Harry Wong
Dec 2017
Vol 14 No 4

What Happens To High School Students When They Leave School

By Stewart Brekke

Of the 2014 high school graduates 68.4 percent of them were enrolled in colleges and universities. Recent high school graduates not going to college were almost twice as likely as enrolled graduates to be working or looking for work. However, it is a positive sign of increased educational level of our population as a whole.

Of the 2.9 million young people, age 16 to 24, high school graduates in 2014, approximately 2.0 million(68.4 percent) were enrolled in higher education. This statistic is approximately the same for the graduates of high school in 2013 with 65.9 percent.

Of the 2014 high school graduates the college enrollment rates were 72.1 percent for young women and 64.0 percent for young men. College enrollment rate for Asians was 86.1 percent. This was higher than for recent Black graduates with a 70.9 percent rate, white with a 67.3 percent and Hispanic with a 65.2 percent rate.

As of October 2014 among recent high school graduates enrolled in higher education,approximately 9 of 10 were full time students.  Recent graduates who were attending college full time were about half as likely to be in the labor force  (34.8 percent) as were their counterparts attending part time (75.2 percent).

Those recent high school graduates not attending college in the fall of 2014 were more likely than college attending graduates to be in the labor force (72.2 percent) compared with 37.9 percent. The unemployment rate for recent high school graduates not enrolled in school was 28.8 percent which is almost twice the rate of recent high school graduates enrolled in higher education with 14.5 percent.

From October 2013 and October 2014 approximately 575,000 young people dropped out of high school. The labor force participation rate for recent high school dropouts was 41.2 percent and was much lower than for recent high school graduates not attending college with a labor force participation rate of 72.7 percent. The jobless rate for recent high school dropouts was 30.3 percent which was similar to the joblessness rate for recent high school graduates not attending college at 28.8 percent.

Statistics associated with high school dropouts are startling. Nearly 80 percent of individuals in prison do not have a high school
diploma.  The arrest rates of youth with disabilities who dropped out of high school were significantly higher than those who had
graduated. Students who graduate from high school alone earn an average of greater than $10,000 more money than students who do not complete high school.

Of the students going into higher education in 2013 there were 17.5 million undergraduate students and 2.9 million graduate students  Approximately 10.5 million undergraduate students (60 percent of the total) attended four year institutions while 7.0 million students (40 percent of the total) attended 2 year institutions. Of the undergraduates at four year institutions 8.1 million or 77 percent attended full time. Of the undergraduate students at 2 year institutions 2.8 million or about 41 percent were full time students and 4.1 million or 59 percent were part time students.

In 2013 a higher percentage of full time undergraduate students at public and private nonprofit 4 year institutions were young adults under the age of 25 years than at comparable 2 year schools. Of full time undergraduate students enrolled at two year institutions young adults accounted for 73 percent at public institutions, 61 percent at private non-profit institutions and 47 percent at private for profit institutions. At public institutions 16 percent of full time students were ages 25-34, and 11 percent were over age 35. At private non-profit institutions 23 percent were 25-34 and 16 percent were 35 and older.

Attendance patterns for undergraduate students at both four and two year institutional levels differed by race and ethnicity. White students accounted for 67 percent of the total students at private nonprofit institutions which was higher than the percentage of white students at public 4 year institutions with 62 percent. A higher percentage of the students at private for profit 4 year institutions were Black, 30 percent, than at public 4 year institutions, 12 percent.

Black students are catching up to white students in going to college, however Black students are not as likely to white students to finish higher education and get a degree. Black and Latino students are less likely to finish high school, and less likely to attend and finish college than white students. In 2013 about 40 percent of whites between the ages of 25 and 29 had a bachelor’s degree or better compared to 20 percent of Blacks and 15 percent of Hispanics and 58 percent of Asians.

Possibly, there is not a racial gap in educational attainment, but rather an income gap. It has been shown that when it comes to college enrollment, the income gap is much larger than the racial gap. Approximately 82 percent of high school graduates from high income families enroll in college compared to 52 percent of high school graduates from  low income families. As stated above just under 70 percent of white high school graduates go to college as opposed to 65 percent of Black high school graduates. Over time, the racial gap has narrowed, but not the income gap.

Minority students tend to enroll in less selective institutions. In 2011 the most recent complete data as of this essay, 61 percent of white undergraduates were enrolled at four year schools in comparison to 56 percent of Blacks and 46 percentage of Latino. Of those at four year schools, 19 percent of white students were enrolled elite research universities compared to 9 percent Black and 10 percent Latino students.

The racial gap is not closed by earning a college degree. College educated Blacks are more likely to be unemployed than college
educated whites and on average college educated Blacks earn less money. However, obtaining a college degree for Blacks from ages 25 to 29 resulted in an unemployment rate in 2013 of 7.6 percent. For Blacks without a college degree the unemployment rate was 17.8 percent.

From the above statistics it is evident that most high school graduates are going to college, mostly four year institutions. While  college enrollment is up for all groups, White, Black, Latino and Asian, graduation rates for Blacks and Latinos lag white and Asian graduation rates. It may be that income is the pervading factor in college enrollment and graduation rates rather than race alone. It is apparent that the education level of Americans is rising from what has been stated above and in that respect these facts are a positive sign for our country.

College Enrollment and Work Activity of 2014 High School Graduates
Economic News Release (on line)
Research Talking Points on Dropout Statistics – NEA (on line)
Characteristics Of Post Secondary Students. – National Center for Educational Statistics (on line)

Stewart E Brekke holds a PhD from the International University for Graduate Studies and is a retired high school physics,
chemistry and mathematics teacher from the Chicago Public Schools. He spends his retired years writing articles on education and Classics and presents scientific papers on nuclear physics and astrophysics as well as mathematics.



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This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 1st, 2015 and is filed under *ISSUES, July 2015, Stewart Brekke. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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