Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EDD)


Educational and Psychological Studies (Education)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Soyeon Ahn

Second Committee Member

Susan Mullane

Third Committee Member

Etiony Aldarondo

Fourth Committee Member

Brian Orefice


Since 2000, the number of students transferring from United States community colleges to four-year institutions has steadily increased. As a result, growing attention has been paid to community college students’ academic performance following their transfer. Research conducted in the United States has reported mixed results regarding transfer students’ academic performance in four-year institutions. Similar to the United States, many college students in Ecuador transfer to different types of postsecondary institutions. However, no research has been published on this experience in Ecuador that can inform educators and support transfer students’ academic performance after transferring. To fill this gap, this study investigated the characteristics and academic success of community college students who transferred to a four-year institution in Ecuador. In particular, this study used secondary data to compare characteristics and academic performance (i.e., GPA) between transfer and non-transfer students attending a small private four-year university in Ecuador between Fall 2008 and Fall 2013. Results from mixed-effects models showed that transfer students had a higher average GPA after one semester (intercept) than non-transfer students; however, no difference in the average change in GPA over the years (slope) was found between transfer and non-transfer students. Further analysis examining gender differences in the average GPA after the first semester (intercept) showed that transfer females performed significantly better than males. It was also found that the area or program of study was a significant predictor explaining some of the variation in the average GPA after the first semester (intercept). For example, students in engineering programs had the lowest average GPA across the years. This suggests that extra attention and academic assistance might be necessary for these students entering to engineering program of study. In addition, significant differences in the average GPA after the first semester (intercept) were found depending on the quality of the community college that students transferred from. This result suggests that universities should design their marketing strategies and admission resources that recruit students from category A and B institutes of technology and universities, which can be further facilitated by subscribing articulation agreements with these institutions to allow prospect transfer students to transfer a great majority of their credit hours. The current study shows, that transfer students are capable of being academically successful at four-year institutions. It further suggests that recruitment efforts aimed at community college transfer students should target students based on their transferring GPA and the quality of the transferring institution; while for non-transfer students on the basis of high school GPA. It is hoped that this study would help Ecuadorian authorities and institutional officers at all levels more effectively facilitate student mobility between the country’s institutes of technology and its universities, and encourage more in-depth research on transfer students so that their academic potential becomes a reality.


Transfer Students; Non-transfer Students; Two-year Institutions; Four-year Institutions; Academic Performance