As our global community continues to shift the labor market and rapidly redefine what is needed for a successful career, a college degree seems more important than ever before. High school students across the nation are well aware of this, and enrollment in postsecondary institutions continues to rise. According to newly published data, 63 percent of California’s high school graduates are enrolling in college, and in some California counties that statistic jumps as high as 75 percent.
Statewide postsecondary data is becoming increasingly essential as educators and policymakers across the state continue to emphasize and invest in college and career readiness reform efforts. And yet it has been nearly a decade since information about college enrollment has been available at the state level. Now, thanks to an ongoing collaboration between researchers at UC Davis and the California Department of Education, education leaders have access to these metrics, allowing them to make more informed decisions and better prepare K-12 students.
School of Education researchers Michal Kurlaender, Sherrie Reed and Paco Martorell, alongside researchers from the UC Davis Department of Economics, recently authored “Where California High School Students Attend College,” a new report published through Policy Analysis for California Education. The report sheds light on students’ postsecondary trajectories, lays the groundwork for future research on college and career readiness, and highlights a variety of statewide trends among different student subgroups.
Among their findings, the researchers observed that a majority of students are enrolling in two-year colleges rather than four-year degree programs and substantial disparities exist between student subgroups. For instance, female students are more likely to attend college, especially four-year colleges, as compared to their male peers. In line with achievement gaps occurring within the K-12 system, students from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds enroll in college at lower rates and gaps in enrollment rates exist among racial and ethnic groups. Read the report.