Research

The Educational Attainment of Chicago Public Schools Students: 2015: A Focus on Four-Year College Degrees

June, 2016
Authors: 
Jenny Nagaoka and Kaleen Healey

In 2006, the UChicago Consortium estimated that just 8 percent of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) freshmen would graduate high school, immediately enroll in a four-year college, and go on to earn a bachelor’s degree by their mid-20s. By 2014, that number had risen to 14 percent. This brief updates that number using 2015 data, and finds an estimated 16 percent of ninth-graders in Chicago Public Schools will take this direct route to earn a four-year college degree within 10 years of starting high school.

This number is called the Direct Bachelor’s Attainment Index (Direct Bachelor’s DAI) and is an index of the percentage of CPS students who graduate high school, immediately enroll in a four-year college, and earn a four-year degree within six years of beginning college. An additional 2 percent of high school graduates who do not immediately enroll in a four-year college go on to earn a four-year degree within six years, bringing the estimated percent of CPS ninth graders who will earn a bachelor’s degree to 18 percent. This number is called the Bachelor’s Degree Attainment Index (Bachelor’s DAI), and provides a better estimate of the total proportion of CPS ninth graders who will earn a four-year degree within 10 years of beginning high school because it accounts for students who first enroll in a community college or delay entry into college before earning a four-year degree.

The brief also compares high school graduation and college enrollment rates for selective enrollment, charter, and all other schools (excluding alternative and special education schools) and finds high school graduation rates for non-charter and non-selective enrollments schools are now similar to that of charter schools, although charter schools’ college enrollment rates continue to exceed those of other school types.

The technical appendix of this report provides details on how the Direct Bachelor’s and Bachelor’s Degree Attainment Indexes are calculated. 

Answers to frequently asked questions about these rates and other, similar rates are available here.

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