How has the college enrollment rate immediately following high school graduation varied over time?
Of the 3.2 million high school completers in 2012, some 2.1 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. Between 1990 and 2012, the immediate college enrollment rate increased from 60 to 66 percent. However, the rate did not change measurably between 2011 and 2012.
The immediate college enrollment rate of high school completers at 2-year colleges increased from 20 percent in 1990 to 29 percent in 2012. The rate fluctuated between 20 and 25 percent in the 1990s and then increased from 21 percent in 2000 to 29 percent in 2012. The immediate college enrollment rate at 4-year colleges in 2012 (37 percent) did not differ significantly from the corresponding rate in 1990 (40 percent), but the rate in 2012 (37 percent) was lower than the rates in 2011 and 2000 (42 percent each). In each year between 1990 and 2012, the immediate college enrollment rate at 4-year colleges was higher than that at 2-year colleges. For example, in 2012 the immediate college enrollment rate at 4-year colleges was 37 percent, compared with 29 percent at 2-year colleges.
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: 1990–2012
NOTE: High school completers include GED recipients.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2014). The Condition of Education 2014 (NCES 2014-083), Immediate Transition to College.
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