Community College Alumna and Mother of Four Pursues Dream of Becoming a Teacher

Xiomara Pagan, an alumna of Lehigh Carbon Community College, recently shared her aspirations of becoming a teacher and some of the challenges she had to overcome to earn her associate degree. She found an affordable transfer pathway to pursue her dreams at community college.

Ms. Pagan is just one of the thousands of students that transfer from a Pennsylvania community college annually. Last year, more than 31,000 community college students transferred to another college – and 79 percent of them transferred in-state. For example, nearly half of all incoming Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) transfer students in the Fall 2021 semester came from a Pennsylvania community college, making up a total 12 percent of the new undergraduate population that semester.

Pennsylvania community college transfer students also continue – persist in or complete their program of study – at a higher rate than non-transfer students. All this correlates to a higher rate of student success for community college transfer students – and when you look at employment data, it’s clear that continued investment in community colleges and this higher education pipeline is critical for Pennsylvania’s vibrant future.

At least 80 percent of community college transfer students who graduate from a PASSHE university with a bachelor’s degree are still employed in the Commonwealth three years after graduation. These alumni earn family-sustaining wages that are above median income. Ten years after graduation, 70 percent of these students are still working in Pennsylvania, contributing to a thriving economy and prosperous communities.