College Enrollment and Persistence 2017

Many of our reports focus on the performance of our current students. However, with data from the National Student Clearinghouse, we’re also able to track the college enrollment and persistence rates of our former students.

The graph below shows the percentage of our 2017 high school graduates who enrolled in college in the fall1. The graph shows that 82% of this year’s graduates from Drew Charter School enrolled in college, which is the highest rate in APS.

The next graph includes data on the percentage of students who remained enrolled the following year. This graph looks at the high school class of 2016, because the 2017 class has not yet reached their second year. (Drew’s first graduating class was in 2017, so they do not appear in the 2016 graph.)

We can see that KIPP Collegiate had 81% of 2016 graduates enroll in college the following fall, and that Grady had 69% of graduates enroll. For those students’ second year of college, 63% of KIPP high school graduates were enrolled, compared to 61% of Grady graduates.2

The first two graphs focus on the percentage of high school graduates that enrolled in college. However, this does not measure a school’s entire population. If two schools have a similar percentage of graduates attending college, but different graduation rates, then their total rates of college attendance are not the same. The next graph shows college enrollment rates for the school’s total population- graduates plus high school dropouts3. When using the total students metric, Carver Early now has a higher first year enrollment rate than North Atlanta, because Carver Early had a higher 2016 high school graduation rate.

The last visual shows how enrollment rates have changed over time. First year college enrollment for APS graduates rose from 52% for the 2012 cohort to 60% for the 2017 cohort. In addition to that increase, APS graduation rates also rose. Combining those two indicators, we see that the the total cohort college enrollment rate rose from 26% in 2012 to 46% in 2017 (to view total cohort rates, use the “Enrollment as a percentage of” drop-down on the bottom right).

To see more analysis on APS college enrollment, including college enrollment rates plotted against student test scores and information on where students are attending, see our college enrollment brief, posted here.


  1. Analysis is limited to students who graduated on-time, i.e. the analysis of the class of 2017 includes only those who entered high school in 2013. This group is also known as “2017 cohort graduates”.
  2. Year 2 enrollment numbers count only students who were continuously enrolled, i.e. they were also enrolled in year 1.
  3. The total cohort rate is calculated by multiplying on-time high school graduation rates by the college enrollment rates of graduates. If a student graduates late, or drops out of high school but is then admitted to college, the high school would not be credited for that student’s college enrollment.