Education Progress

Who goes straight to college after high school graduation?

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Who goes straight to college after high school graduation?

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Main Finding

Seventy percent of 2009 high school graduates had enrolled in a postsecondary institution by the October following high school completion.

In 2009, 71% of whites had enrolled in college by the October following high school completion, compared with 63% of blacks and 62% of Hispanics.

Immediate college enrollment is associated with parental education levels.

Key Observations

  • Female enrollment increased at a much higher rate (48% to 74%) than did male enrollment (50% to 66%) from 1979 through 2009.
  • Male enrollment remained stagnant between 2005 and 2009.
  • College enrollment rates for whites increased by 20 percentage points between 1975 and 2009.
  • In 2009, 40% of students whose parents had less than a high school education enrolled in college immediately after high school completion, compared with 82% of students whose parents had a bachelor’s degree or higher.