When comparing the postsecondary experiences of high school seniors in spring 1972 with those in spring 2004, the percentage of those who had ever enrolled in a postsecondary institution within 2 years of their scheduled high school graduation was 63 percent in 1974 and 78 percent in 2006.
When comparing 1974 with 2006, the rates of ever attending any postsecondary institution within 2 years of high school graduation were not measurably different for Asians, but increased for Blacks (61 percent to 72 percent), Hispanics (60 percent to 68 percent), and Whites (65 percent to 81 percent).
Among those who had ever attended a postsecondary institution, the rates of delaying entry into postsecondary education were 12 percent in 1974, compared with 15 percent in 1982, 16 percent in 1994, and 13 percent in 2006. Delayed enrollment was associated with parents' education and students' educational expectations in the 12th grade: smaller percentages of students whose parents had higher levels of education and who expected to attain higher education delayed their postsecondary entrance. In 2006, for example, 9 percent of young adults whose parents had a bachelor's degree delayed entry into postsecondary education compared to 20 percent of those whose parent's education was high school or less.
Of those who had attended any postsecondary institution within 2 years of scheduled high school graduation, the percentage attending more than one institution was higher (23 percent) in 2006 than in 1974 (19 percent).
Between 1974 and 2006, the percentages of young adults attending 2- and 4-year postsecondary institutions within 2 years of leaving high school both increased, but the increase was larger among those attending 2-year than 4-year colleges. This shift in the rates of enrollment occurred primarily in the first two time periods (from 1974 to 1982 and from 1982 to 1994) rather than in the third (from 1994 to 2006).
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