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Education Statistics Quarterly
Vol 1, Issue 2, Topic: Postsecondary Education
Immediate Transition From High School to College
By: 
 
This article was originally published as an Indicator of the Month, taken from The Condition of Education 1998. The sample survey data are from the October Current Population Survey (CPS), conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau.
 
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Postsecondary Education
Immediate Transition From High School to College

Since most college students enroll in college immediately after completing high school, the percentage of high school completers enrolled in college the October after finishing high school is an indicator of the total proportion of that year's high school completers who will ever enroll in college. The percentage enrolling not only reflects the accessibility of higher education to high school completers, but also shows the value completers place on attending college as compared to working, entering the military, starting families, or pursuing other interests.

  • Between 1985 and 1996, the percentage of high school completers going directly to college increased from 58 to 65 percent.
  • Between 1985 and 1996, high school completers from high-income families were more likely than their counterparts from low-income families to go directly to college after completing high school.
  • Between 1990 and 1996, the higher the education level of a student's parents, the more likely the student was to enroll in college the year after completing high school.
  • The percentage of black high school completers going directly to college increased substantially between 1973 and 1995.

Percentage of high school completers ages 16-24 who were enrolled in college the October after completing high school: October 1972-96

By Family Income

Percentage of high school completers ages 16-24 who were enrolled in college the October after completing high school: October 1972-96


By race/ethnicity

Percentage of high school completers ages 16-24 who were enrolled in college the October after completing high school: October 1972-96

* Low income is the bottom 20 percent of all family incomes; high income is the top 20 percent of all family incomes; and middle income is the 60 percent in between. Data on family income were not available in 1974.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Current Population Survey, October (various years).


Percentage of high school completers ages 16-24 who were enrolled in college the October after completing high school, by type of institution, family income, and race/ethnicity: October 1972-96

Percentage of high school completers ages 16-24 who were enrolled in college the October after completing high school, by type of institution, family income, and race/ethnicity: October 1972-96

— Not available. Data for type of institution were not collected until 1973.
1 Low income is the bottom 20 percent of all family incomes; high income is the top 20 percent of all family incomes; and middle income is the 60 percent in between.
2 Included in the total but not shown separately are high school completers from other racial/ethnic groups.
3 Due to small sample sizes for the low-income, black, and Hispanic categories, 3-year averages were also calculated for each category. For example, the 3-year average for blacks in 1973 is the average percentage of black high school completers ages 16-24 who were enrolled in college the October after completing high school in 1972, 1973, and 1974. Thus, 3-year averages cannot be calculated for 1972 and 1996, and for groups of 3 years in which some data are not available (e.g., 1973-75 for the low-income category).

NOTE: Details may not add to totals due to rounding.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Current Population Survey, October (various years).

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Data source: The U.S. Census Bureau's Current Population Survey (CPS), October (various years).

For technical information, see
Wirt, J., Snyder, T., Sable, J., Choy, S.P., Bae, Y., Stennett, J., Gruner, A., and Perie, M. (1998). The Condition of Education 1998 (NCES 98-013).

For complete supplemental and standard error tables, see either
• the electronic version of The Condition of Education 1998 (http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=98013), or
• volume 2 of the printed version (forthcoming): The Condition of Education 1998 Supplemental and Standard Error Tables (NCES 1999-025).

Author affiliations: J. Wirt and T. Snyder, NCES; J. Sable, Y. Bae, and J. Stennett, Pinkerton Computer Consultants, Inc.; S.P. Choy, MPR Associates, Inc.; and M. Perie and A. Gruner, American Institutes for Research.

For questions about content, contact John Wirt (john.wirt@ed.gov).

To obtain this Indicator of the Month (NCES 1999-006), call the toll-free ED Pubs number (877-433-7827) or visit the NCES Web Site (http://nces.ed.gov).

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