Skip to Digest of Key Science and Engineering Indicators 2008 main content.
spacer graphic Home
General Science and Engineering Indicators
R&D Investment Patterns
S&E Workforce Development
Knowledge Output

Selected Education Indicators
High School Completion Patterns
High School Graduates Enrolled in College
High School Teachers
Higher Education Enrollments

Selected Global Marketplace Indicators


Over two-thirds of all U.S. high school graduates enroll in postsecondary education immediately after graduation, although immediate enrollment rates for low-income families are lower.

Why is this indicator important?

  • College enrollment rates influence the size of the future workforce qualified for certain occupations.

Key Observations

  • Between 1975 and 2005, the percentage of students ages 16 to 24 enrolling in college immediately following high school graduation rose from 51 to 69%, with increases evident across all income levels.
  • Over 80% of high school graduates from high-income families attend college immediately after graduation, compared with 54% from low-income families.

Related Discussion

  • High school completion rates have been increasing gradually and the white-black gaps in completion rates have been narrowing. (SEI 2008 Appendix Table 1-22)
  • In 2005, 88% of 18 to 24 year olds not enrolled in high school had received a high school diploma or earned an equivalent credential such as a General Equivalency Diploma (GED) certificate, up from 84% in 1975. (SEI 2008 Figure 1-22)