The rate of Washington students who attend two- and four-year colleges after graduating from high school has remained steady in the past five years, but newly released numbers suggest students who enroll are better prepared for college courses than students in the past.
About 60 percent of Washington students who graduated in the class of 2015 enrolled in postsecondary public and private colleges both in and out of the state, according to data released Thursday by the state superintendent’s office. That rate has remained about the same since 2011.
But over that same time period, the number of students who had to take English and math remedial courses, which students have to take if they aren’t ready for traditional college classes, has decreased. About 33 percent of students who graduated in the class of 2015 took remediation courses, compared with 39 percent in 2011.
The numbers show a big gap between students from low-income families and their classmates. About 44 percent of students from low-income families enrolled in one or more remedial courses, compared with 27 percent of students from non-low-income families.
Remediation courses usually require more time and money, which increases the likelihood that students won’t graduate, said Marianna Goheen, a state superintendent’s office supervisor for career and technical education.
Of all high-school graduates in 2015, 21 percent went on to public four-year colleges in Washington, 26 percent went to public two-year colleges in the state, 20 percent enrolled in two-year academic programs and 4 percent enrolled in two-year workforce programs. About 18 percent attended two- or four-year colleges out of state.
In Seattle Public Schools, 74 percent of 2,846 graduates in the class of 2015 enrolled in a college, and 29 percent took remedial classes. About 77 percent of the female graduates went to a college, compared with 72 percent of males. Asian students had the highest rate of college enrollment, at 82 percent. About 76 percent of white students, 69 percent of black students and 63 percent of Hispanic students attended college.
The state’s highest enrollment rate was in Waitsburg School District in Walla Walla County, where 86 percent of the district’s 21 graduates went to college.