High School Benchmarks
National college progression rates for high schools participating in the National Student Clearinghouse StudentTracker service
October 27, 2022
This tenth annual report provides the most current data on high school graduates’ postsecondary enrollment, persistence, and completion outcomes. These data are the most relevant benchmarks for monitoring and evaluating progress in assisting students to make the high school to college transition and earn a credential in a timely manner.
The current report examines college enrollment for the high school graduating class of 2021, persistence for the class of 2019, and completion for the class of 2015. Large gaps persist between higher- and low-income high schools on all fronts.
Key National Findings
- Immediate postsecondary enrollment rates decreased among high school graduates regardless of income and poverty level, although gaps remain large. Graduates of higher-income schools were more likely to enroll in the fall of 2021 than those in low- income schools (64% vs. 49%). The gap is even wider between students at high-poverty schools and low-poverty schools (46% vs. 72%).
- Persistence rates also were higher for higher-income high school graduates than their low-income high school counterparts (86% vs 76%).
- Completion rates were much higher for students from higher-income schools versus low-income schools (52% vs 30%). Similarly, completion rates were higher for students from low-poverty schools versus high-poverty schools (61% vs. 25%).
- Graduates of higher-income schools completed STEM degrees at twice the rate of students from low-income schools within six years of high school graduation (18% vs. 9%). Similarly, 18 percent of students from low-minority high schools completed a STEM degree within six years, compared to 11 percent of students from high-minority schools.
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