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Executive Summary

Multivariate Analyses

Immediate Postsecondary Enrollment

After controlling for race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and other background variables, among sophomores in 2002 who graduated from high school by August 2004 (referred to as "on-time" high school graduates), females were more likely than males to immediately enroll in postsecondary education. This pattern held for White and Hispanic on-time graduates but not for Blacks. In contrast, for Black females who graduated on-time from high school in August 2004, there was no measurable difference from their male counterparts in the likelihood of enrolling in their first postsecondary institution by December 2004.

Immediate enrollees had higher levels of socioeconomic status compared with students with no immediate postsecondary enrollment, a higher mean 9th-grade grade point average (GPA), and a higher mean 10th-grade mathematics achievement test score. In addition, higher percentages of immediate enrollees (than those who did not immediately enroll in postsecondary education) were from two-parent/guardian households, participated in sports, participated in two or more extracurricular activities, and often discussed coursework with their parents. Lower percentages of immediate enrollees (than those who did not immediately enroll in postsecondary education) were ever retained in 10th grade or earlier, were absent from school seven or more times in the first semester, had cut or skipped classes seven or more times, were employed and working more than 30 hours a week, or had at least one close friend who dropped out of school.

These overall findings varied by race/ethnicity and sex. Results indicate that the odds of a male immediately enrolling in postsecondary education were 35 percent lower than the odds for a female, after accounting for other student, family, and high school characteristics that were included as independent variables in the model. In terms of race/ethnicity, the odds of an Asian student immediately enrolling in postsecondary education after high school were 2.57 times the odds for a White student. While the unadjusted bivariate results indicated that lower percentages of Black than White high school graduates immediately enrolled in postsecondary education, the logistic models indicate that Black students had 50 percent higher odds than White students of immediately enrolling in postsecondary education, after accounting for other student, family, and school factors.

Degree Attainment

Among beginning postsecondary students who were recent high school graduates in 2004, after controlling for race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and other background variables, females were more likely than males to have completed an associate's or bachelor's degree program by 2009. This pattern was also observed for Whites and Blacks. However, for beginning postsecondary Hispanic students who were recent high school graduates, there was no measurable difference between males and females in the likelihood of completing an associate's or bachelor's degree program by 2009.

Higher percentages of students who had attained an associate's or bachelor's degree by 2009 than those who had not attained a degree had a parent who held a bachelor's degree or higher, were from the highest income quartile, had taken precalculus/calculus in high school, had earned college-level credits in high school, had taken the SAT or ACT college entrance exams, first attended a private nonprofit postsecondary institution, first attended a 4-year postsecondary institution, declared a major during their first year of enrollment, sometimes or often met with a college advisor in 2004, sometimes or often participated in school clubs in 2004, sometimes or often participated in school sports in 2004, and were always enrolled full time through 2009. In addition, lower percentages of students who attained an associate's or bachelor's degree by 2009 (compared to those with no degree attainment) took any remedial classes in 2004, worked more than 20 hours a week (including work-study), experienced two or more stopout periods through 2009, and transferred between institutions two or more times through 2009.

These overall findings varied by race/ethnicity and sex. Results indicate that the odds of attaining either an associate's or bachelor's degree by 2009 for males were 32 percent lower than the odds of degree attainment for females, after accounting for other student, family, high school, and postsecondary institutional characteristics that were included as independent variables in the model. Compared with White students, Black students had 43 percent lower odds and Hispanic students had 25 percent lower odds of attaining an associate's or bachelor's degree, after accounting for other factors.

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