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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 completers1 who graduated in the first 9 months of 2022, some 1.9 million (or 62 percent) were enrolled in college in October 2022.2 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 2022 was not measurably different from the rate a decade earlier in 2012, or from the rate in 2021.

In every year from 2012 through 2022, a higher percentage of high school completers immediately enrolled in 4-year institutions than in 2-year institutions. In 2022, about 45 percent of high school completers immediately enrolled in 4-year institutions and 17 percent immediately enrolled in 2-year institutions. The immediate college enrollment rate for 4-year institutions in 2022 was higher than the rate in 2012 (37 percent). More specifically, this rate increased from 2012 to 2016 (46 percent) and fluctuated thereafter. In contrast, the rate for 2-year institutions decreased between 2012 (29 percent) and 2022.

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 2022, about 97 percent of those who completed high school in the first 9 months of 2022 were between 16 and 24 years old.
2 For general technical notes related to data analysis, data interpretation, rounding, and other considerations, please refer to the Condition of Education Reader's Guide.

SOURCE: National Center for Education Statistics. (2024). Immediate College Enrollment Rate. Condition of Education. U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved May 30, 2024, from

Numbers in figure titles reflect original numeration from source Condition of Education indicators.

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