Massachusetts education officials sound alarm over college enrollment plunge – GBH News

by | Aug 3, 2022 | Education

Massachusetts is seeing what education officials describe as an “alarming drop” in the percentage of high school graduates going to college. New data released by the state Wednesday show the overall rate of Massachusetts high school graduates who immediately enroll in college has plunged nearly 10 percentage points over the past five years. It’s now barely 60%, down from nearly 70% in 2017.“That’s in the state that has the highest college attainment level in the workforce in the country, an economy arguably more dependent on college success than any other place, and an equity commitment that requires people to have generally advanced degrees,” said Chris Gabrieli, chair of the state’s Board of Higher Education, which aggregated the data with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and other state agencies. “It’s really concerning,” Gabrieli added, sounding the alarm on the enrollment plunge and urging the state to invest in early college programs so students can earn credit — and gain academic confidence — while still in high school. “We looked at the first 2,500 [early college] students who graduated and we see significantly higher college-going and persistence,” he said.The good news? Data show students who participate in early college programs are 30% more likely to enroll in college, and those who perform better on the state’s Grade 10 Math MCAS are more likely to immediately attend. Colleges across the country were already grappling with shrinking enrollment when the pandemic hit in the spring of 2020. …

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