A Primer on the College Student Journey

Key Facts and Figures

Back to table of contents
Commission on the Future of Undergraduate Education

At 82 percent, the overall U.S. high school graduation rate is at its highest level ever, but it varies by race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and gender.

The percentage of high school students enrolling in college within a few months of graduation has grown to 68 percent.

Over 85 percent of high school graduates eventually spend some time in college.

Many incoming college students, whether recent high school graduates or adults, are academically unprepared for college: one-half of all college students take remedial courses.

Despite increasing high school graduation and college enrollment rates, an anticipated decline in the eighteen-year-old population implies that the number of high school graduates entering college over the next decade will remain flat at about 3.3 million annually.

The 20 percent of American adults who have earned some college credit but no credential represent a significant component of potential adult college students.