Laying Bare the Hidden Curriculum: The Effect of Institutional Practices and Policies on Vertical Transfer from Community Colleges
Lauren Schudde

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



University of Texas

Primary Discipline

Community college should offer an affordable alternative pathway to a baccalaureate for entrants with bachelor’s degree ambitions. Yet most community college students with baccalaureate intentions never transition to a four-year college. Policymakers and administrators endeavor to improve student outcomes, but often do so blind—there’s little evidence on which policies or practices improve transfer outcomes. To shed light on this problem, I collected detailed information on community college practices and policies in Texas, a state that educates the second largest population of college-goers in the nation and relies heavily on its community colleges to do so. Drawing on interviews with college personnel and institutional documents from 20 community colleges, I created indicators of transfer practices, capturing transfer-specific services (e.g., transfer advising, centers, and events), articulation agreements, and implementation of state policies. In this study, I combine the college measures with longitudinal, student-level, state administrative data. Using regression and multi-level path models, I will estimate the impact of practices on transfer and degree attainment and examine which students benefit the most from various practices. The results stand to inform growing policy debates regarding which practices and policies improve community college student outcomes.
About Lauren Schudde
Lauren Schudde is an assistant professor of Educational Leadership and Policy at The University of Texas at Austin. She holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research examines the impact of educational policies and practices on college student outcomes, with a primary interest in how higher education can be better leveraged to ameliorate socioeconomic inequality in the United States. Her work has been published in Review of Research in Education, Review of Higher Education, and Research in Higher Education.

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