How has the college enrollment rate immediately following high school graduation varied over time?
Of the 3.2 million high school completers1 who graduated in the first 9 months of 2019, some 2.1 million, or 66 percent, were enrolled in college in October 2019. This annual percentage of high school completers who are enrolled in 2- or 4-year institutions within the specified time frame is known as the immediate college enrollment rate. The overall immediate college enrollment rate in 2019 (66 percent) was not measurably different from the rate in 2010.
In every year from 2010 to 2019, higher percentages of high school completers immediately enrolled in 4-year institutions than in 2-year institutions. In 2019, about 44 percent of high school completers immediately enrolled in 4-year institutions and 22 percent immediately enrolled in 2-year institutions. The immediate college enrollment rate for 4-year institutions in 2019 was not measurably different from the rate in 2010. However, the rate for 2-year institutions was lower in 2019 (22 percent) than in 2010 (27 percent).
Immediate college enrollment rate of high school completers, by level of institution: 2010 through 2019
NOTE: Immediate college enrollment rate is defined as the annual percentage of high school completers who are enrolled in 2- or 4-year institutions in the October immediately following high school completion. High school completers include 16- to 24-year-olds who graduated with a high school diploma as well as those who completed a GED or other high school equivalency credential.
1 In this Fast Fact, “high school completers” refers to individuals ages 16 to 24 who graduated from high school or completed a GED or other high school equivalency credential. In 2019, about 98 percent of those who completed high school in the first 9 months of 2019 were between 16 and 24 years old.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2021). The Condition of Education 2021 (2021-144), Immediate College Enrollment Rate.
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