Connecticut's Class of 2010: College Enrollment Statistics Reflect Achievement Gap
Statistics also show more women enrolling in college than men
April 27, 2011
A statistical portrait of which Connecticut high school seniors went on to college last year reflects the state's persistent achievement gap between lower-income students and their more affluent classmates, as well as a striking gender gap.
The profile of the state's public high school class of 2010 shows that 42 percent of students eligible for free lunch went on to a two- or four-year school, compared with 69 percent of the overall class.
"I think everyone in Connecticut should be concerned that students who are eligible for free and reduced lunch have such lower rates of enrollment in community college or college," said Rep. Andrew Fleischmann, D-West Hartford, who co-chairs the legislature's education committee.
He said the size of the gap is not a new development, and it "has been shrinking a bit, but we need to do much, much more."
DATABASE: Where Do Connecticut High School Graduates Go To College?
Thomas Murphy, a spokesman for the state Department of Education, which compiled the statistics, noted that the figures on students receiving free or reduced-price lunch might not reflect all low-income students, because some high school students who qualify don't participate.
The statistics also showed that 52 percent of black students and 47 percent of Hispanic or Latino students go on to a two-year or four-year college, compared with 76 percent of white non-Hispanic students.
Lol Fearon, a state Department of Education bureau chief, said there is definitely a connection between economic status, ethnicity and achievement, but he said, "because it exists doesn't mean it should."
Murphy said that although a pronounced gap in college enrollment between white students and minority students persists and must be addressed, "the good news is that we have seen some upticks in minority student enrollment in our colleges."
The figures point to a notable contrast in students attending four-year schools. While 59 percent of white non-Hispanic students attend four-year-schools, only 22 percent of Hispanic or Latino students and 29 percent of black students do.
By comparison, percentages of students who attend two-year colleges are somewhat closer: 26 percent of Hispanic or Latino students, 23 percent of black students, and 17 percent of white, non-Hispanic students.
Asian students top the chart on college enrollment, with 86 percent going to college, and 70 percent attending four-year schools.
The figures also show that women graduating from high school are substantially more likely to go on to college than men. Seventy-five percent of the high school women graduating in 2010 went on to a two- or four-year schools, compared with 64 percent of men.
The gender gap is striking when it comes to enrolling in four-year colleges: 56 percent of women who graduated from high school in Connecticut last year went to a four-year school, compared with 45 percent of men.
"The females are going on to higher education in larger numbers than are the males," Murphy said. "That will have implications for the workforce. ... It will shape our economy in different ways in the future."
He noted that the number of women and men in the 12th grade in 2010 was about the same: 20,287 women and 21,180 men.
Murphy also noted that nearly 2,000 more women took the SATs than men: 14,400 to 12,644.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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