Closing the College Graduation Gap: 2016 National College Access and Success Benchmarking Report

By Jael Greene

The National College Access Network (NCAN) recently released their third annual benchmarking report to help understand student enrollment and completion rates among high school graduates of the classes of 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2015.

The report’s findings include:

  • When comparing enrollment rates by gender, race/ethnicity, Hispanic heritage and first-generation status:
    • In all four years, female student enrollment rates exceeded those of their male counterparts. In 2015 71.9% female high school graduates enrolled in college compared to 67.7% of male high school graduates.
    • Hispanics saw a decline from 76.2% in 2009 to 70.8% in 2015, but a significantly higher number of students were included in the 2015 sample (1,200 in 2009 compared to 21,188 in 2015) which may account for some of the decline.
    • First-generation students also saw a decline in enrollment rates, but again, an increase in the sample size (79.2% with a sample size of 2,760 in 2009 to 70.4% with a sample size of 24,395 in 2015) could have contributed to this.
    • Asian students consistently had the highest enrollment rates amongst racial groups in all four classes.
  • The report also compared six-year completion outcomes from the 2009 class by gender, race/ethnicity, Hispanic heritages and first-generation status. The report found that:
    • The total six-year completion rate for all students in the class of 2009 was 46.2%.
    • Students who enrolled their first year after high school had the highest completion rate (51.3%).
    • Female students had a higher six-year total completion rate (50.2%) than their male counterparts (41.5%).
    • First-generation students who enrolled their first year after high school had a 55.6% completion rate. The overall first-generation total six-year completion rate was 52.1%.
    • African-Americans ranked amongst the lowest of the racial groups with a six-year total completion rate of 38.1%. The completion rate for African American students who enrolled their first year after high school was 42.6%.