Inside INdiana Business

Study: Fewer high school students enrolling in college

pictured: Ethan, a student from Washington High School in South Bend (photo courtesy of Learn More Indiana)

INDIANAPOLIS (Inside INdiana Business) – The Indiana Commission for Higher Education is reporting the continued decline in college enrollment throughout the state. The commission’s newly-released 2020 College Readiness Report shows 61% of Indiana’s high school graduates in 2018 enrolled in post-secondary education, down from 63% in 2017.

While the college-going rate has declined, the report indicates high school graduates who go to college after graduation are better prepared for higher learning than ever before. The commission says just 9% of the class of 2018 required additional classes or coursework to be able to take college-level courses, compared to 28% from the class of 2014.

Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers says, historically, fewer people enroll in college when the economy is strong and enter the workforce instead.

“It is too early to tell if that trend will continue due to the coronavirus-related downturn. However, for many Hoosiers who are out of work or considering a new career path, this is the time to re-skill or enhance their options with advanced education,” said Lubbers.

The report found that the college-going rate for students enrolled in the state’s 21st Century Scholars program remains high at 86%, and grade point averages of the state’s college freshmen are getting higher, particularly for black and Hispanic Hoosiers.

The report also shows more high school graduates are choosing to study STEM-related programs than any other program. The commission says STEM is the only area that grew year-over-year for college-going high school graduates.

“It is more crucial than ever to emphasize the value of higher education. That includes ensuring students connect with the most appropriate options for their futures, so that they persist and complete and are able to fully utilize the opportunities that come along with higher learning – whatever form it takes,” Lubbers said.

The full report can be viewed by clicking here.

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