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High School Class of 2020 College Enrollments Decline 22% Compared to 2019 Class

by NSC Blog | Dec 10, 2020 | High School Benchmarking, K-12, Research Reports, Research Services, StudentTracker for High Schools |

Graduates from High Poverty, Low Income, and Urban High Schools Hit the Hardest

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center released today the eighth annual High School Benchmarks report that shows far fewer high school graduates went to college immediately after high school this fall, declining by 21.7 percent compared to 2019 graduates.

The High School Benchmarks 2020 – National College Progression Rates updates the key indicators of high school to college transition, persistence, and completion outcomes for high school graduates of 2019 and earlier. In addition, this year’s report features a first look at the effect of COVID-19 on the immediate college enrollment patterns of the high school graduating class of 2020. The COVID-19 Special Analysis was funded by the National College Attainment Network.

“Based on preliminary data, there is little evidence that COVID-19 impacted high school graduation,” said Doug Shapiro, Executive Director of the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. “However, the pandemic impacted high school graduates in their immediate college enrollment, and those from high poverty, low income, and urban high schools have been hit the hardest. The enrollment gaps appear to be widening because of COVID-19.”

Using preliminary data from high schools and colleges reporting as of September 18, 2020, the immediate enrollment rates are estimated for graduates from more than 2,300 high schools with differing income, minority, and urbanicity characteristics.

Key findings include: 

  • Preliminary data shows little impact of COVID-19 on high school graduation in the school year 2019-2020.
  • Far fewer graduates went to college immediately after high school this fall, declining by 21.7 percent compared to 2019 graduates.
  • COVID-19 impacted immediate college enrollment rates considerably for graduates of high poverty, low income, and urban high schools.
  • Public college enrollment among graduates of low-income high schools declined at disproportionately higher rates, revealing impediments to college access during COVID-19. 

For more details, read the press release.

The Research Center’s Executive Director Doug Shapiro will address these findings during the National College Attainment Network’s webinar, “Is the High School to College Pipeline Broken? The Data Says Yes,” being held today, Dec. 10, at 2 pm ET. Register to attend.

“…the pandemic impacted high school graduates in their immediate college enrollment, and those from high poverty, low income, and urban high schools have been hit the hardest.”

Doug Shapiro
Executive Director of the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center

 

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