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Who goes straight to college after high school graduation?

The immediate college enrollment rate increased from 49% in 1979 to 68% in 2011, although the upward trend began to drop slightly after 2009.

In 2011, 69% of whites had enrolled in college by the October following high school completion, compared with 65% of blacks and 64% of Hispanics.

Immediate college enrollment is associated with parental education levels.

Key Observations

  • Female enrollment increased at a much higher rate (48% to 72%) than did male enrollment (50% to 65%) from 1979 through 2011; thus the enrollment pattern has shifted over time to higher enrollment rates for women than for men.
  • Male enrollment remained stagnant between 2005 and 2009, then declined slightly.
  • College enrollment rates rose by 18 percentage points for whites and 22 percentage points for blacks between 1975 and 2011.
  • In 2011, college enrollment rates for students whose parents had only a high school education (54%) or some college (67%) were lower than the rate for students whose parents held a bachelor’s degree or higher (83%).
STEM Education Data and Trends 2014
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