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Regional Variation in California Community College Student Achievement

A group of 3 college students walk across a green lawn, smiling.

Better understanding the drivers of college success will enable the California Community College system to meet its goals to reduce regional achievement gaps among the 115 colleges in the system.


The California Community College system is the largest system of higher education in the nation, comprising 115 colleges and serving over two million students every year. The Chancellor’s Office, which oversees these colleges, has laid out an ambitious agenda for system-wide improvement that sets forth six broad goals, one of which is to close regional student achievement gaps in ten years. To this end, the California Community College Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO) is partnering with CPL to assess the variation in these outcomes across both macro and micro regions in the state, in order to identify high-need regions that are not being served equitably.

Research Project

This project uses data from CCCCO to examine regional variation in outcomes for community college students across the state. Outcomes include ultimate outcomes, such as completion of a degree or transfer to a four-year institution, as well as intermediate outcomes like credit accumulation. In addition to our partnership with CCCCO, we have recently partnered with the California Department of Education to obtain student-level K-12 data. By linking these two sets of data, we will be able to control for students’ high school performance and preparedness in our estimates of geographic variation in college outcomes, as well as examine how students’ high school records relate to their likelihood of enrolling in the state’s community colleges. 

Research Team 

Professor Jesse Rothstein (Principal Investigator), Dr. Elise Dizon-Ross, Dr. Johanna Lacoe, Jennifer Hogg, Johnny Huynh, Anna Doherty, Vikash Reddy


REPORT: Regional Variation in Community College Student Outcomes in California PDF

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Regional Variation in Community College Student Outcomes in California PDF

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