A new state report shows fewer Indiana high school graduates are enrolling in college.
The 2020 College Readiness Report from the Indiana Commission for Higher Education found 61% of Indiana’s high school graduates in 2018 enrolled in postsecondary education at either the certificate, two-year or four-year degree levels. The college-going rate among this group in 2017 was 63% and in 2015 it was 65%.
“We have been keeping a sharp eye on this slow decline for several years,” said Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers. “What we have found is that historically, fewer people enroll in college when the economy is strong, choosing instead to enter the workforce.”
She said it is too early to tell whether the trend will continue in the wake of 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,” Lubbers said.
Bright spots in the report showed high school graduates who go to college after graduation are better prepared for higher learning. About 9% of the class of 2018 required remediation or additional classes or coursework to take college-level courses versus 28% of the class of 2014.
The report also highlighted the college-going rate for students enrolled in the state’s early college promise program, 21st Century Scholars, was 86%. Grade point averages of the state’s college freshmen also showed improvement among African American and Hispanic Hoosiers.
“Again and again, the data show the 21st Century Scholars program is one of the best tools we have for educational equity in Indiana,” Lubbers said. “It is encouraging to see this positive momentum for low-income Hoosiers and students of color.”