Immediate transition to college

How has the college enrollment rate immediately following high school graduation varied over time?

Of the 3.0 million high school completers in 2013, some 2.0 million, or 66 percent, enrolled in college the following fall. This rate, known as the immediate college enrollment rate, is defined as the annual percentage of high school completers (including GED recipients) who enroll in 2- or 4-year colleges in the fall immediately after completing high school. The immediate college enrollment rate increased from 60 percent in 1990 to 66 percent in 2013; however, this rate has decreased in recent years—down from 70 percent in 2009. The rate did not change measurably between 2012 (66 percent) and 2013.

In each year between 1990 and 2013, the immediate college enrollment rate at 4-year colleges was higher than that at 2-year colleges. For example, in 2013, the immediate college enrollment rate at 4-year colleges was 42 percent, compared with 24 percent at 2-year colleges. The immediate college enrollment rate of high school completers at 2-year colleges in 2013 (24 percent) did not differ significantly from the corresponding rate in 1990 (20 percent). The rate fluctuated between 20 and 25 percent in the 1990s, increased from 21 percent in 2000 to 29 percent in 2012, and then decreased 5 percentage points between 2012 and 2013. At 4-year colleges, the immediate college enrollment rate in 2013 (42 percent) was not measurably different from the rate in 1990 or 2000 (40 and 42 percent, respectively), nor was the rate in 2013 measurably different from that in 2012 (37 percent).

Percentage of high school completers who were enrolled in 2- or 4-year colleges by the October immediately following high school completion, by level of institution: 1990–2013

The data in this figure is described in the surrounding text.

NOTE: High school completers include GED recipients.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2015). The Condition of Education 2015 (NCES 2015-144), Immediate College Enrollment Rate.

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