This week we reported a finding about the city's college enrollment trends, highlighted in a new report by the Baltimore Education Research Consortium, which provided the most comprehensive tracking to date of how many Baltimore city students head to college after they graduate, what kinds of programs they are enrolling in, and the percentage of students who end up earning a degree.
In a story Monday, we highlighted one of the trends that I found drew the most attention in my reporting: more Baltimore city students are enrolling in two-year-colleges, reversing a long-standing trend of city school graduates primarily enrolling in four-year-universities.
The report concluded that this should be an area of concern for the school system, because research shows that city students who have enrolled in two-year-colleges have been far less likely to complete college, and the numbers, which you can find in the story or report, are jarring.
Researchers began with the class of 2004, tracking its college enrollment and degree completion rates through 2010. Of all city schools graduates from the Class of 2004 who ever enrolled in college, 23% earned either a 2-year or 4-year degree within six years.
While city school officials called the report a "wake-up call," officials at local colleges said the report failed to take into account the circumstances that make them the ideal and most practical choice for Baltimore city students who want a college career--particularly in this economic climate.
I would encourage readers to take a look at the actual report. It's full of interesting information--I could write dozens of stories from it--broken down in different ways (i.e. charter vs. traditional vs. transformation vs. entrance criteria school graduate college completion rates, the selectivity of the schools that each group is enrolling in, etc.)
Weigh in on what you find most interesting.
Some other highlights from the report are listed below, (from the BERC):
• Local colleges and universities have disparate definitions of college readiness. Local institutions vary so greatly that students who are labeled college ready at one local college often will not be at another. This has far-reaching implications for students in term of the cost of college and time to graduation.
• Recent national statistics indicate that about 70% of high school graduates enroll in college right after high school graduation, while 54% of low-income students do so (U.S. Census Bureau, 2009). On average, about 48% of Baltimore’s recent graduating students enrolled in college immediately after high school graduation.
• Over time, the number of graduates who enroll in college rises: Among the Class of 2008, 60.8% had enrolled by 2010.
• There has been an increased enrollment of City Schools graduates into 2-year colleges compared to 4-year. Both national and City Schools data show that students who enroll in 2-year colleges are less likely to complete degrees.