Wednesday, March 29, 2006

College Continuation Rates for Recent High School Graduates in 2005

The college continuation rate for 2005 high school graduates was 68.6%--the highest on record since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began reporting these data in 1959. This broke the previous record of 67.0% set in 1997. Out of 2,675,000 high school graduates 1,834,000 were enrolled in college by October 2005.

Overall this is good news. A growing share of recent high school graduates have heard the message that high school is no longer sufficient to get good jobs and live a middle class American lifestyle. And they have acted on it. But scratch beneath the surface of this data and the picture quickly turns mixed. The good news is that:
  • White high school graduates were enrolled in college at a record high rate of 69.4%.
  • Male high school graduates were also enrolled at a record high rate of 66.5%. But this is just barely above the rate of 63.2% in 1968. Seems that boys appreciate college more during times of war.
  • The non-white college continuation rate was at a record high of 65.2%, but this was entirely due to the rate of 82.2% for those of other race (mainly Asians).
The darker side of these data are:
  • The college continuation rates for blacks and Hispanics were both down from previous highs. These numbers bounce around from year to year, so this may simply be a statistical spike. But they should be watched carefully. They are far below rates for whites.
  • The gap between white and black college continuation rates has been widening since 1999.
  • The gap between white and Hispanic rates is the widest for any major minority group.
  • The share of college freshmen who were recent high school graduates that are enrolled in 4-year colleges and universities has declined steadily from 68.1% in 2001 to 65.0% in 2005.
Most dramatic in these data are the shifting racial/ethnic composition of the annual classes of high school graduates and college freshmen.
  • The white share of high school graduates has declined from 93% in 1960, to 89% by 1970, 84% by 1980, 77% by 1990, 70% by 2000 and 66% by 2005. The actual numbers have declined from a peak of 2.8 million in 1975 to 2.1 million by 2005.
  • Between 1960 and 2005 the minority share of all high school graduates has increased from 7% to 34%. The number of minority high school graduates increased from 41 thousand in 1960 to 555 thousand by 2005.
  • The white share of college freshmen has declined from 95% in 1960 to 70% by 2005. The minority share has increased from 5% to 30% during the last 35 years.
In the new flat earth Global Human Capital economy the rest of the industrial and industrializing world is aggressively expanding college participation rates. Our have languished for the last decade or more. Renewed growth in college continuation rates is very good news indeed.

2 Comments:

At 4:56 AM, Blogger Rita Earle said...

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At 10:24 PM, Blogger flash said...

It’s great to see good information being shared.

Thanks for posting.

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