Utah students from low-income families participate in college at rates nearly 15% lower than their peers

The Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) released a report outlining the college participation and completion rates of Utah high school graduates, using data from USHE, the Utah State Board of Education (USBE) and the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC). The report focuses on the gap in college participation between Caucasians and minorities and the completion rates of Utah high school graduates (cohorts 2008-2017) enrolled in college.

Highlights from the 2019 report

  • 49% of Utah high school graduates (cohorts 2008–2017) attended a postsecondary institution in the first year after high school graduation. The college participation rate increases to 64% by the end of the third year, 69% by the end of the fifth year, and 71% by the 10th year after high school graduation.
  • 80% of Utah high school graduates attended a Utah public institution, 11% attended a Utah private institution, 5% attended a public out-of-state institution, and 5% attended a private out-of-state institution.
  • 60% of Utah female high school graduates attended a postsecondary institution in the first year after high school graduation, while 39% of male graduates did so. However, the gap in college participation rates between males and females gradually narrowed over time.
  • The college participation rate of students from low-income families was much lower than for students who are not considered low-income. After one year, there was a 14.8% difference in the rate of college participation and after five years, the difference increased to 18.6%.
  • Utah high school graduates without limited English proficiency enrolled in college at a nearly 30% higher rate than those with limited English skills one year after high school graduation.
  • Comparisons between ethnic groups showed a gap in college participation based on ethnicity. On average, Asian American and Caucasian students had much higher college participation rates, while Hispanic graduates consistently had lower college participation rates.

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