a 4-year institution and bachelor degree attainment. Utilizing longitudinal transcript data from a large community college district in Texas, this study uses hierarchical logistical regression to compare college experiences and transfer outcomes based on region of origin. Findings demonstrate that while Sub-Saharan African students have a significantly higher probability of transfer than Asian and Latin American students, the majority of bachelor degree recipients were Asian students graduating in STEM fields. Delayed enrollment into college and academic preparedness in math were negatively associated with transfer for Latin American and Caribbean students.

Author Biographies

Dina Ghazzawi, University of Houston, USA

DINA GHAZZAWI, PhD, is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Houston’s Department of Higher Education Leadership and Policy Studies. Her major research interests lie in the area of international student success, quantitative research methods, student engagement, and sense of belonging.

Lyle McKinney, University of Houston, USA

LYLE MCKINNEY, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Higher Education and Faculty-in-Residence at the University of Houston. He earned his PhD in Higher Education Administration, with a concentration in Educational Policy, from the University of Florida. His research focuses on improving college affordability and degree completion for lower-income students, particularly those who attend community colleges.

Catherine Lynn Horn, University of Houston, USA

CATHERINE HORN, PhD is a Moores Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and Director of the University of Houston’s Education Research Center. She is also Executive Director of the Institute for Educational Policy Research and Evaluation at the University of Houston and Director for the Center for Research and Advancement of Teacher Education. Her work focuses on the systemic influences of secondary and postsecondary assessment and related policies on the learning trajectories of students, particularly those traditionally underserved by the education and social sectors

Vincent Carales, University of Houston, USA

VINCENT D. CARALES, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education in the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Program at the University of Houston. His research examines how institutional cultures, climates and structures influence Latinx and low-income students’ experiences, opportunities, and outcomes in higher education.

Andrea Burridge, Houston Community College, USA

ANDREA BACKSCHEIDER BURRIDGE, PhD, is the Associate Vice Chancellor of Research, Analytics, and Decision Support at Houston Community College. Her research focuses on student success and completion in community college.


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How to Cite

Ghazzawi, D., McKinney, L., Horn, C. L., Carales, V., & Burridge, A. (2020). The Road to the Baccalaureate: Assessing the Viability of Community Colleges as Transfer Pathways for International Students. Journal of International Students, 10(2), 420–442.



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