More Oklahoma high school students are entering college directly after graduation, according to a report presented to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.
The college-going rate report, part of the High School Indicators Project, shows the statewide college-going rate for Oklahoma colleges in 2007-08 was 58.4 percent of high school graduates in 2007. This is a full percentage point higher than the previous year. Graduates from Oklahoma’s public high schools entered college the following fall at a rate of 52.8 percent, 1.2 percentage points higher than the previous year.
“Increasing the number of high school graduates attending college is important for the state and its future prosperity,” Chancellor Glen D. Johnson said. “Through State Regents initiatives and programs we will continue to ensure every student has the opportunity to go to college.”
The benefits of college attendance are evident. College students are exposed to new ideas, activities and people. College graduates have many more career choices than non-graduates. They also earn more, are far less likely to be unemployed and are less likely to be incarcerated. In addition, they are more likely to vote in elections, volunteer in their communities and make charitable contributions.
There are also benefits to the state. A more highly educated state population equates to a better economy and quality of life. Business and industry need an educated and skilled workforce, and several companies have recently chosen Oklahoma as a place to either relocate or expand based in part on the available workforce.
The State Regents have taken steps to increase the number of high school graduates attending college through programs such as Oklahoma’s Promise, Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP), Oklahoma Educational Planning and Assessment System (EPAS) and OKcollegestart.org.
The High School Indicators Project was created in response to a 1989 state law requiring the State Department of Education to provide multiple types of evaluations and notify individual schools, districts and the general public about the "effectiveness" of schools. In addition to college-going rates, the project tracks remediation, ACT scores and the first-year performance of college students.