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Indicators

Immediate College Enrollment Rate
(Last Updated: February 2019)

In 2017, the immediate college enrollment rate for male high school completers (61 percent) was lower than the rate for female high school completers (72 percent).

Of the 2.9 million recent high school completers in 2017, some 1.9 million, or 67 percent, enrolled in college by the following October. In this indicator, high school completers are defined as individuals ages 16 to 24 who graduated from high school or completed a GED or other high school equivalency credential prior to October of the calendar year. The annual percentage of high school completers who enroll in 2- or 4-year institutions by the October immediately following high school completion is known as the immediate college enrollment rate. The overall immediate college enrollment rate in 2017 was not measurably different from the rate in 2000 or 2010.


Figure 1. Immediate college enrollment rate of high school completers, by level of institution: 2000 through 2017

Figure 1. Immediate college enrollment rate of high school completers, by level of institution: 2000 through 2017


NOTE: Immediate college enrollment rate is defined as the annual percentage of high school completers who were enrolled in 2- or 4-year institutions by the October immediately following high school completion. High school completers are individuals ages 16 to 24 who graduated from high school or completed a GED or other high school equivalency credential prior to October of the calendar year.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Current Population Survey (CPS), October Supplement, 2000 through 2017. See Digest of Education Statistics 2018, table 302.10.


In every year from 2000 to 2017, higher percentages of high school completers immediately enrolled in 4-year institutions than in 2-year institutions. In 2017, about 44 percent of high school completers enrolled in 4-year institutions and 23 percent enrolled in 2-year institutions. The immediate college enrollment rates for 4-year and for 2-year institutions in 2017 were not measurably different from the corresponding rates in 2000.


Figure 2. Immediate college enrollment rate of high school completers, by sex: 2000 through 2017

Figure 2. Immediate college enrollment rate of high school completers, by sex: 2000 through 2017


NOTE: Immediate college enrollment rate is defined as the annual percentage of high school completers who were enrolled in 2- or 4-year institutions by the October immediately following high school completion. High school completers are individuals ages 16 to 24 who graduated from high school or completed a GED or other high school equivalency credential prior to October of the calendar year.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Current Population Survey (CPS), October Supplement, 2000 through 2017. See Digest of Education Statistics 2018, table 302.10.


In 2017, the overall immediate college enrollment rate for male students1 (61 percent) was lower than the rate for female students (72 percent). The immediate college enrollment rates for male and female students in 2017 were not measurably different from the corresponding rates in 2000. In 2017, the percentage of students who immediately enrolled at 2-year institutions was not measurably different for male and female students (24 vs. 21 percent). The percentage of students who immediately enrolled at 4-year institutions was higher for female students (50 percent) than for male students (37 percent).


Figure 3. Immediate college enrollment rate of high school completers, by race/ethnicity: 2000 through 2017

Figure 3. Immediate college enrollment rate of high school completers, by race/ethnicity: 2000 through 2017


1 The separate collection of data on Asian high school completers did not begin until 2003.
NOTE: Immediate college enrollment rate is defined as the annual percentage of high school completers who were enrolled in 2- or 4-year institutions by the October immediately following high school completion. High school completers are individuals ages 16 to 24 who graduated from high school or completed a GED or other high school equivalency credential prior to October of the calendar year. Due to some short-term data fluctuations associated with small sample sizes, percentages for racial/ethnic groups were calculated based on 3-year moving averages, with the following exceptions: the percentages for 2017 were calculated based on a 2-year moving average (an average of 2016 and 2017), and the 2003 percentage for Asian high school completers was based on a 2-year moving average (an average of 2003 and 2004). From 2003 onward, data for White, Black, and Asian high school completers exclude persons identifying themselves as of Two or more races. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Current Population Survey (CPS), October Supplement, 2000 through 2017. See Digest of Education Statistics 2018, table 302.20.


The immediate college enrollment rate for White students2 was higher in 2017 (69 percent) than in 2000 (65 percent), as was the rate for Hispanic students (67 percent in 2017 vs. 49 percent in 2000). The immediate college enrollment rate for Asian students was also higher in 2017 (87 percent) than in 2003 (74 percent), when the collection of separate data on Asian students began.3 The immediate college enrollment rate for Black students in 2017 (58 percent) was not measurably different from the rate in 2000.

The immediate college enrollment rate for White students was higher than the rate for Black students in every year since 2000 except for 2010, when there was no measurable difference between the rates. Additionally, the immediate college enrollment rate for White students was higher than the rate for Hispanic students in every year from 2000 through 2010. In every year since 2011, there was no measurable difference between the immediate college enrollment rate for White and Hispanic students. The immediate college enrollment rate for Black students was higher than the rate for Hispanic students in 2000, not measurably different from the rate for Hispanic students in 2001 through 2014 and in 2017, and lower than the rate for Hispanic students in 2015 and 2016. The immediate college enrollment rate for Asian students was higher than the rates for Black students and Hispanic students in every year since 2003. In addition, the immediate college enrollment rate for Asian students was higher than the rate for White students in every year since 2004.


1 The terms “high school completers” and “students” are used interchangeably throughout the indicator.
2 Due to some short-term data fluctuations associated with small sample sizes, estimates for the racial/ethnic groups were calculated based on 3-year moving averages, with the following exceptions: the percentages for 2017 were calculated based on a 2-year moving average (an average of 2016 and 2017), and the 2003 percentage for Asians was based on a 2-year moving average (an average of 2003 and 2004).
3 Prior to 2003, data were collected for the combined race category of Asian/Pacific Islander.


An updated PDF will be available in May 2019.


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