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New Clearinghouse Data: Highest College Completion Among Students From High-Income, Low-Minority High Schools

Quick Takeaways:

  • Graduates from higher-income, low-minority high schools had completion rates of more than 40 percent, while high school graduates from all low-income schools and higher-income, high-minority schools had six-year college completion rates that ranged between 22 percent and 33 percent.
  • The data show the highest college enrollment rate among high school graduates from higher-income, low-minority, suburban high schools, with 74 percent of students in the class of 2014 enrolled immediately after graduation.
  • Poverty level was the “most consistent correlate” to college enrollment rates, according to NSC, which noted that schools with larger numbers of low-income students – more than half eligible for free or reduced price lunch – had lower college enrollment rates than schools with large populations of higher-income students, regardless of the income-level of minority students or geographic location of the school.

By Brittany Hackett, Communications Staff

High school graduates from high-income, low-minority schools have higher six-year college graduation rates than their counterparts from low-income, low-minority schools, according to new data from the National Student Clearinghouse (NCS).

The data was released in NSC’s third annual High School Benchmarks report that covers a sample of about 4 million high school students from five graduating classes (2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014) all over the United States, which accounts for between 24 percent and 30 percent of all U.S. high school graduates per year.

The report for the first time included six-year college completion outcomes for the high school class of 2008, measuring the rate of completion among all high school graduates, not just those who enrolled in college. According to NSC, high school graduates from all low-income schools and higher-income, high-minority schools had six-year college completion rates that ranged between 22 percent and 33 percent.

Graduates of low-income, high-minority, urban schools have the lowest college completion rates at 22 percent. Graduates from higher-income, low-minority schools had completion rates of more than 40 percent, regardless of whether the school was in an urban, suburban, or rural area.

The report also looked at the college enrollment rates for the two most recent graduating high school classes for which data are available, including calculation for the

  • First fall outcome for the classes of 2014 and 2013;
  • First year outcome for the classes of 2013 and 2012; and 
  • First two years’ outcomes for the classes of 2012 and 2011.

The data show the highest college enrollment rate among high school graduates from higher-income, low-minority, suburban high schools, where 74 percent of students in the class of 2014 enrolled immediately after graduation. The lowest college-going rate among the students in the higher-income groups was 64 percent, which is six percentage points higher than the highest rate among all six low-income groups, which was 58 percent.

Poverty level was the “most consistent correlate” to college enrollment rates, according to NSC, which noted that schools with larger numbers of low-income students – more than half eligible for free or reduced price lunch – had lower college enrollment rates than schools with large populations of higher-income students, regardless of the number of minority students or geographic location of the school.

NSC also found large differences in the types of colleges high schools graduates enrolled in based on their income level. For example, the first fall enrollment rates at four-year institutions for graduates of higher-income schools were between 35 percent and 51 percent, while they were between only 25 percent and 32 percent for graduates from low-income schools. Students from higher-income high schools also enrolled at out-of-state institutions and private institutions at higher rates than graduates from lower-income schools.

When examining the persistence rates from the first to second year of college, the data show rates between 73 percent and 89 percent for the high school class of 2012. Students from higher-income schools had higher persistence rates – between 84 percent and 89 percent – than students from lower-income schools – 73 percent to 82 percent. Persistence rates were also higher among students enrolled in private institutions than public institutions, regardless of high school type, and were also higher for all students in four-year institutions when compared to two-year institutions. Among students who did not enroll during first fall but still enrolled within the first year after high school graduation, enrollment rates “increased markedly” among all groups and were similar among students from low- and higher-income schools NSC noted.

 

Publication Date: 10/20/2015


James H | 10/20/2015 1:20:40 PM

Is it poverty or preparation that affects these studies? Does a student's "destiny" become assured through the admission process of the school's status? Persistence is very much a learned skill; it also appears to be taught differently in the schools.

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