After years of “college for all” initiatives, most U.S. high school graduates have absorbed the message and are moving on to postsecondary study—but significant gaps remain in their paths, finds new federal data.
The U.S. Department of Education’s latest annual compendium of education statistics finds that 75 percent of students who completed high school by fall 2013 had enrolled in some sort of postsecondary coursework, be it a bachelor’s or associate degree program, an occupational certificate, or even individual classes. That’s a significant ramp-up from earlier years: Prior longitudinal studies showed only 40 percent of the class of 1974 and 60 percent of the class of 2006 enrolled in postsecondary education immediately after high school.
Ninety-two percent of students from high-income families who entered high school in fall 2009 went on to higher education right after graduation—compared with 59 percent of those from low-income families.
Students who took advanced mathematics like trigonometry or calculus were significantly more likely to be in higher education (69 percent to 95 percent more likely) than those whose highest math course was algebra or geometry, less than half of whom enrolled in college after graduation.
A version of this article appeared in the June 08, 2016 edition of Education Week as For Most, Higher Ed. Is First Stop After High School